Getting Kids to Sleep past 5 Am.

Updated on January 26, 2010
D.M. asks from Littleton, CO
11 answers

We have a 3 year old and 2 year old (in crib). Both are up at the crack of dawn! We've tried earlier bed times (now it's 7:15 for the 2yr old and 8:30 for the 3) - still up EARLY. They won't go back to bed - or get so loud and objecting they wake the other. And... the 3 year old gets up at least once per night to get us.... exhausted, and any help is GREATLY appreciated.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Hi -
I had the same problem with my 3 year old daughter. we just bought this night light-
and it is wonderful! we set it at 815p and the bright moon lights up for bedtime and we set it at 7a for the bright sun to shine. she can not get out of her room until the sun lights is guaranteed and it does work! she really looks forward to it lighting up too!
good luck!

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answers from Boise on

I feel your pain. I don't know if it would help, but are they getting a lot of energy out during the day, like lots of exercise? Because my kids are the opposite - I can't get them to sleep at night because they are so wound up and I keep trying to get them more exercise in the day so they will sleep more soundly and be more tired at night.




answers from Dallas on

OMG I feel for you, I even get nauseous when I wake up so early, I'm so not a morning person. but anyways, my 8YO daughter has always woken up at the crack of dawn too, since she is about 6 years old she went up to 6am but NEVER past that... it's exhausting.
She is 8 now and I leave food for her in the lower shelf of the fridge in case she gets hungry at 530am! she sometimes makes a simple snack or stays in her room until everyone is awake usually by 615 or 630am.
just hang on, when they start school you won't have a problem waking them up which a very positive thing! One less battle to fight!
Good luck and have a great week,



answers from New York on

My son was the same way. Once we put him in his big boy bed (around 2 1/2) he slept like a king. I don't know if it had anything to do with the mattress, but it worked. He rarely sleeps past 7, but it's better than 5:00. When I would put him to get later than normal, it ALWAY backfired on me. He would get up much earlier for some reason.
Good luck!!!


answers from Casper on

Try the darkening shades or curtains it works really well! Also consider putting them both to bed @ 7:00. They are so close in age, they really should begetting the same amount of sleep at night (about 12hrs) and the the two year old should definitely still have one nap in the after noon, around 2:00 but don't let them sleep past 4:00. I would still do a nap for the three year old, if not a nap at least a chance to fall asleep. I call it rest and reading. (If you want more ideas on rest and reading let me know.)
What I do when they get up in the night, is just take their hand,(not carry because then they are getting the reward they wanted) and walk them back to bed and tuck them in with kindness, and leave. Minimal talking the first time if any. and do not hold or rock him. It might take awhile with tiring nights, but eventually he will get it. remember it always gets worse before it gets better. you must do it for at least one week maybe two, to see if it is going to work.
Also you could do a reward system, that if they do lay quietly until it is time to get up, or look at books, or go back to sleep, they can earn something fun in the morning. A small treat or a fun activity, or points for a bigger reward.
good luck,

Here are some more ideas from some other posts..

Since you have tried putting her to bed a little latter and it didn't work. I would try putting him to bed earlier and or rearranging his nap time. If he is having one nap, it should be close to noon probably right after lunch or an hour after. Try putting him down 11-12 hrs before he is waking up. Once you can get him to sleep that long again, then you can slowly move his bed time/wake time up by 15 mins every few days till you get to a reasonable time.

The other thing that I do when my kids wake up to early
is go in and comfort them. It might sound funny, but I make sure that I look tired, whisper and not open my eyes all the way. Saying something like,
"it is not time to get up yet, it's still sleeping time".
Right now is a good time to be doing this because the sun is on your side.
"See it's still dark outside".
Depending on the persistence of the child, you might get them to lay back down and go to sleep. Or you might have to say,
"Mommy is still sleeping, you can sleep or you can look at some books in your bed and then sleep".
Make sure they are not your favorite books, because some destruction might occur.
To make sure that the sun is not waking him up, you might want to invest in room darkening blinds or curtains. They are great for summer months especially.



answers from Madison on

Room darkening shades to keep the early morning light out and maybe some white noise in their rooms, like a fan, to block out any sound that may be coming in from outside.

Make sure naps aren't ending too close to bedtime. Probably no later then 3/3:30. Then they can be in bed around 7/7:30pm. I don't think later bedtimes do any good. Kids tend to be over tired and then don't sleep as well or as long during the night.



answers from Dallas on

Oh I can so relate. Not sure I have too much advice, but I think this is pretty normal and I'm not sure there's anything you can do. It seems to me that the wake up early when they're young and don't sleep in until they're teenagers.

I would suggest trying to get them to bed even earlier. 8:30 seems kind of late for a 3 yr old imo. I know that when I moved my sons bed time earlier, he slept better and longer -- and that's really what you need (more sleep time = more mommy time). You might try moving the bedtimes earlier 15 minutes a day to see if that makes a difference.



answers from Provo on

I would go even earlier bedtimes.I'm a little surprised that 8:30 is an early bedtime for your 3 year old. When my kids are waking up too early (before 6:45) they get super early bedtimes (between 6 and 6:30) until they've been sleeping until an appropriate wake-up time for a week. We're about to start another early to bed cycle this week, at my 2 and a half year old has been waking up at 6:15 this week. As always, I'd totally recommend the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" to you. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Totally normal and not much you can do about it. When our oldest son was 2 and 3 and up at 5:30 on Sat. morning, we just turned on Noggin and let him watch a couple of shows to get a few more zzz.



answers from New York on

Why would putting them to bed earlier get them to sleep later???? I put my son to bed at 9:30 and he sleeps until 8 or longer if I let him. His nap is 12:30-2:00 so make sure they are napping earlier in the day. I think you are putting your kids to bed too early and they are not really tired. That is why they are waking. At that age, kids sleep 10-12 hours per night so they are acting totally normally. Oh, and by the way, my son was a horrible sleeper as an newborn but now he never gets up unless he is in pain (teething, ect). Make sure they get a big snack before bed too.



answers from Denver on

It might be the sunlight that is waking them up. Have you tried black-out shades?

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