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MiddleRiverMama 04-01-2013 05:24 AM

I'm just curious if others try to wake up their toddlers if their nap is going too late, or they are sleeping too late in the morning? We have been trying for months to get our toddler on a better schedule (ideally 8 pm to 7 am, nap noon to 2) but if left to his own devices he always seems to gravitate toward a later schedule. Lately he has been going to sleep after 10 pm and sleeping until after 8 am and wanting to sleep well after 3 or even 4 for his nap. I hate this schedule... My DH has to wake up at 5 am so I end up staying up alone with my DS until he falls asleep, but I can't seem to get him earlier. Just this morning I tried to wake him up and he cried "I need more sleepy in me," and fell right back asleep.... He has been sick too which makes me think I should just let him sleep but the schedule is getting later and later....

Quinalla 04-01-2013 06:36 AM

When sick, I try to let DD sleep as much as I can. Otherwise though, yes I do wake her up if her nap is going to long or if she is sleeping in too long in the morning. For naps, if I don't wake her up, she'll be up way to late at night and then a grouch the next day. For mornings, on the weekends I won't usually wake her, but on weekdays I don't have a choice as DH & I need to go to work and she needs to get up and go to daycare.

As for adjusting his schedule, I'd try to do it slowly, 15 minutes at a time maybe and take a week to do each adjustment. See how he does that way and slow it down more if you need to. I would hate that schedule too, that's way too late for my toddler to be up, I need my night time wind down time! And I would start waking him up from his nap early too, if we let DD sleep much more than 2 hours for her nap she stays up way too late! But again, wait until he's not sick IMO to make changes.

avismama24 04-01-2013 07:45 AM

Hi River Middle Mama,


no I absolutely would not wake up my toddler, unless we absolutely had to be some place at a certain time. We are a radically unschooling family....meaning that we allow our children to follow their own body rhythms, including sleep. It seems that your son has defined a very clear schedule that works for him. He is naturally getting sleepy around 9:00 pm and naturally waking around 8 am (which is an adequate amount of night time sleep for this age) I would not fight against this, but embrace it. You say that you "hate" the schedule he is naturally choosing. May I ask why this is? Can you and your husband embrace the night time play time before husband has to get to bed from say 5pm-8pm (family dinner, play time, walk together, etc.? then when DH goes to bed you can start the bath, wind down routine and have your LO in bed by 9:30 or so and then still have a little quiet time for yourself. IMO, it is very important that we honor our children's unique schedules, and he is clearly telling you that he needs to be able to sleep later in the morning.

mumkimum 04-01-2013 08:06 AM

Well, dd2 has no choices in this since we have dd1 to pick up or take places (but dd2 is an early riser anyway).  


But dd1 had always tended to being a night owl.  She would - as a toddler - easily end up awake until 9:30-10:30, and sleep to 9-10, and then sometimes throw down these intense naps like from 4-6pm.  IF I were to just let her do what she was doing naturally, she'd be perfectly happy and pretty easy-going, and end up much crankier if I was trying to impose a very different schedule, so there were some virtues to letting her follow her own way.  


What I found reasonable for us both, was I'd allow a day or two where I'd just let her go and spend her sleeping time doing something fun for myself and having coffee late.  And then I'd spend a few days trying to get her focused and prepared to sleep at slightly earlier times (and/or skip the nap, which always helped a lot when it seemed to be getting worse).  This would end up being a lot more work on my part, as I wouldn't get many daily breaks.  But helped when I couldn't handle another really late bedtime.  A minor adjustment to your preferred schedule (like 9 or 8:30 instead of 8) might be a good balance to work at for a while.  I also used stories on CD or let dd1 write in a notebook (while I made various lists for myself, like I'd do anyway in the evening).    

MiddleRiverMama 04-01-2013 10:10 AM

I love all the different perspectives here! The reasons the late schedule doesn't work for us are various... I sometimes need to work at night, I love spending a few minutes of alone time with hubby, we end up waking hubby up when we come to bed late (we cosleep) so hubby sleeps in another room on those ever more frequent nights. Also, part of me is not convinced this is DS's "natural" biological schedule, what is best for him, so much as a kid resisting bed time because the world is so darn fun. But on the other hand it is SO hard to wake a sleeping little one --- feels wrong somehow, so I definitely see where you are coming from avismama24!

Escaping 04-01-2013 10:25 AM

I usually don't wake him up unless I have to get out of bed... otherwise I just surf the web until he wakes up. If he's in his crib and didn't make it into our bed at night, I just start my day and let him sleep. I'm on mat leave right now though, I imagine that will have to change once I start working and have to get him ready for daycare :(

Asiago 04-01-2013 12:23 PM

I have found that waking to the daylight helps. It's really my only tool since I don't feel right waking my child from sleep .We co-sleep and go to bed together as a family. I leave the shades up. When napping I raise the shades if he is napping past 5 pm or so.
I don't do it though if he is sick.

avismama24 04-01-2013 01:48 PM

What I think i am hearing is that there is not really anything wrong with your child's schedule, but it doesn't seem to be working for your family. It is always a balancing act between meeting the needs on one child and meeting the needs of a family as a whole. I would try very small adjustments to see if you can create a schedule that is more conducive to your lifestyle, without totally disregarding your LO's own unique sleep schedule. Personally we have always followed my son's schedule and kind of worked our own around that, but Dh and i consistently get a few hours together in the evening after ds is sleeping (he goes to bed about 8 pm and DH and I usually stay up until 10 together, i stay up later, but my DH also has to get up at 10pm is as late as he likes to stay up. I think with baby steps, like 15 minute increments over a two/three week period you could probably move your lo's bedtime from 10 to say 8/8:30 and then maybe get a little time with your partner in the pm. Good luck!

element2012 04-02-2013 08:31 AM

I think this is one of those cases where you'll know if you should or not. Case in point, last night I knew I should wake my daughter from a nap that was going entirely too long, but against my better judgement I let her sleep. She stayed up well past the time I was ready to sleep, not to mention how out of whack our nightweaning schedule got. I won't make that mistake again!

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