Desperate For Advice.... Toddler Wakes Up At 4:30! (Long)

Lounge By Mug-a-Bug Updated 6 May 2010 , 9:12pm by Shelle_75

Mug-a-Bug Posted 4 May 2010 , 1:50pm
post #1 of 22

My son is 20 months and has never been one of those 'good' sleepers. He's been going to bed at 7 pretty much since birth, and has for the most part slept until 6-7am. For the past 6 weeks or so he's been getting up earlier and earlier. I tried a few weeks ago putting him to bed at 8 (for about 5 nights in a row) but he got up the exact same time!! icon_cry.gif Since he's in a toddler bed now there's no more leaving him to cry it out, which I hated doing anyways icon_redface.gif He wakes up crying and tired so that makes me think he isn't ready to wake up yet... and neither am I!!!! tapedshut.gif My only other idea is that maybe I am letting him nap too early (10:30) and continuing the cycle. icon_confused.gif I would LOVE some advice from some mothers more seasoned than I. I've been exhausted for the last 20 months, lol. Keeping him up till 9 or 10 is just not an option for me, I'd go crazy. icon_razz.gif

21 replies
wyovol Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:35pm
post #2 of 22

I'm sorry. I feel your pain. My oldest is not (and has never been) a great sleeper.

How many naps a day is your son taking? How much is he sleeping during the day?

At around 18 months my son started dropping his morning nap. He transitioned to 1 afternoon nap and going to bed between 7:30-8pm. We've played around with that schedule a bit over the years and now he doesn't nap at all (he is almost 4.5).

The book that helped me the most was Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. It helped me to see what his sleep needs were and figure out how to get there.

I was really worried about what kind of sleeper baby #2 was going to be. But she is a great sleeper. She has slept 12 hours/night from the time she was itty bitty. So there is hope!

cakesbycathy Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:02pm
post #3 of 22

All my kids gave up their naps at 18 months.
You might want to try and see what happens if you a) move the naptime closer to the afternoon or b)let him give up the nap altogether.

Time to retrain your child I think. I always told mine it could be time to get up when the sun came up (get some good blinds in his room for when the sun is up at 6am icon_wink.gif )

When he gets up at 4:30 put him back in his bed and tell him it is not time to get up yet. Then (and I hate to say it cause it made me nuts, too) let him cry. He needs to learn to stay in bed. Put a gate on his door to keep in the room if you have to. He needs to learn that you are not going to get up and entertain him. He can either get back in bed and go back to sleep or play quietly in his room until it's time to get up.

Also, there is the possibility that his teeth are coming in and the pain is waking him up (although if he's been waking up regularly at 4:30 then that's probably not it).

Pick a reasonable bedtime (between 7 and icon_cool.gif and a reasonable naptime (around noon -1, maybe) and stick with it for a couple of weeks and see if his body will readjust. In the meantime invest in a really good coffee maker icon_biggrin.gif

leily Posted 4 May 2010 , 3:26pm
post #4 of 22

another thing to look at as a possibility, is he waking up because he's hungry? He may be going through a growth spurt or getting ready to and needs some extra calories to get him through the night.

My daughter is only 14 months, but in talking about food recently with her health care professionals they brought this up to look for if she would start to wake up earlier and earlier.

Not to say it isn't something else though

7yyrt Posted 4 May 2010 , 6:25pm
post #5 of 22

Is it normal for a child to sleep for 12 hours at a time? None of mine ever did.
My grandson sleeps for, at most, 10 hours.

Try this site, it is very good.
http://www.babycenter.com/baby-sleep?intcmp=lnav_bc20baby_bc20bacfsleep&pn=Article%20page

Mug-a-Bug Posted 4 May 2010 , 7:54pm
post #6 of 22

Thank you for all the replies. I think sometimes we get so frustrated and lose perspective. I'm going to move the nap later (he only takes one nap) and try getting him to stay in his bed if it's too early in the morning. I kept him up 1.5 hours later than his usual nap today, hopefully that will resolve this icon_rolleyes.gif Lucky for him, he's so darn cute!! icon_razz.gif

dldbrou Posted 4 May 2010 , 8:51pm
post #7 of 22

It may be that his bladder is full and it is waking him up. Try not to give him any fluids after 7:00 p.m. Is he potty trained? If not, this might be a good time to try.

Maybe he is hearing something that is waking him up. It could be a garbage truck, dog barking, or something that he can hear in his room and you can not hear in your room.

Is he waking up scared or just ready to play? If he is scared, it could be something he is watching on television. If he is just ready to play, give him a few books to put near his bed that he can look at quietly until it is time to get up.

Try a reward chart. Every time he stays in bed until you get him out, he gets to put a star on a chart. After a weeks worth of stars, he gets to pick out a surprise of your choice.

