Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. The ongoing battle of wills between adult and child is the moments (sometimes hours) before the little ones rest their heads and drift off to the land of nod.

However, then there's the other issue…

A child that rises early can arguably be worse, especially if you're not a morning person and like rolling over after you hit that snooze button (a feature that a hyper child doesn't have). So, if you have an early riser on your hands there's a doctor and parenting guru on hand to help you out.


When a child wakes too early, like us adults, it can make them tired, cranky, and unable to feel their best for the rest of the day. That's why getting a good night's sleep is essential, so teaching a good sleeping and waking pattern while the child is young is great practice.

Pediatrician and clinical adviser Dr. Sharryn Gardner at child health app JUNO spoke to The Sun about why little ones tend to rise earlier than the rest of us.

She said: "Their body clocks are adjusted for early sleeping and early rising, they tend to be lighter sleepers, and they prefer not to play alone. This means, when they wake up, they're likely to want you to get up too! Up to the age of two, children should be getting between eleven - fourteen hours of sleep a day.

"And under 5s can still need up to twelve hours. As a rule, small children who go to bed before 9.30 pm sleep better and wake less frequently in the night.

"So pushing back their bedtimes in order to secure your lie-in isn't the best strategy!"

However, there are things you can do to help your babies get the full amount of sleep they need, making sure you also get that important shut-eye to keep yourself healthy and happy enough to parent them.

1. Black Out Blinds

Dr. Sharryn explained that a good tip for trying to get your toddler to stay in bed is to invest in a good set of black-out blinds.

She explained: "These can be very useful for getting children to sleep in summer when it may still be light outside and will stop the sun from waking them up at dawn."

2. White Noise Machines

She also highly recommended white noise machines adding "White noise machines can also be really helpful in drowning out household sounds or those from outside the window."

3. Temperature Checks

The pediatrician and clinical advisor delineated that getting the right temperature in the room is key to a good night's rest. She explained that if the room is too hot or too cold, it can cause the child to wake up earlier or more frequently during the night.

Dr. Sharryn said: "In the summer, quiet fans and light sheets instead of heavy blankets can help ensure toddlers don't wake up hot and bothered. Keeping curtains closed during the day can also help rooms stay cool."

4. Routine, Routine, Routine

Dr. Sharryn insisted that having a consistent bedtime routine is vital if you're trying to get your little one to stay in bed. Without it, the expert explained that your child will have a low quality sleep and their rising times will become more erratic.

5. Caffeine

Easy one here that not just children but everyone should follow - avoiding caffeine, sugar, and screen time in the hours leading up to bedtime. "This alone will improve sleep quality, as will introducing lots of fresh air, natural light, and exercise during the day," Dr. Sharryn explained.

6. Danger Naps

Don't let your child nap too much during the day advised the expert, as this could lead to them waking earlier in the morning: "The length and frequency of naps should reduce as babies get older, often moving from 2-3 a day to just one in the afternoon.

"Pre-schoolers can still benefit from naps or, if that's not for them, a period of calm and quiet in the afternoons instead."

7. Introducing New Strategies

The expert also suggested that introducing new strategies is a great incentive for the child to stay in bed in the morning. She said for example, for older toddlers, you could try placing a box of special 'morning toys' and explain that they are to be played with quietly if they wake up and mom and dad are still asleep. This will encourage them to learn how to self-entertain for a while each morning.


She added: " You could also try covering up a clock in their room with paper and cutting out a small square over the number 6 or 7, depending on what time they should be staying in bed until. You can then explain to your child that until they see the big hand appear in the window, it's not time to get up yet."

"While you can do your best to get your child into a good sleep routine, it's unlikely you'll keep an energetic excited toddler in bed for very long once they wake, admitted Dr. Sharryn."

She explained that the sleep patterns of babies and toddlers change quickly, so if they're going through a period of very early rising, don't panic! She said: "It won't last forever and the above tips and ideas can help you guide your little tyke back to more sociable sleeping hours!"

Good luck, exhausted parents!