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advice on how to help 3 1/2 year old NOT wake at 4:30am

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I need some ideas about why she wakes. 


In Dec we gave up naps because it was taking SOOO long to fall asleep. In July we night weaned. Right away she started waking and getting up earlier (5:30 then 6:30(AHHH)). Now she is stuck at 4:30am. She also just started sleeping on her own. Her idea! She says sometimes it is so she sleeps better but I think she maybe doing it because I was complaining but i have promised never to complain about it again. She can't help it!. Lately I have broken my "no milk until 6:30 rule" because it doesn't appear to make a difference in waking AND it is the only way I can get her to get back to sleep.


SO, I don't think she has to use the bathroom. I used to take her to th epotty around 10pm. She seemed to stop waking to go. Maybe I should try that again.She wakes up BEFORE the birds and BEFORE the sun. There is a bit of traffic noise and the wind picks up around then. She has been sleeping in the hallway. 


I have thought about homeopathic meds and still may try Sulpher. I think we will give up cow milk for a few days. Other than that I don't know what to try. I am pretty desperate! Any ideas or advice??

post #2 of 8

I don't have any advice, just empathy.  My dd was like that.  I never found anything that worked.  I just had to wait for her to outgrow it.  We also tried different things at different times with some temporary success.  Later bedtime can sometimes help shift off-schedules.  I would put on an audio book and go lie in her bed with her.


If you are thinking dairy intolerance may be a factor, quitting milk for a few days will probably not show a result.  You would need to eliminate all dairy from her diet for a couple weeks, at least.


I hope you get some good ideas here.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks sunnygir1. 


She usually get to be around 6:30. On days she naps and I can''t stop her. She doesn't fall asleep until between 8 or 9 (ugh). It seems like no matter when she gets to bed she wakes very early. I started trying for earlier than 6:30 because I worry she may not get enough sleep.

post #4 of 8

If she's going to bed at 630 and waking at 430, that's 10 hours of sleep every night. That may be all she needs. If you want her to sleep in later, put her to bed later, not earlier.


That being said, my son wakes at the same time most days (within an hour) no matter when he goes to bed so YMMV.

post #5 of 8
You could try telling her that she has to stay in her room and play quietly until Mr. Sun is up and peeking in.

I do agree with putting her to bed later. Ten hours of sleep seems like plenty.
post #6 of 8

A 3 yr old needs between 10-12 hours a day (night and if a nap is taken).  With most needing about 11 hours and a few kids needing slightly more or less sleep than 10-12 hours.



I would see her physical signs, if she is crabby- irritable- falls asleep midday-etc then try to manage a routine for a later wake.


We used a timer and a light goes on at a set time (6:30) that is the time my kiddos can get out of bed for the day. If they are awake before the light they can play with stuffed toys or books.


FWIW: At 3 one DD slept 11 hours and the other 12.5 (still napped).


Bedtime has been 7 pm (asleep at 7:30ish) and up at 6:30 in our house since age 3 (my girls are almost 7). Recently we moved bedtime to 7:30 (asleep by 8) because their sleep needs are less, but that is a new change.


I would aim for a 7 or 7:30 pm bedtime and no naps. Wake up would be between 7:30 am (latest) to 5:30 am (earliest)-- then slowly adjust bedtime back to match what you want for wake-up. Give it a few days and see if she self regulates.


Also: maybe white noise machine, blackout shades, and/or a stuffed lovie (if she is new to sleeping on her own).

post #7 of 8

my 3 1/2 year old doesnt nap anymore and sleeps around 10 1/2 to 11 hours at night. we like to get up later so hes usually in bed between 8:30 and 9 and up by 7:30 or 8. Also the more physical activity he gets during the day the longer he sleeps. 2 hours of active play will allow him to sleep 12 hours at night. dont know if that helps but I would push her bedtime later. maybe start by pushing it to 7, them 7:30 then 8 another night. she may just not need as much sleep anymore!

post #8 of 8

Personally, I'd prefer a 8:30 bedtime, with a nap earlier in the day.  That's kind of how things work around here with little sister. She currently (and has since about 2 years old) woken when Dad leaves in the morning, about 6:30. She's up, although will sometimes fall asleep again. She takes a nap (still! at almost 5) after lunch, and goes to bed around 8:30.  If she went to bed any earlier, she woudn't get to see Dad, nor have any time for anything after supper.

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