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Does anyone have or have had a preschool aged child who is a night owl? My 3.5 year old has not napped since she was 18 mos and loves to stay up late. I have the same sleep needs, so I cannot blame her, but I am getting to the point of running out of ideas, other than tv, that I can do with her at 9 or 10pm. She can run on high until bedtime, whereas I slowly run down until I am tired and need sleep. By 9 or 10pm, we are usually watching tv together, usually movies or she watches alone in the room while I surf on the computer (right near by). I feel like she is watching too much tv but if I turn it off, she is all over me, wanting to jump and hug and play actively.

Any ideas would be helpful? What can we do that is quiet other than tv?
 

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Hi Boongirl, just wanted to say that in my experience this is very typical of the 2s and 3s. My 2nd dd turned 3 in May and she is a bag of energy at night and doesn't nap during the day anymore. My older dd was exactly the same at this age but now age 5 falls asleep in five minutes if given the opportunity (she shares a room with her younger sis).

They do listen to books on CD at night sometimes but often I'll go in to turn the CD player off and my eldest is fast asleep while the 3 year old says cheerfully "Hello mommy!".

I don't have a lot of energy for late night activities myself as I have a 4 week old baby boy. I remember when she was 2 we kept DD#2 up with us while her big sis went to bed. Now she is able to understand it's bedtime and she will go in her room with her sister at the same time (sometimes coming out a few times to give the baby or me "one more hug and a kiss!").

We find it helps to have lots of things at bedtime which give their little bodyclocks a hint. We always turn all the lights down in the house, close all curtains and blinds, only have essential lights on and create a quiet and sleepy atmosphere. We have the same routine for the girls: bath, into jammies, brush teeth, get sippy cups of water to take to bed, stories, lights out. My dd#2 will try and think of reasons to come out and stay up and I try and circumvent them! i.e. she'll say she's hungry and needs a snack. So I now say that before they get in the bath if they are hungry and need a snack now is the time because there won't be any snacks later.

It was very different when we just had one child because we didn't have two bedrooms (both girls co-slept with us for at least 2.5 yrs) and I am amazed how role-modeling and peer pressure can be useful with younger sibs! She gets the idea that this is the time we all go to sleep, so it might take a little while but she will go into her room and go to sleep. We try and making evening time grown-up time that looks frankly, boring. We don't watch any TV until they're asleep, but TIVO it instead.

Quiet activites, should not be too exciting that she wants to stay up! But reading books to her, or having her listen to books on tape/CD is a good one. letting her have a long warm bath and play can get the squirmies out, listening to classical music that is soothing or other calm, "sleep inducing" music in the background might help. If you can, try and cut back on the TV after dinner as it has a tendency to stimulate the little darlings! But mommy survival comes first so whatever works - we've all been there!

Dutch
 

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My son is 3.5 and has always stayed up past 10, often past midnight. The other night, he and I watched tv from 12-2:30am together in bed (on dvd, so it wasn't trash).
We usually eat dinner at 8-9pm. We like to go for walks or bike rides after dinner, but the mosquitoes are too bad right now. We read books, play with blocks, mega bloks, his dollhouse, etc... the same stuff we do inside at any other time of day. We also watch a lot of movies together in bed. He falls asleep in the middle of a movie probably 3 nights a week. We had a no tv rule until he was about 2.5, but I love watching things together now. We just have to distract/nurse the baby if he's awake.

One night we went to the park at sunset (around 9?) with a bunch of his friends and they all played on the playground with flashlights. It was awesome- he still talks about it, and that was last fall! If they didn't all go to bed early these days (most are in daycare/school) we'd be doing that regularly!

Also, we take him to potlucks and such at night. I would hate to be one of those moms who is stuck in the house after 7.
 

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My 4yr old DD is a night owl!! Always has been. That girl will stay up until 10-11, then sleep until 10-11 if left up to her. I'm not cool with her being "up" until 10. I NEED down time. I need ME time. So, she's in bed at a normal bed time (between 8-8:30ish). She reads books to herself, plays in her bed... etc. Even that makes me nutty because she really needs to be asleep earlier (she is going to camp from 9-12 every day this week), because she needs to get up at a reasonable time & her behavoir goes downhill when she doesn't get enough sleep.

That being said, I really don't have a solution. I think for us, the only thing I can think that would help would be to get her up early. Like 7am. But we're not early people, LOL. So, for now, I'm living with the situation, hoping when she goes to school next year it'll improve.
 

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DS is turning 6 and a night owl - always has been. It gets easier because very soon she won't need the same supervision. Between 3 and 4 we just let him be. We went to bed when we needed to and had our downtime then. So instead of waiting up with him BF and I would head to bed by 9:30-10pm and read or write quietly and by the time we's finished up (1-1.5 hours) Ds was getting himself in bed.

He also at 4 started (and still will do this) getting up at 2:30-3am on nights when we went to bed around 9pm, go downstaors, grab something out of his snack cupboard, head to the living room (turning on all the lights as he went), turn on a movie, have a snack and at some point pass out on the couch with everything still on and evidence of his snack on a plate beside him.
. I'm sure that scene will continue to play itself out into the teen years.

He sleeps until 730-830 am and he seems well. One thing I will mention, if you're wanting to change the time she goes down, is that having the TV on at night may be keeping her up. It keeps her mind engaged and stimulated and the light from it can interfere with the body's ability to recognize it's night time. There's been quite a bit of research done on this. Same goes for computers. The genral rule researchers have come up with is no TV etc a half hour before bed to give your brain time to wind down and relax into the night.

