Tricks to Get Toddlers to Stay in Bed Early in the Morning

By Natalie Smith
Establishing a morning routine, such as eating breakfast at a certain time each day, can help your child stay in bed until it is time to get up.
Establishing a morning routine, such as eating breakfast at a certain time each day, can help your child stay in bed until it is time to get up.

Once you put your toddler to bed, you may be frustrated if she is not willing to stay there once she wakes up in the morning. Getting your child to wait for you in bed each morning is important for her sleep and her safety -- you don't want her having unsupervised access to things she isn't supposed to play with while you are sleeping.

Be Consistent

One of the keys to getting a toddler to stay in bed is consistency. Put your toddler back to bed if he gets out too early in the morning. Do not let him climb into bed with you, no matter how much he cries or how many fits he throws. When your child figures out that he will not get his own way by crying or by being persistent, he will gradually stop getting out of bed before you are ready to get up in the morning.

Establish a Routine

Toddlers need consistency. Establishing a bedtime routine may help your child to get a good night's sleep, which may help her sleep longer in the morning. For example, give her a bath and brush her teeth right before bed each night. Once she associates these calm activities with sleep, she may be more likely to go to bed and stay there. Similarly, a morning routine may help her to know when it is too early to get up. If she eats breakfast at the same time each day, for example, her internal clock may associate breakfast with getting up and she may remain in bed until it is time to eat.

Use a Reward Chart

Children love rewards, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Create a reward chart for your toddler. Each night he stays in bed and remains there until you get him up, place a sticker on the chart. When he has earned enough stickers, give him a small prize, such as a sticker or a small toy. Do not give your child junk food as a reward, however. Doing so could result in bad eating habits later in life, such as rewarding himself with food.

Check for Problems

If you have tried putting your child back in bed, rewarding him and creating a routine and he is still getting out of bed, something may be causing him to wake up. If your child wakes up early and remains wide awake, he may be getting enough sleep and he may no longer be tired. If you believe this is the case, try moving his bedtime back so he will sleep longer in the morning. In other cases, he may be waking up because of another problem, such as a wet diaper, or the room may simply be too light. Solving these problems can help him sleep longer or go back to sleep faster if he wakes up.

About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.