Once an Early Riser Always an Early Riser?

Updated on May 27, 2018
D.Z. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
15 answers

Hi Ladies,

My youngest daughter is 18 months old. We have done our best to create a consistent bedtime routine and cozy atmosphere in her room for sleep including blackout curtains, white noise and temperature control. She goes to sleep well after some book reading and comfort nursing. I always put her to sleep drowsy but awake. We have gotten into a pretty good consistency where she isn't waking up much during the night HOWEVER she always gets up between 4:30-5:15am. Her typical bedtime is at 7pm although some nights it gets pushed to 7:30 or if she is really tired, we will put her down at 6:45. No matter which way her bedtime is pushed, she always wakes up at 5am. She has a 1.5 hour nap during the day.

We have an older daughter who sleeps from 7:30-7 if uninterrupted. The issue is that when the little one wakes at 5, she is not quiet about it so if I don't go get her, she will wake up her big sister. Basically, we think we just have an early riser!

For those of you who have experienced this, did your child adjust her sleep wake time when she was older to a later time i.e. 6 or 7? Or are we just stuck??? We are all exhausted!

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answers from Miami on

I think that you will need to make her bedtime later over the coming months if you want a chance for her to wake up later. I think it would be worth doing this. A gradual shift - maybe adding 5 minutes to a week until you are closer to 8:30...

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Springfield on

Your oldest sleeps 11 1/2 hours every night? My boys have only slept that long a handful of times. Wow!

Not every child is going to do that, so please don't wonder if there is something odd about your youngest. Seriously, that is a lot of sleep.

If your youngest is sleeping 9 to 10 hours at night and 1 1/2 at nap-time, that's 10 1/2 to 11 1/2 hours a day. That is on the lower end of the normal spectrum (10 to 14 hours in a 24 hour period), but it is still within the normal range.

I think your situation is not so much that she is an early riser as that she simply doesn't need as much sleep as her older sister. Have you tried putting her down around 8:00 or later? If you do, she might sleep until closer to 6:00. It's worth trying.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow I have three kids and NONE of them slept for more than 9 or 10 hours at night! By the time they dropped naps at around age two, two and a half, they were in bed from about 9 PM to about 6:30, maybe 7:00 AM.
Look, kids are people and don't ALL require the same amount of sleep. I had a few nieces and nephews that slept a LOT, and went to bed early for years and yes I was jealous that my kids weren't like that, but they just weren't.
You can't really compare your younger one to your older one. She's a different person so maybe try keeping her up later. Just let her snuggle with you guys on the couch watching a movie or something to keep the evenings mellow.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Was it stuck at this earlier time sometime around the time change? This would happen with my kiddos every spring.

And then it would seem human again in the fall when the time switched again if I'm not mistaken.

I found that my children were earlier risers and yes, it got better as they got older.

I just went to bed earlier too when they were toddlers and preschoolers. It's how I survived those years.

Then by my last child, I figured something out. I could just keep them up later. Why this hadn't dawned on me, I don't know.

You do it gradually. Do 15 minutes over time.

You'll see her sleeping later. You should she her get to 6 am anyhow.

Then push her nap back slightly, and cut it back to just an hour (she'll naturally wake a bit earlier I would think).

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

My daughter and son were that way for a long time. With us, it didn’t matter what time they went to bed, they were up at 5:30-6. It was exhausting.

Hang in there! Mine stopped about kindergarten. They were also able, by that point, to read in bed or play quietly with toys. Mine were 4 years a part so I got up with the youngest so he wouldn’t disturb big sis or dad.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

no, i don't think being an early riser is a genetic program.

you're putting her to bed incredibly early. why on earth not try to push her bedtime back?

take a month and slowly roll that bedtime back to 8:30.

it sounds more like you've got a kid who sleeps relatively well for 10 hours at a stretch, which is fantastic, than an early riser.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

at 18 months i couldn't wake my boy for anything till around 10 am! he wanted his sleep. at age 7 he wakes around 730-8 every day. and he started that before he started kindergarten. my daughter is a different story, she will sleep an even number of hours, so if i put her to bed at 8pm she sleeps about 10 hours, if i put her to bed at 10, she will still sleep for about 10 hours

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

When the kids were little my hubby and I would keep them up late so they'd sleep in. I was a stay at home mom at the time so they didn't have to be up at a certain time to get out of the house.

