Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Late Sleep is Elusive...What Works for You?

In a reversal of things, Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a "backwards" Works for me Wednesday. As in, I ask the question...and you, the Internet, answers. Woo hoo! I'm so excited!

Okay so here goes:

My (almost) 2-year-old gets up SUPER early. Sometimes as early as 4:30am. No matter what time we put him to bed. (Well, we've never kept him up til 10pm but within reason, no matter what time we put him to bed)

This shouldn't be a problem -- he is in a regular bed, in the same room with his older brother. I frankly wouldn't care if he got up that early if he'd just play or look at books. But he screams and cries as though we're terrible people who've completely abandoned him to be alone. You co-sleepers out there might say that we have! But still, even at 4:30am when I go into his room and lay down in his bed with him, he cries and wants to leave the room. I usually can hold him off a bit by saying "lay down" and then closing my eyes....which is what I want to be doing at 4:30am anyway!

Okay...so have at it.

What to do?

(and see more Works for Me Wednesday here...)

24 comments:

~ Melody ~ said...

I'm out of suggestions...I've been sleep deprived for years. But I'm remembering you in my prayers. :)

Kacie said...

Whoa! That's early. Tell him to get to work, milking the cows and stacking the hay. :)

I wish I had something helpful to offer, but I've been struggling with sleep issues for years. Maybe your tot just likes to get up and go!

Capturing Today said...

We have our own sleep problems here, even with co-sleeping, but thankfully waking that early isn't an issue! Perhaps you could make a special corner in the room with toys and books he likes to use and his very own special flashlight and give him permission to go there quietly and play before waking others? Perhaps let him help pick out his favorite items for his special spot the night before? Something similar to this worked with my oldest daughter, but she was closer to 4 than 2.

Nap Warden said...

Ugh! Do you have toys in the crib (he is in a crib, yes)? My one year old has been getting up at 5:30, we hand him a bottle and he usually gets back to sleep...Good luck to you, that's tough.

Autumn Daisy Studio said...

Gosh! No advice, but wishing you luck!

Capturing Today said...

I thought of one other one we do, hope it is okay to comment twice! We've always co-slept and our little ones didn't move into their own beds until about 3 or 4. But we have made good use of the lambswool rugs that are about 4 ft by 3 ft. As they are transitioning into their own bed, we tell them that they can come lie down on the "sheep blankie" anytime in the night or morning as long as they are quiet and let others sleep. We put ours on the floor on the side of our bed. It has worked wonders for our often sleep-deprived family. They have a pillow and blanket and the nice warm lambswool rug - they tend to snuggle right down and go back to sleep!

Julie said...

This harkens back to baby days and I realize it's different, but we let them cry it out. Don't go in, don't respond. Let them cry. I know it seems horrible and it is torturous to you to do it but it teaches them that they won't get a response. Maybe you could even tell him the first night that it is sleeping time and you need sleep too so you will not be coming in his room. You may have several nights of this but usually the crying period gets less each time. We were lucky in that it only took 3 nights but it can take longer.

Granted, with an older sibling in the room this is difficult but could you have the older sibling sleep in another room (sleeping bag on the floor in your room maybe) through the process.

You're basically trying to reprogram his internal clock.

I know some people think this is really mean but I'm just telling you what worked for us.

Scrawny Mommy said...

My son, Julian, had similar problems. We eventually allowed him to come into our room once he woke up. He often fell back asleep, or just rested with us. He didn't stay in too long (an hour tops) but it was better than the alternative (for us at least!) Good luck.

My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving said...

Does he nap alot during the day? I would cut back on nap time, keep him up as late as you can stand it, and try to reset his inner workings. A few late nights will make him tired and hopefully sleep later for you.

~Leslie

Amy said...

Hmmm ... if you're already limiting nap time and have tried putting him to bed both earlier and later (I'm assuming you tried each for at least a week or two, letting him settle in to the new routine) and you're consistent with his bedtime regularly, the only other suggestion I have is to make sure he's getting plenty of opportunity to run around and expend energy in the evening. I've found that the simply being more physically tired works wonders to get our daughter to sleep longer.

infinitygoods.com said...

First it takes at least 3 weeks to learn a new habit (especially a good one ;-) ) so make sure you give your child enough time to readjust to the new schedule you set.
Our son was older when he started waking us up before the crack of dawn, but we appealed to his empathy, reasoning with him that parents are older and have much less energy than children so we need more sleep. We told him that when he wakes up in the morning he should quietly stay in his bed and he could play with his toys or quietly come into our bed without waking us up (in the morning only!) It took a few reminders but worked well, of course he was older.
We also reminded him that when the sky is dark it is for sleeping. That should buy you at least a well deserved hour or two.
We also had trouble with naps at a very young age and you might want to try our trick for the early morning. I borrowed it from a friend with 4 children under the age of 4!! We told these insomnia babies that we did NOT want them to sleep. We were playing a game and they were to stay awake. The only rule to the game is to PRETEND to sleep without talking, wiggling, etc. for as long as possible. The longest they pretend to sleep and they win. Within seconds they were quiet and within a few minutes they were in the land of nod.
Good luck!

