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Cosleepers - what to do when almost 4 yo wakes up early but can't play alone???

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

We're kind of losing it here. He's been getting up earlier and earlier from a do-able 6am - we're now back to 5am. He quit naps last summer, and goes down like a dream at 7:30 - 8pm. He's never been the kid who slept the most - always has been on the lower edge of recommended hours for his age. He's also an only child, and we don't use tv, and time outs have also not felt right to us for this boy's personality. His "toasty bed" is right next to our large family bed, and he comes up to snuggle around 1am. All is well til 5 when he's UP. REALLY UP. Not sleepy, rocking and rolling and ready to rumble. Poking, pinching, singing loudly, etc. We provided a basket of "morning toys" that he can take back into his toasty bed and play quietly by himself, and that does work for about 15 minutes, but then there's a new round of interrupting adult sleep. 

 

Today for the first time he got a "consequence" of not letting us sleep, which was the removal of his beloved airplanes for the day. We didn't think this was perfect, but since we're not ready to do a punitive time-out (solitude being the ultimate misery for our son) we couldn't think of anything else.

 

I'm putting this here in Ages and Stages since we're comfortable with our discipline approach, and it feels more like something developmental.

 

I'm hoping other cosleeping families can give some btdt reflections or advice, especially if you have only children or only one kid in the family bed.

 

Thanks!

 

-sleepless in the family bed.... again.

post #2 of 20

My 5y has always been an early riser. Some mom was bug eyed at me this morning when I said DD2 and I had showered, dressed, and eaten before it was even 6am. We do TV though and that is the only way she lets me sleep in a little more some mornings. I preset the TV the night before so I can tell her to go downstairs and watch a cartoon. My iPad with some kid games on it works as well. No media free ideas though. greensad.gif

 

 

Edited by Peony - 12/30/11 at 6:36pm
post #3 of 20

When DD was that age, I'd roll onto a towel and let her color on my back with watercolor pencils and those paintbrushes that fill with water. I could snooze through it, and she got a kick out of it. I could easily get an extra 20-30 minutes rest that way. Of course then I'd have to clean up first thing when I got up, but there was always surprisingly little mess (especially considering what a mess maker she normally was), and watercolor cleans up easy.

post #4 of 20

We used to leave out crayons, paper and a snack.  Sometimes I would turn the tv on to sprout in the morning or PBS.  I think it's pretty much the samething.  Then leave it on for a bit.  The DD's do not believing in staying still so TV only helped for 15 to 20 minutes. 

post #5 of 20

This time of year, I hear about 5am wake-ups over and over!  We have a family bed and this year is the first that the girls (5 and 7) weren't ready for the day at 5:30 during the winter.  That said, there was nothing much we can do besides just get up, and try to go to bed earlier ourselves.  Not ideal, but in our house, better than the alternative.  No way are the kids going to let us completely alone, so it's not like there is any sleep any way.  I suppose if your kid isn't screaming and crying to get you out of bed, and you are the kind of person who loves your snooze alarm-- which drives me batty-- then by all means try to distract him and get little snippets of shuteye.  But if you find that kind of sleep isn't enjoyable, then just steel yourself and get up.  It just takes a while to make that habit.  Just get up, park the kid in front of some activity (our video time is always first thing in the morning only, and I offer that idea in case you are not TV-free) drink your coffee, read the paper, and get in gear.

post #6 of 20

Can you try putting him down later? maybe 8:30 or 9 and see if that helps get him through to a more decent hour? Our DS will be 4 in Feb, also an only child.  If we lay down any earlier  than 8:30 he will be up before the sun.

 

On the rare occasion he does wake up before 7, Zoodles app on my phone! I would kiss whoever made that app if I could find them. Usually buys me a 20 min snooze time ;)

post #7 of 20

What time are you going to bed?  Maybe if you go to bed when he does, you'll hate the morning less?  I think he'll outgrow it, but to make life better for all, maybe a temporary early bedtime for you could help?

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkiethridge View Post

Can you try putting him down later? maybe 8:30 or 9 and see if that helps get him through to a more decent hour? Our DS will be 4 in Feb, also an only child.  If we lay down any earlier  than 8:30 he will be up before the sun.

 

This is worth a try. I'd also get light blocking curtains; though dd stopped co-sleeping around that age and I found that the curtains got us an extra hour.
 

