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Need practical advice on setting up a fixed bed time - Page 2

post #21 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellen109 View Post

I think a schedule would help his body get on a natural rhythm and would make things easier for him.  When I wake up at varying times each day and go to bed at varying times, I feel a little out of sorts and have a lot more trouble getting up/falling asleep.  I would set a schedule that you think matches what he needs and follow it strictly for a week and then evaluate how things are going.  Some children thrive on a set schedule, my son would be a mess without it.  Set a morning wakeup time, nap start and nap end  and bedtime (try to match the nap length to  sleep cycle lengths so if you have to wake him, you do it at the end of a cycle.  They typically are 40 minutes and they'll often stir at the end of a cycle, sometimes getting up and sometimes going back to sleep.  waking at 30 minutes or 50 minutes on the dot is a sign of overtiredness.)  

Based on the average sleep needs for that age, I'd try for waking at 8am, nap at 1 pm for 1hr & 10 min and bedtime at 8pm.  It won't go well for the first few days, until his body gets used to it.  One easy way that I used to get my son used to a set nap time was to take him for a drive at that time every day.  Then once their bodies adjust to the schedule, they will make a few tweaks based on their needs.  If you notice him getting sleepier earlier than 8pm, he needs an earlier bedtime.  But, you can really on successfully move a set schedule by about 15 minutes a night.  So make changes once you are on a good schedule gradually.

Oh and the falling asleep for 2 minutes thing and then waking up, might be a sign of being overtired.  When kids get overtired, they have a horrible time falling asleep and the inability to stay asleep is a classic sign.

I honestly believe that schedules are not the enemy as some may think.  They help a child's natural circadian rhythm find balance and without them I think the child's body is constantly trying to find a rhythm, but can't because we allow other parts of the schedule to be inconsistent.  
I like what you say Mama. This dream of having a set routine is why I get ruffled up about it time to time. But here's the thing: I myself am not a routine person. I dont fall asleep at same time, never have. But like my son, I sleep deep and well and am well rested. But my sleep needs vary greatly. So,edays 5 hrs , some other days 9 hrs. SO I have a handicap I guess in trying to setup a sleep routine for him, coz I dunno how to make it work for me!
My sister was unlike me. She slept at the same time and also had no problem falling asleep. If her head hit the bed near bedtime, she would be asleep in few mins. I on the other hand ( like my son) would stay awake for hours ( as a child I couldnt be out of bef since my mom obviously expected me to be asleep) and was miserable and bored. As an adult now, I give myself max half hour and then get up and go do something productive.lol.
I have held a corporate job before and so have woken up early consistently. The point of my post is, I wish I could follow a sleep pattern like you mention. And I guess my son inherits mine!
post #22 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

I agree with this.
A few more thoughts regarding the OP... You said that you can't physically stay active every morning. My son is much more active than I am and so I literally can't keep up but I know he needs the activity (if he doesn't get AM activity he will not nap and then he's grumpy). So... I have some tricks that might work for you too. We go to places where he can play and doesn't need me to play with him: indoor/ enclosed play areas, bounce houses and trampolines, play with the dog, ride bike or scooter in loops in park, swimming (I'm just in the pool nearby, not swimming myself), soccer/ gym class, etc. Maybe something like that can work for you?

The reason, I am trying to setup a more predictable routine is so that we can take advanatage of the playdates, preschools, daycare etc. Currently we do zoo, museum, mall, lib etc but its just him and me. I am trying to get him a couple of hours of playtime but if somedays he is awake at 7:30 am amd other days 10 am, I cant commit to any playdate or daycare. I womt homeschool so yes I am kinda nervous now about how to get him to preschool and school by 8 am! And in a happy mood. I dunno how my friends who work get their kids to daycare, even if the kid is completely in a bad mood. I just have never dragged him out of house and put him in car against his will. Mostly because my kid is a very happy child and doesnt really behave like a two yr old. UNLESS his dear sleep rhythm is distubed. Lol!

