Toddler Waking Up Too Early: What You Can Do

Toddler Waking Up Too Early: What You Can Do

Is your toddler rising before the sun can even peak through the horizon? Are they awake before the birds? We can feel your pain when 5 am rolls around, and you can hear your toddler calling for you from their crib.

If your toddler is waking up too early, there are several solutions that you can try to help your early bird go back to being a sleepy head.

Set Your Nap Times

It was difficult when your baby outgrew their first set of clothes, and you couldn’t believe how fast they were growing. Now it’s time for another reality check. Your toddler may have grown to the point where they can drop down to one nap per day.

It sounds easy to skip any extra naps, only to have one nap and go about your toddler’s schedule as usual. This transition does take careful planning and consideration to ensure that your toddler is still getting the sleep they need and not waking up too early.

If you notice that your toddler is taking longer than usual to fall asleep at bedtime or waking up super early, they may be getting too many hours of sleep in during the daytime. This is a sign that it is time to whittle down to a single nap, as they can now handle being awake for more hours. The easiest way is to gradually put your toddler to bed a few minutes early each night until you are at the ideal time.

If you are concerned about the number of hours of sleep your toddler needs, you can always consult your child’s pediatrician. You don’t want your toddler to skip a nap and then be exhausted at bedtime.

This overtiredness can cause sleep problems during the night and push your toddler to wake up earlier than you want them to. Ideally, you’d like your baby to wake up from their nap around four hours before they need to hit the hay for bedtime.

If your toddler is already down to one nap per day, try shortening the nap time. Instead of an hour and a half, they may be fine with only an hour. Again, gradual adjustments are crucial, so your toddler doesn’t notice and feel like they have been thrown off their regular schedule.

Build a Later/Earlier Bedtime

If your toddler is already down to one nap per day but not quite ready to let that one go, consider pushing back your toddler’s bedtime. Gradually adjust the bedtime by ten or fifteen minutes at a time and see if that helps your toddler sleep a little later in the morning.

If your toddler is still waking up with the rooster, try an earlier bedtime. It sounds a little counterintuitive, but an earlier bedtime may help your little one sleep later in the morning. The earlier bedtime may work better with your toddler’s circadian rhythm.

Set a Bedtime Routine

No matter what time your toddler goes to bed, you’ll want to lead up with their bedtime routine. Consistent bedtime routines help your baby recognize that it is time to unwind and get into a sleepy and snoozy mood.

Little Yawn Collective’s products can help create that restful and sleepy environment that can help your toddler get ready for some shut-eye. Products like our Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray are a great companion for your little buddy’s bedtime routine. Infused with our NaturalSnooze fragrance, scents like lavender and bergamot help your little one feel cozy and ready to get snuggled into bed.

Our Calming Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops can help your toddler off to a night of great sleep. These naturally sourced, melatonin-free sleep drops are specially formulated for kids to encourage restful ZZZs, and can help reduce fussiness.

When adjusting your toddler’s bedtime, start by adjusting the time you begin their bedtime routine. Since our toddlers haven’t quite learned how to tell time yet, they will recognize bedtime by the start of the routine.

Setting the Bedroom Environment

If your toddler is rising with the sun, the summer’s early sunrises will not be your friend. To ensure that your child stays snoozing through their usual wakin time during those early summer sunrises, invest in sun-blocking curtains. They will help keep the room cool and dark and your toddler still in dreamland.

Also, consider putting a white noise machine in your toddler’s room. If the sun is rising early, so are all the birds. Having a white noise machine in the room will ensure that any outside noises, like chirping birds, are blocked out.

Enforce Wake-Up Times

If your toddler continues to be an early riser, enforcing your toddler's “wake-up” time can help your little one understand that there is a certain time that we get up for the day.

When your little one wakes up, go to their room and calmly place a few quiet toys or their favorite stuffed animal back in their possession to occupy them. Don’t turn on any lights or make loud noises.

You don’t want your toddler to have to call for you and then get worked up and cause themselves to become energized. You want to keep the environment sleep-friendly and not send your toddler the message that they can start the day out of their crib as soon as they wake up.

Some parents have also found special night lights to be effective. These night lights turn different colors to indicate when to get out of bed. This may be more effective if your toddler has already transitioned to a toddler bed and can quietly play in their room until their light turns “green” or another color indicating that they can leave their room. You can set the time on these lights from a special app on your phone or computer.

Using the night light will take some time and training. If your toddler knows some of their colors, this may be a great solution to help you get some well-needed rest before starting the day.


The early wakeups that toddlers go through can cause more yawning and coffee-filled days. As you are well aware by this point, having a child means constant switch-ups with their routines.

If you find yourself needing to constantly evaluate your child’s routine, don’t feel like you are not being effective. In fact, the need for routine adjustment means that your child is growing and thriving.

Before you know it, your toddler will become a teenager, and you’ll have to practically pull them out of the bed! Savor the long days and short years of your child being little, as it will go by in a flash.

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we know that bedtime can be hard. Just like you have your toddler’s back, we have yours. Check us out, and see how we can make your toddler’s bedtime routine a breeze.


Sleep and Your Toddler | CS Mott Children's Hospital | Michigan Medicine

When and How to Sleep Train Your Baby | Cleveland Clinic

Best White Noise Machines of 2022 | Sleep Foundation

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