 

post #9 of 20
I am right there with you! DS just turned four a few days ago and he is up and ready for the day at 5:00 every morning. He goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 and he hasn't napped since he was two. We tried the later bedtime and he still woke up at 5:00 and he was a crankypants all day. I feel like it is developmental since he is making a huge leap right now, so I just get up with him. It's no fun but this stage won't last forever. My six year old DD used to be an early waker and now she will sleep in until 6:30 most mornings.
post #10 of 20

Putting them down later usually doesn't work out well.  We would do the not it thumb on nose bit and who ever lost always me (super slow) had to get up in the morning with the littles.  I then would make tons of noise and turn up the stereo so DH had to get up too.  I would claim all nap times as my own.  When babies napped mama napped and I especially liked it when they napped at different times.  I could get in at least 3 hours an afternoon! 

 

See you just got to make it a little interesting and get your shut eye in when you can.   Letting the littles run about without us in the morning was never a good idea.  We only allowed it a few times and I think those times were due to a bad Taco Bell experience.  Not only where we yobagoya-ing out of every orifice, the littles pulled a number of stunts that were terrible.  And they were quiet about it too.  The lab lost hair on his tail, someone painted nail polish on my front window.  And on a different occasion one of them opened their sippy cup and poured it into a DVR... blue flames of awesomeness that caused our TV to explode.  So if you can feel comfortable with a little person running amok so that you can get in a few more minutes of sleep... God Bless you!

post #11 of 20

Ha! I'm laughing at the running amok stories. Last night we were trying unsuccessfully to remove foreign objects from our Wii, no idea when that happened. DD2 doesn't usually let us sleep without the TV to zone out in front of. She will purposely make as much noise as possible knowing some adult will come running out of a bedroom trying to keep the rest of the kids asleep or she will come upstairs and pester me over and over until I get up. When I don't have a baby then I'm fine with just getting up at some insanely early hour but it never fails, she wakes me up on the days the baby decided not to sleep all night and I was finally getting much much needed shut eye. 

 

 

Putting my early wakers to put later has never worked, they still wake up at the exact same time every day, then they are just extra crabby early risers. eyesroll.gif Like another poster mentioned her kid eventually growing out of it, DD1 did! She work up early until she was 7 I think and now at 9 she sleeps in unlit 6:30-7am and she complaining bitterly if DD2 wakes her up which she will because she doesn't want to be alone. Black out curtains should be standard in every bedroom with kids. shy.gif I love ours but they still don't make her sleep in. I even would take towels and stuck them under the doors so no little cracks of light would come in. Fail. 

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

OP here - I should have said that since his first "sleep regression" at 4 months, we've been in blackouted bedrooms (yup, towel under the door too!) with constant white noise homemade by my husband (google "free white noise mp3" to get yours.) And later-to-bed experiments have resulted in the crabby early riser that others know well... 

 

Ok mamas, I'm getting the general drift here!

1. media when possible

2. caffeine always 

3. no adult time after kids go to bed - we must go to bed too

4. suck it up and wait it out

5. power struggle with partners to see who takes the hit each day

 

Errrrrgh - and here I thought that sleep regressions ended with weaning...

 

Be thinking of you all tomorrow at 5 - thanks for the companionship and good humor!

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCBMAX View Post

OP here - I should have said that since his first "sleep regression" at 4 months, we've been in blackouted bedrooms (yup, towel under the door too!) with constant white noise homemade by my husband (google "free white noise mp3" to get yours.) And later-to-bed experiments have resulted in the crabby early riser that others know well... 

 

Ok mamas, I'm getting the general drift here!

1. media when possible

2. caffeine always 

3. no adult time after kids go to bed - we must go to bed too

4. suck it up and wait it out

5. power struggle with partners to see who takes the hit each day

 

Errrrrgh - and here I thought that sleep regressions ended with weaning...

 

Be thinking of you all tomorrow at 5 - thanks for the companionship and good humor!



LOL! And that sounds just about right. Might I suggest doing the power struggle with the partner before the early waker is waking you up one morning. That way you aren't poking him in the shoulder repeatedly while whining that you took that shift yesterday. Or least that is what I would do. Picking days ahead of time would be the sane solution if you were so inclined. 

post #14 of 20

Oh mama it will pass and no power stuggles just pull "Not IT!"  Of if you're it too often... be LOUD! 

