16 answers

Early Waking 3 Year Old

My 3 year old daughter has been waking up WAY too early, around 5am some days, but always up by 6am. With another child at 6 months and working full time, this is NOT working for us. I have tried putting a lock on her door to keep her in, but as soon as she wakes she just bangs on it, usually waking up her brother next door. We also bought her an alarm clock and drew the time on a big paper next to it, so she can see when her alarm comes on that she is allowed to come out of her room. That doesn't seem to be cutting it either. Any advice for this very tired mommy?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all of your ideas. A lot of them we've already tried, but I especially like the new toy box idea or reading in the morning. So, when she woke at 5a this morning (along with my son's first feeding) it was back to bed for her. I tucked her in, sang her a song, and walked out as she was rubbing her ideas--thinking of course she was out. Nope! After two trips to our bedroom, I told her she could stay in her room until the sun came up and play with her babies or read her books. She didn't come back to our room until 6:40a! I guess you know you're a mom when "sleeping in" is anything past 6a. ;-) Thanks everyone!

Featured Answers

Hi,
I have been reading the other responses and I agree with most of them. KEEP HER UP LATER!! Then in the morning get her settled with a video and a snack. You can then lie back down nearby and just rest. My son is 3 and does the same thing.

This may be a perfect situation for one of my favorite solutions!! A special toy box! Go to Target and get one of the clear bread box size boxes with a lid. . . Let her decorate it and fill it with some toys that she really enjoys, maybe even buy one or two NEW ones. After she has decorated the box and is excited about it put it up and explain to her that these are SPECIAL MORNING TOYS. The rule has to be she can only play with them in the mornings BEFORE breakfast. Trust me you will have her FULL attention =) Then at night when YOU go to bed you have to put the box next to her bed so she will easily find it in the morning (i.e. night stand. . .). This way in the morning when YOU get up the two of you put EVERYTHING back into the MORNING BOX and she gets to tell you all about what fun she had. Don't forget to put the box away for the day. It adds to the excitement for her! Best of luck. Let me know if it works for you!!!

More Answers

My daughter was the same way - at 17 she still doesn't require very much sleep...

After trying a million things what finally worked was keeping her up later at night - 9:30 - 10:00pm and getting her involved in activities during the day that used more energy - dancing, ice skating - running - playing at the park... and absolutely NO naps....

Yes, you will be tired keeping up with her during the day, but you need your rest at night.

I was an early waker as a child too, and so my mother had to be creative and used the following rule: you cannot get out of your bed until it is light outside. No having to mess with an alarm clock, and it works for kids who are young and cannot yet read the clock. It was a good rule, and seemed to work for us. Since she is three, you can also reason with her: strike a deal that if she needs to get up that early, then allow her to leave her room quietly and go plop down and watch TV until everyone else gets up.
Unfortunately, you cannot lock her in her room - there is nothing wrong with sitting down to talk with her and figure out a wake up routine and plan that works for both of you. Consider making a chart with pictures that she can follow when she gets up in the morning.

I may be nominated for the worst mom of the year award for this, but the only way I can get any sleep in the mornings is to turn on the Disney channel & let my kids veg until my alarm goes off! Good luck!

C. : )

Hi - maybe you can teach her that it's okay to wake up at 6 a.m., but to play quietly in her room or show her how get a book to read until the rest of the family is awake.

I have 3 children of my own and they all wake up around 5:30 - 6 every day, but now they have learned to come into the living room and look at books. My daughter (2 years) plays in her room with her babies.

However, we are usually up by 6 am except for the weekends.

how early does she go to bed? does she take naps?

We also had the same problem and got an elegant solution from Karen F.-Brown at Parents Place. Put a timer on a light in her room. Tell your daughter that she can come out when the light goes on. For the first several days set it so it turns on just before she usually wakes up and then slowly set it later and later. Good luck.

Try making her room pitch dark. Buy special curtains or black out shades to keep the light out.
Try getting her to bed later.
Do not let her drink right before bed probably 2 - 2.5 hours before bed time.
tire her out 1-2 hours before bed time. walking, bouncing on a trampoline or therapy ball. Just make sure she does not bounce right after eating...
Give her food w/o meat though and not sweet about 1.5 before bed time so she is not hungryu when she wakes up...
Make sure goes to the bathroom to urinate before bed time at least 1 to2 times...

I have a 10 year old with special needs who wakes up every night between 2:00 and 4:00 am.... these are some of our tricks to have our daughter sleep a bit longer... but she still wakes up...
Good luck....

This may be a perfect situation for one of my favorite solutions!! A special toy box! Go to Target and get one of the clear bread box size boxes with a lid. . . Let her decorate it and fill it with some toys that she really enjoys, maybe even buy one or two NEW ones. After she has decorated the box and is excited about it put it up and explain to her that these are SPECIAL MORNING TOYS. The rule has to be she can only play with them in the mornings BEFORE breakfast. Trust me you will have her FULL attention =) Then at night when YOU go to bed you have to put the box next to her bed so she will easily find it in the morning (i.e. night stand. . .). This way in the morning when YOU get up the two of you put EVERYTHING back into the MORNING BOX and she gets to tell you all about what fun she had. Don't forget to put the box away for the day. It adds to the excitement for her! Best of luck. Let me know if it works for you!!!

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