I also believe there are two things at play here: he is also a night owl like me. Waking up earlier makes him very miserable. The first half of our day is a waste.
post #23 of 40
When we get into that pattern, I try to leave the shades up so the strong morning sun gently wakes my three year old. Then he gets back to his long afternoon naps and 10 pm sleeptime. It takes about four days of waking by morning light to get back to afternoon naps that do not spill over into early evening. He naps 3-4 hours a day so it's easy to get into that late pattern and going to bed at midnight or later. I can't proactively wake him though I feel awful doing that but if the shades are up in the morning then he wakes naturally it seems better.....if he is just too tired and sleeps despite the sun I don't wake him. His body obviously needs the sleep more than I need a 10 pm sleep time. But then it can still be helpful if he sleeps until 10am, as he may not wish to nap but go straight to bed at 9 pm or so then wake with the sun next morning.
Edited by Asiago - 12/12/12 at 3:13pm
post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post

Southcarolina, I think I have lot of hesitation about waking a sleeping child greensad.gif your suggestion is the only thing I haven't done consistently because my child gets SO miserable if he is woken up. And something just seems wrong to me to wake him up every time. But you may be very right. He sleeps to his natural rhythm and while that makes him very happy and rested it seems I can't keep to any schedule.
So now I am torn between keeping our happy smoothly flowing life but with no set timings OR start torturing me ( because this kid will be grumpy for hours if you wake him) to try to create a stricter routine .
Phew.

I hear you Amy, I know what you are going through and I was there totally and I also was so hesitant to wake up a child because it felt so horrible and so unatural and I was fearing

aobut the growth and all that, but looking back from the benefit of time and prespective I think it is very little price to pay if you do it for only like a week or so to maje a necessary

adjsutement and he will be on scheadule.. just earlier. We tired follow natural cycle and it  gets worse every time daylight savings, every growth spurt and teething and sickness

as you allow them to sleep more and more and wake up later so that eventually comes back and kicks your famliy life on the bottom.

 

Having a chance to go back in time I would go back and just wake up my child for some ten days or so untill he or she would get into a new habit and then all would go as intended.

After all kids do travel across contients, time zones, go through transiton to daycares and have to adjust eventually and it all go well from there after few good days..

 

If I might advise you something is to never wake up your child my husband style.. as standing next to a child, shaking on the side and repeating on and on 'wake up.. wakie wakie..

wake up..!"

 

that makes two people angry here.. my child and myself.

 

I wake up her gently talking to her for few minutes before she opens her eyes she can hear me.. and she won't respond but she is waking up..

first thing actually is to even before her wake up couple hours earlier to open curtins so the daylight gets in partially and helps with her natural waking up

as I used to keep pitch black so she woudl never feel a need to wake up...

 

so then after talking gently I start to asking some goofy questions as .. "so baby are you sure that kitty has seven tails?" or " oh gosh, do you remember

that doggie that was wearing that funny pants on tv?"..

 

and sooner or later she will just seat on her bed and open eyes and just smile and reply.. oh yeah he was so funny and he did hta trick..

 

ever since this we are up.

 

my husban version .. if we let him .. would be like .. shaking the arm for fiftin minutes repeateing as above ;wayke wayke.. wake up wake up

it is time to wake up.. wake up.. and the child would be mad, ungry and so would I ... counterproductive totally.

 

we also have tv in the bedroom that I occassionally used to set in the morning  to some kids channel in whispering sound

and it would get her attention very quickly.. and she would be up..

 

that was tremendous help in adjusting process and once your kid is up you have to make sure that you take him her upstairs

to the bedroom at the same time each day and do the same routine so body gets into auto mation... and repeating it

for two weeks really won't leave no prisoners and let everyone have a life again.

post #25 of 40
Thread Starter 
Ok, I am going to do the natural sunlight method right from tomorrow. That feels very right to me, if we were in caves, sunlight would be right in our face:)
We have a window by our bed, not sure if its east facing though.
post #26 of 40
Thread Starter 
Southcarolina your husband sounds just like my dad who was in army. He would shout at the top of his voice in a irritating cheerful tone " time to get up. Cmon i want to see you jump from bed" . I cant express in words the fury I would feel towards him those moments. Only as an adult I have become close enough to him to tell him thats torture. He laughs at it but I dont think he gets it that not everyone in the world at at his training camp !
post #27 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asiago View Post

