Some of you might remember reading about how my 2-year-old wouldn’t sleep past 5 am. We were determined to get out of the toddler early waking cycle, and implemented a sort of “Boot Camp” to get her to sleep past 5 am.
Here’s the thing: It worked. And as I type this, I know I just jinxed ourselves.
This weekend we “fell back,” and if you are a parent, you know changing the clocks can wreak havoc on a toddler’s sleep schedule. So, we might need to revisit these rules for getting your toddler to sleep past 5 am once again.
But if you are wondering how we got our toddler to sleep past 5 am, here is how it went.
The night before the first morning of Toddler Sleep Boot Camp, we bathed and put her to bed at the normal time (8 pm). She fell asleep without a hitch, but like clockwork, at 5 am she was up and at our door.
No words were exchanged (on our part) but a lot of tears were shed as we gently picked her up, put her back in bed, and left the room. We repeated this process for about an hour, folks. There were a lot of tears, but all we did was pick her up and put her back to her bed.
At 6 am, we opened our bedroom door, let her in, and showed her the sun was coming up and NOW was the time it was okay to get out of bed.
Again, bedtime was at 8 pm, and right on cue at 5 am, she was up and at our door. Again, we gently picked her up, and put her back in her bed without saying a word.
More tears, more “Monster in my room!” and more excuses came along for about 20 minutes. But then a weird thing happened. She was in her room, almost contemplating if she should come through the door to our bedroom, but instead, she just crawled back in bed and stayed there until 6 am.
Something was working
Bedtime was the same, and at 5:30, she woke up and came to our room. We put her back in bed, just as we had been doing the previous nights, and she stayed there until 6:30 am. When she woke up, she came in our room and was all, “Look! Sun up! Time to get out of bed!”
Moms and Dads, I am not lying here when I tell you by the fourth morning of sleep training for our toddler, she slept until 7 am. 7 am, people!
Now, she sleeps consistently until 6 or 6:30 am. There are nights when she gets out of bed – just like any toddler would- but we’ve gotten out of the horrible sleep cycle that was early rising for the toddler (and us).
So for us? Sleep training our toddler was worth it. No one understands sleep deprivation in parents like those who have actually gone through it. We went through it for almost a year, and it is awful.
But this worked for us. Hopefully, it can work for you too.