Debs said...

I don't have kids so what do I know, but I've heard that a blackout curtain or blind does help some people..

Milehimama said...

My second child just does not need sleep like that. He's 8 now, and goes to sleep at midnight and wakes at 6 am.

My 1 yo is like your little one. Usually, she'll climb in bed with us and rest - but not always. Can you put her in the living room in a playpen and lay on the couch? Somethings better than nothing!

If she'll watch TV or a movie, you might go watch with her in the AM - she watches, you sleep. I would lay on the couch when I was pregnant and desperate for rest, and make the toddlers sit on my legs and watch a movie or read their books - so I would know if they got up.

Chrissy said...

Just a thought.. Any chance there is a noise waking him up at that time every morning? My 2yr olds room is at the front of the house and he used to wake up crying between 4:30 and 5 every morning.

After many days of this I decided to sleep on the sofa one night (his room is off the living room) Lo and behold, about 4:45 I heard a loud car slow down and then take off again.

Come to find out, it was the newspaper delivery guy dropping the paper at my neighbors house. No muffler on his car so it was waking my little one up every morning. Now he sleeps with a fan on in his room to drown out the noise. Works like a charm.

Good luck

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I have found that keeping up doesn't usually work--in fact, a child in a good healthy sleep pattern will often sleep later. Kids have body clocks and some are set early, but 4:30 is too early!

When my kids recognized numbers (by 3), I put a digital clock in there, with only the first number showing (tape paper over the minutes). Tell the child that he can only call for you when the number says 5 (then of course try to move it to 6, which may be your only hope if he's a conditioned early riser). Use a sticker chart or another reward for doing so.

bella said...

No wisdom here. We have the same problem.
We have recently just gone into his room told him if he is awake he can get up and play quietly but that WE are SLEEPING!This has helped us get more sleep but not him.
Good luck.

SAHMmy Says said...

I'm blessed with a super preschool-age sleeper (and an up all night baby, but that's a different topic altogether!) but when he does wake up early, I take him potty then put him in my bed to sleep. He snuggles up and gets swallowed in our bed...and I get another hour to get things done--like blogging :) I don't know what will work for you; my nephew is up before the birds as well, no matter how much or little sleep he gets the night before. Good luck!

Thia said...

As a pp suggested, make sure there is nothing waking him up like a car or someone's forgotten watch alarm. After that, what I do with my kids is just take them into the living room and we lay on the couch together. The lights stay off and there is no talking or playing. It's night time and we can't wake up until the sun does, I explain. Maybe after a while, he will just reprogram.

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer said...

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions - I must tell you all, maybe it was just posting it out there...he slept til almost 7am today and woke up calmly and happily....!? Actually, the baby slept almost the whole night too. I think I'm going to post about it every day if that's what worked!!!!!

Not the Queen said...

My daughter did that one summer. It drove us nuts! What we found worked for her was buying a blind. You know, like a black-out curtain (sort of). It drastically reduced the amount of light coming in through her window, and she slept later because of it.

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

First I have to say that I love the progression of Crocs! Fellow Crocs lover here. ;)

I wish I could give you advice on what to do to get him to sleep longer. My daughter has gone through that phase twice. It was just a matter of sticking to everything the same and just waiting it out though..."and this to shall pass"...I used the mantra OFTEN. But I did make sure I didn't bump up naps at that point though. If regular nap time was 1 then nap at 1 she got even if she was soooo tired she was falling asleep. I would get her up and make her stay active so to keep her naps on time. When she complained she was tired I told her she needed to sleep longer. But that's about all I can offer. I hope that things improve. Sleep is way too important!

Andi said...

Will he go back to sleep with you in your bed? If my 2 year old gets up that early, I bring him to bed with me & he goes back to sleep.

I would take a look at how he falls asleep at the beginning of the night. Do you rock him to sleep or stay in his room until he falls asleep? If so, the first step would be to get him to fall asleep on his own. This will enable him to put himself back to sleep when he wakes.

Is he crabby & tired when he wakes up??

I know a lot of people have issues with Ferber, but his new book is very, very good. He has a lot of tips for early waking...

And, if he gets up at 4:30 no matter what time you put him to bed, I would put him down as early as possible!

Kim said...

This might be a repeat comment, but putting my early riser to bed sooner made a difference. His "stirring period" was earlier in the night and he went back to sleep until at least 6:30 which was late for him.

Good luck!

JCK said...

Hi Phyllis,

Thanks for your gallery idea on my question for What to do with all that art work? I got so many great ideas!

The most helpful book on sleep I've read is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. I, too, have an early riser. We call him our little rooster, but actually he gets up before the light... Anyway, Weissbluth recommends that you put your child down earlier, which seemed counterintuitive, but really worked for us. I also made sure that he was up from his nap by 3:30pm at the latest. That way by 7pm he was ready to go to sleep. I wish you much luck! There is nothing worse than sleep deprivation!