When we get into that pattern, I try to leave the shades up so the strong morning sun gently wakes my three year old. Then he gets back to his long afternoon naps and 10 pm sleeptime. It takes about four days of waking by morning light to get back to afternoon naps that do not spill over into early evening. He naps 3-4 hours a day so it's easy to get into that late pattern and going to bed at midnight or later. I can't proactively wake him though I feel awful doing that but if the shades are up in the morning then he wakes naturally it seems better.....if he is just too tired and sleeps despite the sun I don't wake him. His body obviously needs the sleep more than I need a 10 pm sleep time. But then it can still be helpful if he sleeps until 10am, as he may not wish to nap but go straight to bed at 9 pm or so then wake with the sun next morning.
My son naps long too! None of his peers do that anymore. So, when does your son wake up and whats his nap time, for him to be sleepy by 10 pm?
post #28 of 40
He wakes roughly 8-8:30, naps roughly 1:30-4:30 then bed about 10 pm sometimes 11pm. Sometimes though we get into a later pattern and that is when I am more likely to leave the shades up.
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post

Ok, I am going to do the natural sunlight method right from tomorrow. That feels very right to me, if we were in caves, sunlight would be right in our face:)
We have a window by our bed, not sure if its east facing though.


That does remind me.  While I have blinds on my bedroom window, they are always open so I get the sun in the morning.  I can't wake up unless it's light outside.  It sucks in the winter but I love it in the summer.  I used to open his curtains/blinds to help Dylan get up in the morning.  His bedroom window has usually faced the street instead of the back yard so I didn't want the curtains open all night.   Now, I just turn on his light if he doesn't get up with his alarm clock.  He has also switched from taking a bath/shower at night to having one in the morning like his dad.

post #30 of 40
Thread Starter 

I am sad to report natural light having no effect on his sleep. He sleeps the most deep in mornings and nothing seems to get him up early enough. 

 

I may have found a home daycare which will have flexibility with times and later arrival. I am hoping maybe that will set us into a routine and help him feel tired earlier for earlier nap. Yesterday he napped from 2:30-7 pm. I woke him up several times and everytime he fell asleep. He just couldnt keep awake and I felt horrible jolting him awake every time. Needless to say he slept at 3 AM! Yeahhh. No crankiness or crying or tiredness. Just like that....as if 3 AM is no biggie!dizzy.gif

post #31 of 40
Thanks for the update!
post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post

I am sad to report natural light having no effect on his sleep. He sleeps the most deep in mornings and nothing seems to get him up early enough. 

 

I may have found a home daycare which will have flexibility with times and later arrival. I am hoping maybe that will set us into a routine and help him feel tired earlier for earlier nap. Yesterday he napped from 2:30-7 pm. I woke him up several times and everytime he fell asleep. He just couldnt keep awake and I felt horrible jolting him awake every time. Needless to say he slept at 3 AM! Yeahhh. No crankiness or crying or tiredness. Just like that....as if 3 AM is no biggie!dizzy.gif


Personally, I wouldn't be ok with my dk having a 5 hour nap and then going to bed at 3 am in the morning. I think it's ok to impose some limits in this situation.

 

If I went to bed at 3 am, no amount of natural light would wake me up in the morning!

 

When you wake him up from his nap there are gentle ways of doing it. I used to take my dk out of the bed and nurse them while talking to them and rubbing their feet. No need to jolt them awake.

If you don't nurse, carry him to the window and show him something outside. Take him for a walk.

 

Even if we, as mothers, feel guilty for what feels like imposing our wishes on our kids, I think sometimes you have to do what you have to do and is ultimately for their own good.

post #33 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post


Personally, I wouldn't be ok with my dk having a 5 hour nap and then going to bed at 3 am in the morning. I think it's ok to impose some limits in this situation.

If I went to bed at 3 am, no amount of natural light would wake me up in the morning!

When you wake him up from his nap there are gentle ways of doing it. I used to take my dk out of the bed and nurse them while talking to them and rubbing their feet. No need to jolt them awake.
If you don't nurse, carry him to the window and show him something outside. Take him for a walk.

Even if we, as mothers, feel guilty for what feels like imposing our wishes on our kids, I think sometimes you have to do what you have to do and is ultimately for their own good.
Oh I agree completely that 3 am is not acceptable. On this particular day he woke up 8 am instead of 9:30 am ( which I was excited about coz I put lot of effort to get him up earlier...and I mean lotttt) and so when he napped at 2:30 , I let him sleep till 4 pm ( late for others I know, but better than his natural body clock) and from 4-7 pm, every 15 min I would wake him ( gently...jolt was a wrong term to use), he would wake up, open his eyes, few times he sat on my lap, but he just kept falling asleep. I know it sounds easy to wake a child, but since my son has unusual sound sleep I am posting about this topic in the first place.
Today he woke up 11:30 am ( after 3 am last night) and we skipped napping and its 9 pm, and he is tired. If I put him to bed too early , say 8 pm, then his body takes it as a nap, and he wakes up refreshed at 2 am. Has happened many times.

