3 y/o up past midnight every night - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > 3 y/o up past midnight every night
minkajane's Avatar minkajane 03:56 AM 04-20-2008
3-year-old DS has been fighting sleep like crazy lately. He sleeps in till 10 or later most days, naps from 3-6 or so, then lays in bed awake from 10-12. DF and I have tried skipping the naps so he'll go to bed earlier, but he still lays awake and is super-cranky all day. Same with getting him up earlier.

Part of the reason I think is that I've been sleeping later. Normally, I would get up at 9:30 or so and DS would hear me and get up. I've started working late evenings and sleeping till 10:30 or 11. DF has always been a night owl and would sleep till 2 if I let him. In the past, DS would knock at my door when he woke and I'd get up. Now I think he just goes back to sleep till he hears me get up.

How can I get DS on a more normal sleep schedule without making him insanely cranky for a week?

the_queen's Avatar the_queen 04:06 AM 04-20-2008
I'm not sure you can - the thing I was going to suggest will probably make him cranky for a few days.

I would decide what time you want him to get up, and what time you want him to go to bed. Then I'd get him up at that time the next day, I'd have a full day planned with tiring activities and excursions and outings, I'd have a quiet time in the middle of the day (like, lunch at noon and after lunch, then have a rock with mummy in the rocking chair while listening to a story) and if he goes to sleep then, I'd let him sleep for an hour or so. And then he'd go to bed at the time you want him to, but he'll probably need you to lay with him, or put a DVD on for him to watch (I know a lot of people dislike kids watching TV, etc, but I think in a situation like this it does help them stay still, which then means their body is allowed to rest - watching something massively stimulating is obviously a bad idea, it needs to be something quiet, with nice calming music) or just lay in bed with him, reading him a thousand books until he falls asleep.

Good luck - I know what you're going through, and I know the feeling of "oh but he's asleep, I know he should be awake at this time but he's asleep, I should let him sleep, he must need the sleep if he's still asleep now" etc. He has a decent sleep pattern but it's a little out of whack, that's all. Getting him up earlier, consistently, and having a really tiring day, will help his body clock to adjust a little.
LovinDaMamma's Avatar LovinDaMamma 07:09 PM 04-20-2008
Coming from the same place as you, I have found that the more over tired my dd is, the harder it is for her to get a nap, and get to bed on time. Also, the more active we are in the day, the better she does with sleeping. She requires ALOT of activity, so I leave the house around 10 every day, or at least try to.

Good luck, I am sure you will find a schedule that works best for the both of you.
Calidris's Avatar Calidris 07:23 PM 04-20-2008
Can you shorten the nap? Wake him up early from it?
He may be in a bad mood for a couple days, but it might help.
Or make it earlier.

Spend a few days doing really physical stuff in the evening, running races or something. Make sure he has dinner early.

My DD is up til midnight or later if she naps at all in the afternoon
Collinsky's Avatar Collinsky 08:03 PM 04-20-2008
Originally Posted by minkajane View Post

How can I get DS on a more normal sleep schedule without making him insanely cranky for a week?
Well, for us the normal sleep schedule IS that the kids go to bed at midnight and sleep until 10. So "normal" is relative to what works for your family.I'm not necessarily much help, but sometimes solutions come more easily when we back up from the voice in our head saying, "Good moms have their children in bed before nine PM" "It's unhealthy to be awake until midnight!" and other accepted norms. Letting go of that idea can open you up to what needs to happen.
ShwarmaQueen's Avatar ShwarmaQueen 08:58 PM 04-20-2008
Originally Posted by Collinsky View Post
So "normal" is relative to what works for your family.I'm not necessarily much help, but sometimes solutions come more easily when we back up from the voice in our head saying, "Good moms have their children in bed before nine PM" "It's unhealthy to be awake until midnight!" and other accepted norms.
Well said! Kids are so adaptable, if there's a need for them to wake up and go to sleep early than go to that time schedule, but if it's working for your family for the later wake up time and later bed time, than keep it. For us, both being students and full time employees, we keep DD (also 3 yo) up until 10-11pm on weeknights, she wakes up at 6:30 or 7am, and has a 2 hr. nap at preschool! Weekends, we let her stay up with us til she falls asleep! It works great for us, we get to spend more time together. When people gasp at hearing she stays up til 10-11pm AND sleeps with us, I just say people should do what works best for them and not try to "conform" to any standard...ever.:
BathrobeGoddess's Avatar BathrobeGoddess 11:53 AM 04-23-2008
moved to childhood years
twilight girl's Avatar twilight girl 12:04 PM 04-23-2008
DD was like this for a long time as a babe/toddler. Really the only thing that changed everything was preschool. Once she started school and had to be up at 6:30 a.m., she started going to bed between 7 and 7:30 p.m.
g&a's Avatar g&a 12:53 PM 04-23-2008
After DD2 was born we were sleeping in as much as we could - you know how it is with a newborn, you take what you can get. DD1 (the 3 1/2) started sleeping in to 10:30 or 11:00 and going to bed after 10. After a while baby and I started getting up earlier and were waiting around for DD1 to get up to do stuff.

