19 answers

Why Does My 4 Year Old Wake up SO Early?

I need help if anyone can offer it please! My son just turned 4 two weeks ago, and for the last year has been waking up so early and ready to start his day. He used to be the best sleeper...he would sleep until 7 or 8am. Now he wakes up anywhere between 4:30 and 5:30 every morning and I'm at my wits end with this. Now I feel that it's his inner clock after all this time that's waking him, but not too sure. This morning he woke at 6:30 and that felt like 9am to me...that is very rare! If anyone can offer any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. He goes to bed at a reasonable hour- about 8-8:30. We have tried everything even putting him to bed much later and he still wakes early. Not to mention, we are all so tired and irritable that it makes things no fun around here at times. I have contacted a sleep specialist but was hoping for feedback here. Also, I he won't stay in his room when he wakes that early, he insists on coming into mine and is SO demading. HELP! Thank you so much and I look forward to some mama's responding to this. :)

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Okay, Mama's thank you so much for ALL of your advice!!! I did what many of you said and dropped his naps. Yes, he was still taking naps! For about a the last four days before daylight savings I tried this and sure enough, he was coming in at 6 -6:30 instead of 4:30-5am!! AMAZING!!! Sure enough Sunday rolls around (day light savings morning) and he came in at 5am (which obviously was 6am the day prior). For 4 days I was ecsatatic and now he's back to the early waking of 5am. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, putting him to bed an hour ealy (7:30) and hoping he gets back up to the 6 o'clock hour. BTW, the no naps makes for such an easy bedtime routine!! He goes right to sleep because he's so tired...and also pushing his bed time an hour ealier has also helped out with things a bit too!! Thanks again and I would love more suggestions!
Thank you again!
L.

Featured Answers

Does he still take naps? If so try not putting him down for a nap or cut it in half. Good luck.

K.

Hi,
Great book to read is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby". This book talks about healthy sleeping for babies all the way to teens. Basically it says "sleep begets sleep", meaning earlier bedtime means later wake up time(most of the time). Think of what happened a year ago, did you start putting him to bed at a later time,perhaps, or did he stop taking naps?usually when they start skipping naps they need an earlier bedtime.My 3 yr old is grumpy, has night terrors, and wakes earlier too if he either doesnt get his nap or we put him to bed too late, too many nights in a row.It messes with his internal clock and usually takes a few nights for him to get better.

More Answers

HI L.,
Sounds like you need to be a little stricter when it comes to what time he wakes. I understand you can't exactly control the time he wakes up, but you can control when he gets out of his bed/room. He's old enough, he should understand about going back to sleep. Can he stay in his room and play? Can you trust him to not get into anything? If he is waking up at 4:30-5:00 you know that is not enough sleep for the day. Hopefully, he is not showing any signs of fatigue. His body just needs to be re-trained.
Good luck!

I like all the suggestions you already got. My first thought was about eliminating the nap if your son still takes one.

Also, have there been any changes to your lifestyle or family in the last year or so? Illness, change of schedule, visitors, preschool, etc.?

Is he getting up screaming like from a nightmare, or just getting up to play?

Maybe something happened a year ago that caused him stress?

By now, this pattern is a habit. Do you give him a lot of attention when he gets up that early? Or do you put him back in bed? When my kids schedule gets off and they get up ridiculously early, I just put them back in bed and tell them to stay in their beds until the sun comes up. Sometimes I had to do this a few times before they got it. And yes, there was some crying (both them and myself) until it evened out.

When we first moved about 3 years ago my son (then 1) wouldn't sleep at night at all for 3 weeks. I eventually bought the "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book for some insight on how to deal with the situation.

My son has ALWAYS been an early riser. He usually wakes between 7 and 8am (used to be 6-7am). My hubby trained him over the last couple of years to either get up and play quietly in his room until the sun comes up or to turn on the tv in the living room and turn it to channel 109 (Noggin) at volume level 10 and wait for us to get up. So my son will get up, go pee, and turn on the tv. DH usually gets up with the kids (we have a 2.5 year old daughter who is also an early riser) around 730am, feeds them breakfast, then at 8am I get up and we both get the kids dressed and ready for the day.

Also, until my son turned 4 we used a baby gate on his door to keep him in his room to keep him from roaming the house or coming into our room or worse...going into his little sisters room and waking her up. It's one of those $10 2 foot high gates from Walmart. My son can easily climb over or even take the gate down himself, but now it's like a security thing for him. He knows when the gates up it's time for sleep or quiet time and he will even ask for the gate to be put up. It's like he doesn't feel secure without it.

You need to move your bed time up earlier! Slowly of course, and of course with daylight savings time...this won't be easy. We used to do 8-8:30 also, and were having similar problems, we eventually got it to 7:30 (and not even 15 minutes later or there is problems) and she sleeps anywhere from 7-8:30am.

Also, we bought a roll down black out blind for under her drapes in her room. We actually haven't needed it since she goes to bed at 7:30 now, but prior to that we have used it for the last 4 years. They are cheap and cut right to size at both Lowes and Home Depot. This could help you better than my first paragraph?

Lots of good ideas here.

If you can trust your son to be unsupervised, you might try this:
My oldest was really good and you didn't have to worry about her at all. We would put the television on PBS so that all she had to do was turn it on. And, we would put out morning friendly snacks - a bag of cheerios or fruit, etc. She could get up and play quietly, read a book, watch TV and have a snack all without disturbing anyone else.
With my youngest, I put a TV/DVD player in her room. If she woke us up too early, I would put a Disney movie on for her to watch in bed and then go back to bed. She would watch the movie and play quietly til it was over and then wake us up.
I think you need to teach respect for others in the house - others are sleeping and he needs to be quiet and let them sleep. Good luck.

Hi,
Great book to read is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby". This book talks about healthy sleeping for babies all the way to teens. Basically it says "sleep begets sleep", meaning earlier bedtime means later wake up time(most of the time). Think of what happened a year ago, did you start putting him to bed at a later time,perhaps, or did he stop taking naps?usually when they start skipping naps they need an earlier bedtime.My 3 yr old is grumpy, has night terrors, and wakes earlier too if he either doesnt get his nap or we put him to bed too late, too many nights in a row.It messes with his internal clock and usually takes a few nights for him to get better.

We did a thing recently with my four year old where we gave him five pennies at the beginning of the night (I read this somewhere). He lost a penny everytime he came into our room. If, in the morning, he still had all five pennies, we put them or whatever was left in his piggie bank. We told him he wasn't allowed to come into our room until he saw light come through his window...worked GREAT! He was so motivated to get the pennies every night.

And...if nothing else, I think the time change this weekend should help you out a bit!

Good luck.
-M

I agree that you should put a digital clock in his room. Specifiy what time he is allowed out of his room, 7:00 or 7:30. He should be able to read his numbers well enough that he knows what that will look like. And then tell him, he can play in his room quietly, or sit in his bed and look at his books, but not to come out of his room until the designated time. Explain that the morning is still quiet time, but that he can still do an activity quietly in his room. Sometimes, their biological clocks are set to be early sleepers, and there won't be much you can change about that but you can help them control their actions.

I would suggest using a Sleeptrainer. I've been using the BabyZoo Sleeptrainer for a while now and it really keeps my son in bed. With this Sleeptrainer I can tell him in an easy to understand way when he is allowed to get out of bed. He now stays quiet until 'Momo' the monkey wakes up,and sometimes even falls back to sleep. Might be worthwile....www.mybabyzoo.com

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.