Just wanted to say, I agree about placing limits! In every other area of parenting ( food, potty, manners etc) I am doing progressing/doing fine. I just struggle with his sleep and his body just wont adjust to whatever changes I am trying to indtroduce.
post #34 of 40
Your DS sounds exactly like mine except the total opposite lol (as in, my DS isn't a happy, easy kid & doesn't sleep well/deeply, but the bedtime issues are very similar!!)

When we dropped naps, which I think was around his 2nd birthday, it was like peeling a layer off the struggles -- bedtime got marginally easier, as in, I could usually count on him being asleep by midnight, instead of later!

Since then, we have had periods of time where we've been able to get him to a semi-decent bedtime (around 10pm). Usually it started when he was sick or something & we just kept trying to stick to it after he recovered. He's not sick often so it's a long wait for the next bout of illness if he gets thrown off-schedule lol.

Recently we did have some luck with waking him up earlier -- it never worked in the past but for some reason this time it did help. We only woke him up about 15mins before his preferred wake time, and then moved it back another 15mins or so when he had adjusted. Then for a few weeks I consistently woke him up at that same time every day, and now he generally wakes up at that time on his own. Bedtime is still somewhat variable but has been in the 9:30-10:30 range. Anything before midnight is good for me lol!!

Other things that have helped: (and again, I've not had much long-term success but some, I guess!)

-Going to bed with him. This is incredibly hard for me because I'm a night owl, but I lay in bed reading with just a nightlight until he falls asleep. If I'm not in bed, he has a much harder time settling down, it's like he thinks he is going to miss something if he goes to sleep before me, so I did this until his body clock seemed to have reset. Now that he's falling asleep a bit earlier again, I have DH taking over bedtime & I'm staying awake in another room but quiet. We've had an adjustment period where it's taking him an extra 1/2 hour or hour to fall asleep but I sense that he'll slowly get back to our desired bedtime.

-Planning things in the morning, even though it's a struggle to make it in time. We have outings/playdates frequently. I don't do anything super early but if we have a commitment at 10am, it motivates me to get him up early, and seems to make it easier on him too since he likes seeing friends. smile.gif If we waited 'til he was sleeping decent hours, we'd never have a playdate... going ahead & making those plans helps us both stay on track, since I'm a bit routine-resistant too.

I've never tried melatonin for various reasons but maybe that's something that would help you reset his body clock. I notice DS seems to have a 25-hour body clock or something. So after a few days he is off by an hour or two, and I feel like I'm constantly trying to get him back on track. The more I stay on top of it, the easier it is, but even one or two days off-schedule and he is off for months on end.
post #35 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post


Oh I agree completely that 3 am is not acceptable. On this particular day he woke up 8 am instead of 9:30 am ( which I was excited about coz I put lot of effort to get him up earlier...and I mean lotttt) and so when he napped at 2:30 , I let him sleep till 4 pm ( late for others I know, but better than his natural body clock) and from 4-7 pm, every 15 min I would wake him ( gently...jolt was a wrong term to use), he would wake up, open his eyes, few times he sat on my lap, but he just kept falling asleep. I know it sounds easy to wake a child, but since my son has unusual sound sleep I am posting about this topic in the first place.
Today he woke up 11:30 am ( after 3 am last night) and we skipped napping and its 9 pm, and he is tired. If I put him to bed too early , say 8 pm, then his body takes it as a nap, and he wakes up refreshed at 2 am. Has happened many times.
Just wanted to say, I agree about placing limits! In every other area of parenting ( food, potty, manners etc) I am doing progressing/doing fine. I just struggle with his sleep and his body just wont adjust to whatever changes I am trying to indtroduce.


You could think of a schedule that would work both for you and your son, and stick to it. If you think he's getting close to dropping his nap, don't put him down for a nap any more. As I said before, you can take him out for a walk, ask him to help you with setting the table for supper, keep him engaged.

 

If you believe he still needs his nap, set a limit of two hours then wake him up. Again, you could take him outside, or at lest, out of the bedroom, so he's not tempted to fall asleep again. If you stick to it, he will adjust. Imagine you had to work and he had to be in daycare at 8 am, do you think his sleep pattern would have been the same?

