TV-free with a super early riser? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-22-2009, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, I need some help here. I'd love to be TV-free (or at least cut back to VERY minimal TV watching), but our 5 y/o ds is a ridiculously early riser. It doesn't matter what time he goes to sleep, he will be wide awake at 4:30, 5:00 a.m. We've exhausted I think every option anyone throws at us for adjusting his sleep habits, but it never changes. I struggle with insomnia (I've been to two different doctors and nothing, including medications, seems to work). I toss and turn most of the night, and only seem to fall into a deep sleep around 3:30, 4:00. So if I get up with him when he wakes up, I'm running on only an hour or so of genuine sleep. It just doesn't work.

My fallback has been letting ds get up and watch TV while I sleep for another half hour to an hour. I'm in pure survival mode here. I get up but am still exhausted, so I end up letting him watch more tv while I make breakfast and try to wake up. By the time 7 a.m. rolls around, we're already at at least two hours of TV.

I've unplugged the TV in the morning, but it ends up with ds making the house look like a disaster by dragging everything possible out -- pots, pans, toilet paper rolls, toys, you name it.

I'm in desperate need of suggestions here! Anyone have any brilliant ideas of how to contain the mess while I rest? We're still working on the sleep issues for us both, but right now, it seems more likely we can solve the tv/messy house issue rather than the sleeping. I desperately need that extra bit of time to rest or I'll barely be able to get off the couch all day.

Married to my best friend SAHM to ds1(1/04) and ds2 (5/10)
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#2 of 6 Old 08-31-2009, 02:49 PM
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It sounds like TV is something easy and convenient for him to do. If you want him to do something else, can you set up a fun activity for him the night before? Discuss it ahead of time and let him know that while he can play with x or y, he can not get out a or b? Childproof more?

I know not everyone agrees with my philosophy on this, but I think for the most part if kids are old enough to pull something out they are old enough to put it away. That's what I make my 2yo do, anyhow.

It will be an adjustment for him, and he is not likely to be thrilled with it. But if you get rid of the TV or otherwise disable it, he will get used to it.

Good luck, that is super early and I'm sure I would be exhausted.
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#3 of 6 Old 09-06-2009, 01:30 AM
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Use your insomnia to help with the morning. Set up some elaborate things for him to do (marble runs, huge lincoln logs or tinker toys extravaganzas). Different every day. You might go to the trouble of specific bins to rotate. We got our girls a doll house that has rooms that you can move around, so you build a new house all the time.

What helps with my lifelong insomnia is a mega calcium magnesium citrate with D3 supplement, and homeopathic sepia. Another homeopathic remedy might fit your symptoms though- check out for a decent remedy finder. I need to get off the puter and go take both now. . . .
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#4 of 6 Old 09-06-2009, 01:54 AM
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Books on tape (and a really easy to use, portable tape player). And legos to play with while he listens. Kept my 5yo going for hours.

But it seems to me that 5 is old enough to be expected not to make a mess of the house like that. Are there consequences for him doing this?
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#5 of 6 Old 09-14-2009, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the suggestions! I'm late coming back to this -- weird internet issues.

The times he's dragged everything out, he was expected to put it all back as soon as I woke up. He did it, no big deal, but still not what I like to wake up to. As far as consequences...well, we've only tried unplugging the TV in the morning maybe two or three times, so beyond picking everything back up, we didn't do much more than that. If it became a more frequent thing, we'd have to brainstorm from there. I need to get more creative with what to put out for him to play with, I think.

I'll check out the insomnia suggestions too. Thank you!

Married to my best friend SAHM to ds1(1/04) and ds2 (5/10)
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#6 of 6 Old 09-14-2009, 06:00 PM
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Is anything he's pulling out unsafe? Or wasteful (i.e. does he pour food on the floor, etc)? If not, I'd just let him make a mess with the expectation that he cleans it up by himself as soon as you wake up/after breakfast/whatever time in the early AM works for you. I'd set up some fun activities to hopefully keep him entertained instead, but expect some mess. Maybe even put some things up high so he can't pull them down. Don't clean it up yourself, though - it has to be his responsibility.

Granted, I have a high tolerance for mess and a high need for sleep. I'd look at the mess as a way to buy sleep, and having him clean it up alone as a way to teach picking up after oneself Maybe he'll get sick of cleaning it every morning and eventually make less of a mess.
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