I know this doesn't make for much of an Instructable, but we've found it so helpful I just had to share it.
Step 1: Materials
A simple list of materials:
-Toddler (or other individual who wakes you up at the crack of 'way too early')
-Plug in timer (I got mine at Home Depot for less than $7)
-Table lamp (any lamp will do, I used one we had, but you could get one from a garage sale or make one using one of the many Instructables out there for that).
-40W or lower light bulb (I used a 20W incandescent - the point here is it should be fairly dim)
Step 2: Putting the Plan in Motion.
Set up the timer according to the package directions (if you get the same one I got you have to flip all the tabs UP except the ones at the time you want the lamp on)
Plug in the timer and plug the lamp into that. (I did a trial run in our kitchen to make sure it would come on when I wanted it to)
Several times throughout the day tell your child about their new "Good Morning" lamp. Explain that when they wake up the next morning they need to stay in bed until their lamp is on. We leave some books and toys out for our daughter where she can get them and tell her she can play or read quietly in bed until her lamp comes on.
Remind the child again at bed time about the lamp and that they need to stay in bed until it is on.
The first few mornings the child will probably get up early like normal, remind them about their lamp and send them back to bed to wait for it.
It took about a week of "hit and miss" for our daughter to figure it out, but now it works great!
Step 3: Final Notes
I know there are a lot of "alarm clocks" or night lights for kids available out there that do basically the same thing, but they range anywhere from $30 to $60 and with this system you have a practical lamp afterward as well.
The reason for the 20W bulb is to keep the light level down in case the child is still asleep when it turns on. If they're still sleeping they probably need it. :)
As always if you have any questions, or comments please let me know.