 

GL to you, I know it's crazy when they drop their nap. My son was the same since he was a newborn, waking up early in the morning, taking long naps, nursing through the night. Keeping a routine saved my sanity.

post #36 of 40
Thread Starter 
CrunchyMommy Thanks. Your DS sound and you sound similar to me! I am a night owl too! And Oh I have to lie down with him every night for 1-2 hours in the dark pretending to be asleep. If I dont lie down he would never agree to go to bed. BTDT.

I will keep working at this challenge.

transylvania-mom I worked the first year of his life and quit. My best friend works and her son and mine are 25 days apart. She complains about sickness, ear infections, misbehavior etc which I dont face but I agree if I had to work DS had to be treated more sternly. Part of the reason my child thrives at hime is because it allows his natural rhythm. If you are a routine person ( my sister and my best friend are ) you wont realize how routines simple dont come to people whose natural tendency is to be irregular. My point is I guess I want to find a way to do this without making our lives miserable. I have tried the no nap and it doesnt work. He needs naps, not everyday, but still needs them. And duration of naps has no effect. Two hours is what I do most days and it has zero effect on getting him to bed earlier.

I have kept a log of his sleep timings and this is what has come up:
Time between wake up and nap : 6.5-7 hrs
Time between nap and bedtime : 8.5-9 hrs. ( This is just tooooo long a gap)
On days he skips naps : 11.5-12 hrs.
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post

CrunchyMommy Thanks. Your DS sound and you sound similar to me! I am a night owl too! And Oh I have to lie down with him every night for 1-2 hours in the dark pretending to be asleep. If I dont lie down he would never agree to go to bed. BTDT.
I will keep working at this challenge.
transylvania-mom I worked the first year of his life and quit. My best friend works and her son and mine are 25 days apart. She complains about sickness, ear infections, misbehavior etc which I dont face but I agree if I had to work DS had to be treated more sternly. Part of the reason my child thrives at hime is because it allows his natural rhythm. If you are a routine person ( my sister and my best friend are ) you wont realize how routines simple dont come to people whose natural tendency is to be irregular. My point is I guess I want to find a way to do this without making our lives miserable. I have tried the no nap and it doesnt work. He needs naps, not everyday, but still needs them. And duration of naps has no effect. Two hours is what I do most days and it has zero effect on getting him to bed earlier.
I have kept a log of his sleep timings and this is what has come up:
Time between wake up and nap : 6.5-7 hrs
Time between nap and bedtime : 8.5-9 hrs. ( This is just tooooo long a gap)
On days he skips naps : 11.5-12 hrs.


I don't mean to imply that it's better to work than stay at home; I also SAH with my kids until they were preschoolers, so we could be more relaxed about schedules, naps, activities etc.

But I don't believe in a natural rhythm as you define it. A kid would not be naturally inclined to be up in the middle of the night if it weren't for artificial light, someone to keep him company etc. We aren't meant to be up at night and sleep during the day, it has nothing to do with being a routine person or not. I also love to (and used to) stay up past midnight and sleep in the next day, but I wouldn't be very productive so I choose not to.

 

Anyways, it's your choice. I sincerely hope his sleep pattern will improve.

post #38 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by transylvania_mom View Post


I don't mean to imply that it's better to work than stay at home; I also SAH with my kids until they were preschoolers, so we could be more relaxed about schedules, naps, activities etc.
But I don't believe in a natural rhythm as you define it. A kid would not be naturally inclined to be up in the middle of the night if it weren't for artificial light, someone to keep him company etc. We aren't meant to be up at night and sleep during the day, it has nothing to do with being a routine person or not. I also love to (and used to) stay up past midnight and sleep in the next day, but I wouldn't be very productive so I choose not to.

Anyways, it's your choice. I sincerely hope his sleep pattern will improve.
Thank you for your advice. I agree that choosing not to certain habits are a good thing. I use an alarm and get up same time everyday no matter when I slept or when DS wakes. I appreciate what you have to say, after all this is why I posted here, because mamas here are very good at advice smile.gif
post #39 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post

I have tried the no nap and it doesnt work. He needs naps, not everyday, but still needs them. And duration of naps has no effect. Two hours is what I do most days and it has zero effect on getting him to bed earlier.
I have kept a log of his sleep timings and this is what has come up:
Time between wake up and nap : 6.5-7 hrs
Time between nap and bedtime : 8.5-9 hrs. ( This is just tooooo long a gap)
On days he skips naps : 11.5-12 hrs.

