I read a hack not too long ago about a toddler (about 3 yrs., I think) that used to wake up way too early until the parents started using a radio alarm clock to get him to sleep longer. My son was probably about 6 mos. old at the time and I was having the same problem. He would wake up anytime after 5 am and cry until I couldn’t take it anymore and would surrender and go get him. When I read the hack, I thought, "Well, that’s brilliant if you have a child who is old enough to understand it."
A few months have gone by now, and I kept wondering if some sort of consistent alarm would do any good with my now 11 month old. A few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. I used an old cell phone with an alarm feature that I set for 6 am which was around his normal wake up time. My hope was that he would eventually learn that Mommy was coming when he heard the music (I always set it to the same alarm tone). I always wait for the alarm and then go into his room telling him good morning and really praising him for waking up when he is supposed to. My husband and I both thought that it would take a very long time for him to make the association, but it actually only took about a week. Since then, we have moved his wake up time back one hour. Now he may wake up and talk to himself, but he often falls back to sleep until the alarm goes off. It has definitely made mornings much happier around here, and I’m getting about an hour more sleep than I was before.
I’m sure all babies are unique and this may not work for everyone, but I thought I’d share.
I found a kid’s alarm clock at Amazon that lets you record your own voice as the alarm sound — interesting. I wonder if that would be more or less effective than music?