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My daughter was a terrible sleeper for a long time, and although we finally got her sleeping through the night at 10 months old (all the praise hands), she remained an early riser. And I mean early. She has always been up between 4:50 am and 5:30 am every.single.day. On the rare occasion she has slept until 6:00 or 6:30 and we thought are luck was changing she would default back to 4:52 am just for fun. Since having my second baby in December, the early mornings have been especially killer.
My husband and I have had made a kind of deal where he takes care of our toddler while I take care of the baby during this time of adjustment. But on the days he is working early, or just in general when both of us are exhausted from sick or cranky babies, 5:00 am is rolling around waaaaay too quickly. My daughter is almost 3, I decided it was time to try a few new methods to see if we could move her wake-up time later for that sake of all of our sanity. Here’s my journey on changing our early rising toddler.
First, I should list off all the things we tried and failed:
1. We had tried going into and convincing her it was still night, because it was quite literally still dark outside.
2. We tried bringing her into our bed to catch another 30 minutes of sleep, but she would just kick and squirm until one, or both of us would give up.
3. We often caved and gave her our phones with a tv show but the guilt of doing that everyday was setting in, plus it wasn’t helping her get more sleep just us.
The other really fun thing she did was call for us to come get her every single morning and after her naps. No, before you ask. She WAS in a toddler bed and was perfectly capable of getting up, she just refused. I once tried to just leave her there until she got herself out of bed, but unfortunately we were potty training so that didn’t end well.
Once her early rising was started to wake up her new brother and denying me much needed extra sleep, and right before I thought I was about to lose my mind, someone suggested a wake-up clock. Intrigued, I investigated. The idea behind one of these clocks is that you set them for a specific time, and when that time rolls around in the morning the clock lights up green so your kiddo knows its ok to wake up. But if they wake before the light is green it means its still night time and they need to go back to sleep. Not convinced this would work for my stubborn strong-willed toddler I reluctantly, and somewhat desperately, ordered the OK To Wake! clock from Amazon.
Once it arrived I excitedly set it for 6 am and eagerly awaited my perfect solution to work. Of course, I was overzealous and she woke up at 5:10 am the next morning and was not about to wait fifty minutes before getting out of bed. Well, after my initial excitement I realized I needed to set it for a more realistic time so we started out at 5:15, and what do you know, it worked! One she got used to the idea of the clock we have been gradually moving the time up by 15 minutes and she’s started sleeping longer and longer. We are currently at 6:00 am and hope to make it to 7:00 am.
While I know for some that might sound terribly early still, but once you’ve been up at 5:00 am often enough, 6:00 is glorious. The other thing that the clock has done, is encouraged her to get herself out of bed and to come to us in the mornings, instead of calling out and making us go in and get her. Which has been so refreshing and I find myself really looking forward to hearing those footsteps running down the hallway each morning. Now if only should could make some coffee and bring it with her. 😉
In case you’re in desperate need of some help in the sleep department, I highly encourage you to check out the Ok To Wake! clock. You can find it on Amazon!