 

This reminded me of a doozy and thank sweet backstabbing Judas it didn't happen to me.  My friend needed me to pick up her kids while she worked.  Her husband was at home but wasn't answering the phone and so she assumed and assumed correctly he was asleep and they were all by themselves.  Ages 3 and 1 are a dangerous combination without a parent around.   ( they worked crappy rotating schedules and he fell asleep at naptime with the kids and didn't wake up)  Anyway I got there and the oldest let me in, the house... was a disaster!  The fridge was open and there was milk everywhere, diapers no longer on and poop on the couches and a wall.  There was something in the DVD player that wasn't a DVD and one of them had pulled the curtains off the front window.  So I could see the mayhem from the front walk.  AWESOME!  The good thing is the house was pretty baby proof.  As in no sharp knives and such... the bad thing... it stunk to high heaven!  I didn't even wake the husband I just put them both in the bath and used the shower head to rinse them off.  I didn't have kids yet and at that moment swore off children... look at me now!  They had fed themselves too.  The oldest ate a stick of butter and ketchup while the baby licked milk off the floor... I swear if CPS had been called it would have been OVER!

post #15 of 20

Dh and I try to negotiate which one of us gets up with DS. I do it most days, but I ask that he pick two days a week to get up and to plan it in advance so that we don't do the 5:00am arguing over who is going to get up. Also, there is definitely some "adult time" that is worth the hit to your sleep! DH is usually happier to get up with DS the next morning too. Oh, and set your coffee pot the night before.

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCBMAX View Post

OP here - I should have said that since his first "sleep regression" at 4 months, we've been in blackouted bedrooms (yup, towel under the door too!) with constant white noise homemade by my husband (google "free white noise mp3" to get yours.) And later-to-bed experiments have resulted in the crabby early riser that others know well... 

 

Ok mamas, I'm getting the general drift here!

1. media when possible

2. caffeine always 

3. no adult time after kids go to bed - we must go to bed too

4. suck it up and wait it out

5. power struggle with partners to see who takes the hit each day

 

Errrrrgh - and here I thought that sleep regressions ended with weaning...

 

Be thinking of you all tomorrow at 5 - thanks for the companionship and good humor!


Your post made me laugh and cry at the same time!  When you reduce our advice to this, it does sound pretty awful, doesn't it?  It does eventually get better, just that 4yo is a bit young to expect it for lots of kids (and apparently every kid belonging to every mama posting here!)  Last night I did crash out early with my girls, but the night before I stayed up until 10:30 and watched the tube with dh.  I'd say I go to bed with the girls about 1-3 nights every week.  Last night, I slept blissfully from about 9pm to 7:30 this morning.  Straight through.  Got up to pee.  The fireworks at midnight woke me up for a minute.  Woo hoo happy new year.  But aaahhhh I feel good today!  For me personally, striving for alone time with dh *every* night is not worth if it I am too wiped out to do anything with that time.  Now that I finally have a chance at some real sleep (at last!) I am really, truly enjoying it.  (BTW, both dh and I get up together, or I should say I always get up when the girls get up.  DH gets up with us if he's not up already.  No fighting over sleep-ins and free time.  But then again, my girls aren't hauling me out of bed at 5am anymore!

 

I am not making this up when I say that the solar cycles affect my daughter's sleep patterns.  Solstice times are always (or usually) times of early wakings and confusion as to what time of day it is.  Equinoxes are the best time for sleep in our house.  Just in the last 3 weeks I have heard at least 5 mamas-- friends and relatives with little ones-- complain of early rising kids.  I swear, it is not a coincidence!

 

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tooraloora View Post

When DD was that age, I'd roll onto a towel and let her color on my back with watercolor pencils and those paintbrushes that fill with water. I could snooze through it, and she got a kick out of it. I could easily get an extra 20-30 minutes rest that way. Of course then I'd have to clean up first thing when I got up, but there was always surprisingly little mess (especially considering what a mess maker she normally was), and watercolor cleans up easy.



Brilliant.

post #18 of 20

My DS who is 4 loves books. I'll have a nice stash of new books from the library for him to look at in the morning. Doesn't always work, but when it does, it's great.

post #19 of 20

I've taught my 2 1/2 yo that it's quiet time and he is expected to stay in bed, or at least his room until daddy gets up.  It works about half the time.  The rest of the time he'll come out and climb onto the couch with me to snuggle (I move to the couch after his 3 am waking).  Rarely will he fall back to sleep on the couch.  Sometimes he'll snuggle (fairly) quietly, talking and singing to himself, which I can sleep through.  The other times I'll get him an iPod or an iPad so I can catch a few more Zs.  We have babyproofed parts of our house to the point where I don't have to worry too much about it, and I am not a heavy sleeper, so any unusual sound will wake me.  Turning the TV on is a last resort for me, but then he prefers the other media choices. 

 

We also have blackouts in his room, and have tried adjusting his bedtime.  What I've found is that moving his bedtime earlier actually will sometimes make him sleep later for some weird reason.  We just can't seem to sustain it for various reasons. 

post #20 of 20

Unless you need as much sleep as your DS, there should be some time for adult time after he goes to bed, right? Just count back from 5am for what you need. I spent about 6 months with a 5am riser and it gave me a 9pm bedtime, but his was more like 7:30. Especially with an only you aren't worrying about other kids being awake still.

 

Good luck!

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