There a pluses, though. Most of DS' friends hit the sack at 730, which means that if their parents have to have them out at night (special event etc) they just melt down and can't do it. DS goes to movies with us, concerts, fireworks, and so on and is usually dancing longer than the adults around him. It really helps in his portability, lol.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by The Duchess
If you can, try and cut back on the TV after dinner as it has a tendency to stimulate the little darlings!
Yes I've heard this too. We've started a new rule - no TV after dinner (which in our case, is around 6:30). DS still has a hard time settling, it often takes two hours just to get him to go through his routine. He's asleep usually by 9:30.

Amazing isn't it how a 3-yr-old can go through a whole day without napping, and only get 9-10 hours of sleep? I have an infant too and my time with DS is limited. I agree with the pp, make it boring and peaceful. If she insists on being active, set up quiet activities for her (crayons, feed the cat, pick outfit for next day) and insist that you have to work at the computer (or read or whatever) and cannot play with her. My son is the king of persuasion and I would love nothing other than playing with him if I didn't spend the whole day already playing with him. He just HAS to have either myself or DH with him at all times.
:

Try soothing jazz music or playing a sleepytime audiobook such as Jim Weiss' Good Nights cd.
 

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My 2.5yo DD is my night owl. She stays up later than all of her (older) siblings. At our house, we do have a set bedtime. All of the kids go to their rooms at the same time. If my kids aren't tired or ready to sleep, they are free to read a book or play quietly in their rooms until they are ready to sleep. Because kids share rooms, we do turn off the overhead lights in the bedrooms but leave the hall light on. There are many nights where my older children are asleep by 8:30, but 2.5yo DD is still up looking at books or playing with dolls quietly in her room at 10pm.
 

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Yup. We're currently trying to transition our almost-5 year old to an earlier schedule in preparation for needing to be at school at 8:30 in the fall. We kept her in afternoon preschool to avoid the issue for as long as possible. Her natural schedule seems to be to fall asleep between 11-midnight, and get up at 10-11 AM. I'm the same way, so it's not too surprising.
 

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DH and I are natural night owls, and DH needs a remarkably small amount of sleep (he tends to do best in five hour increments, so usually only sleeps about 5 hours/night) .... Which is how I lived for a long, long time too. I find that while pregnant and while nursing, I need more sleep than that though (more of an 8-10 hour girl now
). Although while nursing after about 18 months, I started needing less sleep again (which was really nice for getting things done around the house!!).

Ina has been a night owl since she was a baby. She reverse cycled (I WOHM the first year of her life), and she would be up partying at 10pm when I needed SLEEP ... she's still this way today. She usually goes to bed at about midnight (sometimes later). If I try to get her to bed earlier than that, she just piddles around in the bedroom 'til midnightish and then goes to sleep after that sometime (we cosleep). So rather than waste 2 hours of my night fighting it, we generally just keep her on that schedule. It does mean that given her druthers, she's asleep 'til 9/10am. Which is difficult when we're visiting people, or have company, or are travelling, because people just think that she "should" be up by 6/7 am, 8am at the latest (especially since most peoples' schedules are that way too) .... She's outgrowing her naps too right now - if I can get her to nap, it usually takes her an hour to relax enough to do so, and then you can subtract her nap time from when she'll go to bed. So if she napped for 1 1/2 hours, she won't be asleep 'til 1:30am at the earliest that night.
: So I've quit trying on the naps. If she wants/needs one, she'll take one.

We get lots of eye-rolls as if we're indulging her (and ourselves) by not being "tougher" about this, lots of "You'll pay for that later!" and "Wait 'til she starts school!" type comments ... and SIL thinks it's ridiculous (she doesn't have kids but is going to be a scheduling fool when/if she ever does, kids should bend to parental dictates, whether it's about having allergies or anything else
: ). Anyway, we try to adjust things when we're traveling, and Ina actually does pretty well at adjusting while we're not home, but when we're at home, that's the schedule she keeps. I'm a bit worried what it will be like when we have our second (September) -- especially since when I was a child, I was a total morning person (got up with the sun), and if Ina continues as a night owl, and the new baby is a morning baby -- ACK. Things will get hectic.

I just tell people that Ina will do great at college! And "This works for us," and the best of all -- "Well, that's the schedule that dh (who's self employed) would keep regardless, and this way Ina gets to spend more time with him, and we don't have to worry about her waking him up in the morning when he's trying to sleep." Of course, there are also those who think DH should be on a "more reasonable schedule" too.


I've a good friend IRL whose third child is a night owl (like her mom), and that's just the way she is. When she started school, it took almost a month to get her adjusted to going to bed earlier and getting up earlier, but as soon as school's out, she's back to her late night hours. As she's gotten older, she's transitioned better between the two situations .... I'm not too worried about Ina, as a result - I know she'll adjust as she gets older.

ETA:
Ina often plays with her duplos in the evening, or her little people (she plays pretty independently) ... and we read LOTS of books as part of the bedtime routine, so that winds her down. The few times we've had the TV on in the bedroom when she was needing to go to sleep, she's stayed up 'til it's off, I think it definitely impacts how quickly children will go to sleep. We don't have it on if we can help it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boongirl
Does anyone have or have had a preschool aged child who is a night owl? My 3.5 year old has not napped since she was 18 mos and loves to stay up late. I have the same sleep needs, so I cannot blame her, but I am getting to the point of running out of ideas, other than tv, that I can do with her at 9 or 10pm. She can run on high until bedtime, whereas I slowly run down until I am tired and need sleep. By 9 or 10pm, we are usually watching tv together, usually movies or she watches alone in the room while I surf on the computer (right near by). I feel like she is watching too much tv but if I turn it off, she is all over me, wanting to jump and hug and play actively.

Any ideas would be helpful? What can we do that is quiet other than tv?
Sorry no ideas, but my child is the exact same way!!
 
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