So the numbers you posted here lead me to think he may actually not need the nap. I'm no expert, but from what I understand, the nap is necessary when it's more of an addition to nighttime sleep, not a complement to it or worse, reducing it. So on the days he skips naps, he is sleeping 12-12.5 hours total? And on the days he doesn't nap, he is sleeping 8-10 hours total? If I'm calculating correctly, that really makes me think the nap is interfering with him getting enough rest.

When you first give up naps, they have to adapt all over again. You do have a few days, weeks, maybe even a month or two where they are crankier, sleeping more erratically, etc. But once they adjust, they settle into a more normal sleep pattern and any crankiness goes away. So I don't know that you can tell if he needs naps or not if you've only tried skipping them for a couple of days. That doesn't give his body time to catch up to the new schedule of sleeping only at night.

I know you said you have variable sleep habits, and so do I... but I don't think kids are quite so variable. They might need an hour less here & there but from what I've seen, given the opportunity, they will generally sleep similar numbers of hours each night. What makes it erratic/highly variable is usually external factors -- artificial light, like the pp mentioned, or lots of excitement, too much noise, too little exercise, too little time outdoors, staying out too late at a friend's house, too much time in the car, etc. I'm not saying you are to blame for your DS's sleep patterns (that would mean I'm to blame for my DS's!!! lol) What I am saying is that there are a lot more factors that you do have control over, and some kids really need the extra control around these factors. They can't adjust rapidly to all the little changes so they need us to keep things incredibly consistent. This is why a 2-night overnight trip threw my DS off for 3 months.... that's how long it takes him to adjust to variances. The other day we went to a holiday party and left early so DS could be in bed in time. Not something I would have done in the past, but I'm trying it because we cannot deal with the bedtime/scheduling problems anymore! And it worked. He was still asleep a bit later than I've been aiming for (partly due to the excitement of the party & partly due to other factors) but it wasn't anywhere close to midnight, much earlier this time. smile.gif I feel like it's really... unfair, I guess... that I have to put so much effort into getting him to sleep well and that we can't even take a break from it for one night, that we can't have even a little bit of flexibility. Some kids just have much more intense needs than others and my DS has always been one of those kids, in all areas. So I'm just doing my best to control the things I can to help him as much as I can.

I know your DS, unlike mine, is a really easy kid. So maybe you can let this continue to be "easy" and just let him sleep whenever he wants. That really is a totally valid option. But when you get to the point that you can't take it anymore, for whatever reason, it may be even more of a struggle for you than it is for me to set up something consistent, since you haven't had major struggles in parenting him thus far. It will be much more emotionally difficult, I'm sure. I've spent almost 4 years now struggling with DS every day in every way because he is such a challenging kid. The plus side of that is I've tried millions of things, and I am way more open to trying new things than I ever expected I would be, and I have less emotional struggle with implementing things like strict bedtimes. The downside is I am exhausted & drained from it all! So maybe all I want to say is that you won't destroy his natural rhythms and tendencies by doing something like waking him up at 8am every day or encouraging him to skip nap as often as possible. Instead, you'll be gently guiding his natural rhythms to coincide better with the rest of society -- the society you want him to participate in.

And now I feel like I've babbled on excessively about the one thing I'm totally a failure at lol. So feel free to ignore my advice, I can't decide if I'm the best person to give sleep advice or the absolute worst! wink1.gif
post #40 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