We started shifting her bedtime 1/2 hour earler each week until it was when we wanted it. We found that the time she got up naturally shifted with her bedtime. Now we're all in sync again. It really helps to have a bedtime routine to prepare them to go to bed. Don't just expect to be able to say "Bedtime" and have the kid go to sleep.

angela&avery's Avatar angela&avery 01:11 PM 04-23-2008
I think if you WANT to change the routine, you will have to just take the bull by the horns and weather the storm.

Its like going on vacation, it is what it is, things are crazy and routines get changed you know?? Plan a crazy busy weekend and just get up and go and if he snoozes in the car on the way home, he snoozes, but get him up for dinner and a bath and back down at a reasonable hour to bed and another busy day all day with fun things to do and by that night to bed, I bet a reasonable hour it will be and get him right up the next morning......

and so on, and just weather the tiredness for a few days......

that is, if you really want to do it.....LOL

OR you could just try waking him 15 minutes earlier every day and putting to bed 15 minutes earlier every day until it gets panned out... and Id shorten the nap too.

I always believed the more they sleep the more they sleep, but it seems that after 3 or so the naps can intervene with that theory and make some late nights, you know?
Lingmom's Avatar Lingmom 01:59 PM 04-23-2008
I totally agree with the previous posters... In our house, a midnight bedtime couldn't work because my kids need to be out the door by 8am, and they need about 11 hours of sleep (usually 8pm-7am). But if that's not the case for you, either because your son doesn't need that much sleep, or because you don't need to go anywhere in the morning, I wouldn't bother changing anything.

But... if his midnight bedtime is interfering with your work or your private time with your partner or something else, you shouldn't hesitate to change it. Like the others have said, a few days is all it'll take. Just wake him up at 8 or 9am, let him take a short nap around 2, wake him up at three and have lots of stuff to do until 8pm, then a nice bath... some warm milk with honey (or whatever)... a little story... and good night!
Delma's Avatar Delma 04:30 PM 04-23-2008
We have no set routine, midnight not uncommon, but no rush in the morning. We go to the opera and classical concerts and take our son with us. He's nearly four now. Over the last year we have successfully instituted a bedtime, even if we don't keep to it strictly. We recently set the alarm to go off at 8 in the evening, and our son knows it's time to get ready for bed. On occasion we even get into bed at that time. He is just learning to sleep on his own as well, so there is a lot of change, and he seems to be adapting nicely.
I'm not worried because he sleeps ten or eleven hours straight.
Best of luck,
One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl 06:01 PM 04-23-2008
If you want to change the sleep schedule it may take time and he will probably be cranky for a couple weeks. You might try waking up earlier for a few weeks and moving the nap back to right after lunch and napping with him. You could also shorten the amount of time you let him sleep for the nap or just take him out of the house and have him engaged in other things so he doesn't nap. You should also prepare yourself for the grumpiness and schedule in some time for yourself during this transition time if at all possible but don't get discouraged if it takes a while. It may also help to put up some blankets over the windows in the bedroom he sleeps in if the light is what is keeping him up.