Elcee Posted 4 May 2010 , 10:37pm
post #8 of 22

My daughter had stopped napping at all by that age icon_sad.gif. Once that stopped, she would go to bed around 7:30 and wake at 6 or so. One thing we used to do that seemed to help was after she fell asleep we would put one or two things she could play with (like a doll or stuffed animal) at the foot of her bed so when she woke up there was something interesting for her to amuse herself.

anxietyattack Posted 4 May 2010 , 11:15pm
post #9 of 22

My little girl was the same way. When he wakes up does he scream? or does he just wake up?

I solved my daughter's issue by shortening her nap and making sure she ate something before bedtime that would stick with her, usually oatmeal. Also he may be old enough to be told to just go back to bed. My daughter did that after a while too.

you could also try having him "do jumping jacks" for a little while before bedtime icon_smile.gif I'm all about wearin my kids out lol.

wyovol Posted 4 May 2010 , 11:54pm
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7yyrt

Is it normal for a child to sleep for 12 hours at a time? None of mine ever did.
My grandson sleeps for, at most, 10 hours.




It has been my daughter's normal since she night weaned (at about 8 months old). She goes to bed by 6:30 pm and wakes up between 6:15-6:30 am. I've tried keeping her up later (thinking that surely she doesn't need *that* much sleep) but she just gets cranky and makes everyone miserable. And she still wakes up by 6:30am. So off to bed she goes. icon_smile.gif

Adevag Posted 5 May 2010 , 12:32am
post #11 of 22

Lots of great advice to think about has already been given. But you mentioned your son wakes up crying. How long is he crying for? Is he talking good enough for you to understand him? Could he be in pain/uncomfortable?
My three kids have all been great sleepers during the nights (pretty much since they were born) but they have needed short naps and outgrew naps early.
The only time they have not been sleeping well at night have been because they were uncomfortable with teeth coming in. My oldest son has woken up with pains in his feet and legs. I have googled it and it is fairly common in children starting in the toddler-age. Some call it growing pains. When my son wakes up early, crying because his feet hurts, I gently rub his feet and help him go back to sleep.
I have never let my kids "cry it out" (did not even know there was such a thing) and I'm not saying it's wrong, but since our young children are trying to communicate with us we need to do our best to listen to them (which you are doing) before we just leave them alone to solve it/help themselves.

Mug-a-Bug Posted 5 May 2010 , 2:24am
post #12 of 22

Lots of good advice here, thank you - thank you. My son speaks basically in full sentences, although doesn't always communicate what his problem is. He will cuddle me in the rocking chair and suck his thumb but if I try to lay him back down he cries. He is happy if we get up or I let him come to my bed. He won't sleep there but it's a 'rule' that he has to lay down (and an unwritten rule that he has to bother me the whole time with chit-chat, kisses, or his feet in my back).

Leaving toys in his room hasn't helped because he doesn't get out of his bed to explore; he isn't waking up happy. He just sits in his bed and cries until I come in. (Doesn't seem scared) Once upon a time when he wasn't waking up so early, he would get up and play and come into our room when he got bored.

I don't think he's waking up hungry because I don't feed him until 7 or 8 regardless of when he wakes up. I don't want his tummy rumbling at 5am. He is getting some teeth in... maybe that's all this is? icon_confused.gif Thanks again for all the replies. He napped later today so I'll let you all know what time he gets up!! icon_surprised.gif

Mug-a-Bug Posted 5 May 2010 , 1:36pm
post #13 of 22

HALLELUJAH!! The baby slept until 6:20... that hasn't happened in over 6 weeks! Thanks all. thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gificon_smile.gif

Adevag Posted 5 May 2010 , 2:17pm
post #14 of 22

Great news, and I can't imagine for you how nice to get that extra sleep in the morning. Hope it continues. If he now woke up later, then maybe the cycle is broken? He might not be tired as early today and continue to take a later nap...etc.

Mug-a-Bug Posted 5 May 2010 , 2:22pm
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adevag

Great news, and I can't imagine for you how nice to get that extra sleep in the morning. Hope it continues. If he now woke up later, then maybe the cycle is broken? He might not be tired as early today and continue to take a later nap...etc.




My thoughts exactly. icon_biggrin.gif Funny how I used to think getting up at 6:30 was early, now it's like sleeping in icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

KHalstead Posted 5 May 2010 , 10:31pm
post #16 of 22

I have a suggestion for you too, we went through this with ALL 3 of my kids around the same age and continued until they were close to 5........always during this time of year too!!

The sun comes up sooner, and goes down later.......they're going to bed when it's light out, and taking longer to fall asleep and then the sun comes up earlier and causes them to awake with less sleep.