AT this point your little one is getting 10 hrs of sleep at night and 1.5 during the day. I'd probably push back her bedtime by at least a hour and see if that helps.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Our son took awhile to get his days and nights straight, and then he was an early riser for a few years.
He napped at least once a day till he was 7 years old - did it on weekends when they stopped nap time in 1st grade and sometimes after school.
Sometime during school he switched.
By middle school he liked to stay up later and sleep in later on weekends.
Now he's home from college and he likes to stay up till 2am and sleep till noon.

All I can tell you is - try going to bed when she goes to bed or close to it.
She needs more sleep than you do.
Don't try to use that time for 'getting things done' - getting your own sleep has to come first.
If the kids are napping - you grab a nap too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Moving a bedtime to move wake-up time isn't something you do 1 day. You have to stick with the new later bedtime every night for 2 weeks. Then, maybe, you will slowly work to a slightly later wake-up time.

That said, it is possible she will always be an early riser - you just have to moderate it to a reasonable early hour. My 11 year old has gotten up at 6AM since he was a toddler. And he goes to sleep at night between 9 and 10, so we can't push that later. It's just who he is.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Oh I remember those days and the exhaustion. We had twins that would wake up around 4:30, or 5:00 if we were lucky. Moving the 7pm bedtime back 15 minutes to 6:45 sometimes helped, but not always. Both my girls did slowly grow out of the early waking, though 6:30 is still often a wake-up time for them. Fortunately, they frequently sleep til 7:00 or even 7:30 on weekends. They are now 8, and I'm trying to remember when we got relief. Maybe around 2 1/2 to 3?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think it's just the age. I think until around age 6, it didn't matter what time I put my kids to bed, they always woke up at the same time, which is why I was super strict about bed time! My kids are now 8 and 10 and it's a little better. My 10 year old will definitely sleep in, but my 8 year old really won't, no matter what time he goes to bed. I mean, maybe he'll sleep an extra half an hour or so, but mostly he's an early riser kid. But, that being said, I don't really think you can tell for a few years yet. She might change!

I will add that around age 2 we did teach them how to read a clock (and by read I just mean recognize one important number..the number 7!!) and told them they had to stay in their room until the first number on the clock was 7. It worked and it helped. A lot!!!! Then even if they woke up they didn't come in and get us every single morning. Now, granted, I still usually woke up anyway because 2 year olds aren't quiet, but it was a good skill for them to learn because eventually it did work.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Your 18 month old is getting plenty of sleep and sounds like this is her natural rhythm. This isn't actually a problem by itself, but a good sign that she doesn't have any sleep issues. It sounds like you have done everything right in establishing a bedtime environment and routine.

However, you will need to make some changes to get more rest for yourself as well as for your older child who shows the need for more sleep. You usually have two options: later bedtime for the toddler, or earlier bedtime for you.

It is easy for parents of little ones to stay up too late to enjoy the quiet time, but in order to get enough rest when your toddler goes to bed so early, you must also go to bed fairly early. For example, if the 18 month old is usually up for the day at 5am, you should go to bed around 9pm to get 8 hours of rest and be able to wake up when she does, so as to not disturb the child who needs more sleep.

Now that said, my kids have never gone to bed so early. In toddler times, they'd be up until 9-10pm. Since I was a SAHM there was nowhere we needed to be in the mornings. When they were school aged, it was 8pm. Changing a kid's bedtime to later when they already have a good natural routine can be difficult. It has to be done slowly and gradually to avoid crabbiness and creating sleep issues. It sounds like you may have already tried this route and it doesn't work for her, so an earlier bedtime for you is likely your solution.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I babysat for a couple who worked a swing shift getting home around midnight. The baby was 18-24 months. They asked me to keep him up until 10 or 11 so he would sleep in. Worked for them.

I suggest you try putting her
to bed later and you go to bed an hour after she goes to bed. You have to gradually change her bed time. Try it for a couple of weeks.

My mother said, as a baby, I was awake much of the night and slept more in daytime. Graveyard or swing shifts work best for me. I have to work at keeping more normal hours.

I suggest that the hours we sleep has more to how we were trained than genetics. When I consistently go to bed by 11, I wake up around 7 or 8. So the consistent time to go to bed makes waking up when we've slept enough. We will wake up when we've had enough sleep when we allow that.



answers from San Diego on

Well your problem is your putting kid to bed too early and also letting her nap. If you want your kid to sleep late put them to bed late. No naps.
Try taking out the nap.

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