So the numbers you posted here lead me to think he may actually not need the nap. I'm no expert, but from what I understand, the nap is necessary when it's more of an addition to nighttime sleep, not a complement to it or worse, reducing it. So on the days he skips naps, he is sleeping 12-12.5 hours total? And on the days he doesn't nap, he is sleeping 8-10 hours total? If I'm calculating correctly, that really makes me think the nap is interfering with him getting enough rest.
When you first give up naps, they have to adapt all over again. You do have a few days, weeks, maybe even a month or two where they are crankier, sleeping more erratically, etc. But once they adjust, they settle into a more normal sleep pattern and any crankiness goes away. So I don't know that you can tell if he needs naps or not if you've only tried skipping them for a couple of days. That doesn't give his body time to catch up to the new schedule of sleeping only at night.
I know you said you have variable sleep habits, and so do I... but I don't think kids are quite so variable. They might need an hour less here & there but from what I've seen, given the opportunity, they will generally sleep similar numbers of hours each night. What makes it erratic/highly variable is usually external factors -- artificial light, like the pp mentioned, or lots of excitement, too much noise, too little exercise, too little time outdoors, staying out too late at a friend's house, too much time in the car, etc. I'm not saying you are to blame for your DS's sleep patterns (that would mean I'm to blame for my DS's!!! lol) What I am saying is that there are a lot more factors that you do have control over, and some kids really need the extra control around these factors. They can't adjust rapidly to all the little changes so they need us to keep things incredibly consistent. This is why a 2-night overnight trip threw my DS off for 3 months.... that's how long it takes him to adjust to variances. The other day we went to a holiday party and left early so DS could be in bed in time. Not something I would have done in the past, but I'm trying it because we cannot deal with the bedtime/scheduling problems anymore! And it worked. He was still asleep a bit later than I've been aiming for (partly due to the excitement of the party & partly due to other factors) but it wasn't anywhere close to midnight, much earlier this time. smile.gif I feel like it's really... unfair, I guess... that I have to put so much effort into getting him to sleep well and that we can't even take a break from it for one night, that we can't have even a little bit of flexibility. Some kids just have much more intense needs than others and my DS has always been one of those kids, in all areas. So I'm just doing my best to control the things I can to help him as much as I can.
I know your DS, unlike mine, is a really easy kid. So maybe you can let this continue to be "easy" and just let him sleep whenever he wants. That really is a totally valid option. But when you get to the point that you can't take it anymore, for whatever reason, it may be even more of a struggle for you than it is for me to set up something consistent, since you haven't had major struggles in parenting him thus far. It will be much more emotionally difficult, I'm sure. I've spent almost 4 years now struggling with DS every day in every way because he is such a challenging kid. The plus side of that is I've tried millions of things, and I am way more open to trying new things than I ever expected I would be, and I have less emotional struggle with implementing things like strict bedtimes. The downside is I am exhausted & drained from it all! So maybe all I want to say is that you won't destroy his natural rhythms and tendencies by doing something like waking him up at 8am every day or encouraging him to skip nap as often as possible. Instead, you'll be gently guiding his natural rhythms to coincide better with the rest of society -- the society you want him to participate in.
And now I feel like I've babbled on excessively about the one thing I'm totally a failure at lol. So feel free to ignore my advice, I can't decide if I'm the best person to give sleep advice or the absolute worst! wink1.gif
You are definitely the best mama to give advice since you have walked in my shoes. I know that when I try to advice my friend about her kid and making him eat ( she constantly complains about kid not eating or eating less or eating junk) she just listens to me not to offend me. Food is huge for me, and I habe worled very hard to develop healthy food habits for DS and he is also not a serious picky eater. So she thinks I dont get her struggle ( and I am sure I dont!).
Since DS has been about 15- 18 months I have gone through huge struggles with sleep. ( I was too preoccupied struggling with breastfeeding before that) lol). Everytime it resulted in weeks and months of parenting struggles. When we do these sleep experiments ( to put it nicely) my DS is NOT a easy child. Even otherwise I would describe him as a intensely persistent, mature beyond his age yet verbally not there, kid. He is currently in a phase where he is happy. That will change again as I know these cycles change every few months. Anyways, now I am babbling. Lol.
What you say and what everyone else has said is all true. If I wasnt convinced that sleep needs to be more regular, I wouldnt be posting here. The title of my post says I need help with implementation. I own a copy of Sleepless in America ( you should also read it CrunchyMommy) and I think its excellent.
I found a wonderful in home daycare. I am soooo excited. And that has given me all encouragment I need to try to tackle his sleep problem all over again. I must say though that we have made progress in these years. He can now lie in bed and not run away....which I fought for months and months. He doesnt fight bedtime which is huge! And I forget sometimes that he has moved three times in his 30 month life. So he has slept in three different dwellings and had to adjust to different environment factors. So, I guess at this point, after having a " natural rhythm " period ( and we moved 3 month back) I am re-reading the book and using the advice here. It will take time but when I first posted the thread, I was too scared to face it. Now, I am ok smile.gif
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