Simple solution is to hang a dark colored blanket over your son's window at night and see if he doesn't sleep longer into the morning.

My DD used to wake up at 6 am and it was killing me, especially after staying up til 5am working on cakes! I put a blanket up and she slept til 9 am and was a pleasure to be around when she awoke too!


Might not be your son's problem, but it's worth a shot!

Shelle_75 Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:55pm
post #17 of 22

This will be a repeat of what's already been said, but I would look for two things: Ready to give up or shorten his naps or cutting teeth. My 23 month old daughter went through something similar for about two weeks, waking up at 4 am. I finally figured out she was cutting some molars. I gave her motrin for 2-3 nights at bedtime, which seemed to help her get through the night and also break her cycle of waking up.

Just repeat to yourself: It's only a temporary situation, I'll get through this!

Mug-a-Bug Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:02pm
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelle_75

This will be a repeat of what's already been said, but I would look for two things: Ready to give up or shorten his naps or cutting teeth. My 23 month old daughter went through something similar for about two weeks, waking up at 4 am. I finally figured out she was cutting some molars. I gave her motrin for 2-3 nights at bedtime, which seemed to help her get through the night and also break her cycle of waking up.

Just repeat to yourself: It's only a temporary situation, I'll get through this!




Good advice. It actually applies better to the other thing he just started doing. Last two nights (and for naps too) he has been screaming and getting back out of his toddler bed... over and over and over. Exhausting icon_cry.gif He used to just lay right down without a fight. I wonder if it's those teeth. Either way, you're right.... it's only temporary. icon_rolleyes.gificon_cry.gif

KathysCC Posted 6 May 2010 , 3:10pm
post #19 of 22

Kids go through so many changes and cycles. Sometimes you just can't pinpoint what the problem is. I do know that they require a little less sleep as they get older. Some of mine stopped napping during the day at 2 years old, some at 4.

My first thought would be that he is getting too much sleep, either at nap time or going to bed too early. Another thing is that bladder awareness may be waking him at that time. If he is still in diapers, that "feel" could wake him. Or it could be just a stage he is going through that like many things with children, will just pass.

I know many parent's think they need that daytime naptime to get things done but eventually you have to give it up. It depends on the child. You will be able to tell easily if they do need it! icon_biggrin.gif

Adevag Posted 6 May 2010 , 5:26pm
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mug-a-Bug


Good advice. It actually applies better to the other thing he just started doing. Last two nights (and for naps too) he has been screaming and getting back out of his toddler bed... over and over and over. Exhausting icon_cry.gif He used to just lay right down without a fight. I wonder if it's those teeth. Either way, you're right.... it's only temporary. icon_rolleyes.gificon_cry.gif




Those are the typical signs of teething. I'm guessing the pressure becomes worse when laying down. Another thing I just thought of that bothers children more while laying down is if they would have an ear infection.
Of course, all children are different. When you know your child you know if they are crying in just a fussy way or in actual pain.
Molars hurt more than other teeth, and if that's what it is at least there is an end in sight!

Mug-a-Bug Posted 6 May 2010 , 5:41pm
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathysCC

Kids go through so many changes and cycles. Sometimes you just can't pinpoint what the problem is. I do know that they require a little less sleep as they get older. Some of mine stopped napping during the day at 2 years old, some at 4.

My first thought would be that he is getting too much sleep, either at nap time or going to bed too early. Another thing is that bladder awareness may be waking him at that time. If he is still in diapers, that "feel" could wake him. Or it could be just a stage he is going through that like many things with children, will just pass.

I know many parent's think they need that daytime naptime to get things done but eventually you have to give it up. It depends on the child. You will be able to tell easily if they do need it! icon_biggrin.gif




THANK YOU!! You just gave me an epiphany! I must be trying to make him sleep too much?

Shelle_75 Posted 6 May 2010 , 9:12pm
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adevag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mug-a-Bug


Good advice. It actually applies better to the other thing he just started doing. Last two nights (and for naps too) he has been screaming and getting back out of his toddler bed... over and over and over. Exhausting icon_cry.gif He used to just lay right down without a fight. I wonder if it's those teeth. Either way, you're right.... it's only temporary. icon_rolleyes.gificon_cry.gif



Those are the typical signs of teething. I'm guessing the pressure becomes worse when laying down. Another thing I just thought of that bothers children more while laying down is if they would have an ear infection.
Of course, all children are different. When you know your child you know if they are crying in just a fussy way or in actual pain.
Molars hurt more than other teeth, and if that's what it is at least there is an end in sight!




And a lot of people don't realize, but teeth and sinuses and ears, etc. are all tied in together. Not really "connected" exactly, but because of their proximity to one another an ache in one directly effects the other area. That's why a lot of babies pull on their ears when they are teething or get runny noses.

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