I let our son nap during the day... AIBU?

(68 Posts)
dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Wed 30-Jan-13 03:30:23

My darling wife is angry with me... She does not appreciate my allowing our 3 year old son to nap or sleep as he wishes during the day. He regularly wakes during the night and has a habit of crawling into bed with us. My partner finds these disturbances intolerable and blames my allowing DC to nap during the day.

Recently I was upset to find DW cajoling our son into staying awake... DC does not take kindly to having his kip disturbed and the situation escalated into something uncomfortable rapidly. I insisted that his napping during the day has nothing to do with his not sleeping at night and she accused me of not caring about her welfare and making her out to be the bad guy... I honestly believe that forcing him to stay awake against his will during the day is not the way sort out his night sleeping issues. Watching her doing it makes me uncomfortable.

Am I being unreasonable to allow our son to sleep as he pleases? Is there a link between napping during the day and not sleeping through the night? I don't want DW to feel like I'm not on her side here. I understand that she needs to be able to get a proper nights rest. My standard response to our sons incursions into our bed is to take him back to his own and stay with him until he falls asleep again. I am writing this now having just seen him off to sleep again. I don't believe cajoling him into staying awake during the day is the answer, besides which it doesn't work and DC inevitably finds someplace to catch 40 winks whilst DW is looking the other way...

I made sure our one son napped daily till he was 4, overtired kids don't sleep through the night too.
He slept better if he's had a mid day nap than if I kept him up all day.
Maybe have him nap early so he's ready for bed, 3 isn't too old for naps at all.

Homebird8 Wed 30-Jan-13 03:57:57

The more sleep mine got during the day at that age, the better they slept at night.

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 30-Jan-13 04:05:38

I think it depends on the child. I know with DS sleep during the day definitely impacts his night time sleep. There is a clear correlation. To be honest, DH and I used to have a similar argument where he would say that DS needed sleep to grow and that by not letting him nap I was depriving him of it. I agree that he needed sleep but my view was that over a period of 24 hours he got more sleep and better sleep if he had it all in one go at night.

If I am being completely frank too, I felt that sometimes DH put DS down to sleep because dh wanted a couple of hours off in the middle of the day. In the end we resolved this by trying two weeks each way (it takes a while for sleep cycles to adjust) and at the end of the two weeks with no nap, DS' night time sleep was much better - longer and uninterrupted, meaning that overall he was getting more sleep than he had with a nap.

I have to say that I believe in a daytime nap (for as long as I can get away with it). However, I have a non-sleeper and I feel your wife's pain. When you are dealing with lack of sleep you are irrational and very grumpy. You both need to calm down, sit down, when there are no fractious DC to deal with and come up with a solution you can both live with.

Who is at home during the day? Who loses the most sleep at night? These things have to be balanced. Also, napping too late or too long can be an issue. So, it is worse to try to keep them awake and then give up and let them nap at 4pm. If you always deal with the night wakings, why is DW upset. FWIW I find that after a lifetime of great sleep I am now an insomniac, thanks to DD. Any extra sleep loss makes me crazy.

Unacceptable Wed 30-Jan-13 04:11:15

Another one who has found that when little ones have had naps they sleep better all round and are much less cranky as a result.

Our 3 year old is a lousy sleeper, always has been. He started to improve when we got a groClock but since starting nursery and losing his daytime naps we are back to disrupted nighttime and poor sleeping

MammaTJ Wed 30-Jan-13 04:14:24

Being overtired does not help at all. A just long enough nap, then a decent bedtime routine.

maddening Wed 30-Jan-13 05:33:33

Could you experiment with the length of nap?

Monstermama Wed 30-Jan-13 05:45:47

At 3 years old some kids still need a sleep in the day. Mine certainly does. And yes he is a rubbish sleeper at night waking 1-2 times but settles quickly in his own bed (we never took him into our bed so thats not a problem). I find no correlation between day sleeping and quality of night sleeping. In fact on the odd day he does not nap (say we are out and busy all day) he ends up having a terrible night sleep. and visa versa sometimes he will sleep 3 hours in the day and then sleep all night? baffles me!

a good friend once told me good day sleep = good night sleep. I also read somewhere that 50% of 2-5 year olds have problems sleeping at night so is much more common than you think (people just dont tell you about it!). so give yourself a break! YANBU!

AbbyCat Wed 30-Jan-13 05:50:44

I also agree better day time sleep = better night time sleep. We get night terrors and nightmares (due to over tiredness) when we skip naps in this household!

Snowydrift Wed 30-Jan-13 05:56:43

As someone who has done every night waking for the past 3 and a bit years, I can see where your wife is coming from. I would be furious with DH if he let DS nap too much during the day. He is an atrocious sleeper and sleeps from 9pm to 6 at the latest, usually with one waking, sometimes more. This morning and yesterday, he decided 4 was a good time to wake up. Whilst its true that if he doesn't sleep a bit during the day when he needs it he sleeps worse at night, if he sleeps too much he won't go to bed and gets up earlier.
I think it depends on why you let him sleep. Because he's tired or because its easier for you to get on with what you want to do during the day? DS won't often nap and I sometimes have to force him to if I know he's tired, but he's never allowed more than 2 hours and never allowed to sleep later than 3pm. Which still gives me time to take him out for a run and tire him out before bed time!

Fairylea Wed 30-Jan-13 06:25:16

If you are doing the night wakings then fair enough you let him sleep as he wishes.

However if he's napping and waking your wife up all night long (I appreciate you said you just settled him but wondered if this is the norm?) Then I can understand her being frustrated.

munchkinmaster Wed 30-Jan-13 06:55:40

'as he pleases' - does that he decides when to nap. I'd think done structure re timings and length would help be better.

munchkinmaster Wed 30-Jan-13 06:55:51

Some structure

MrRected Wed 30-Jan-13 07:02:04

I think it depends on the child:

DS1 - napped in the day until he was 3. Never bothered his nighttime routine.
DS2 - napped in the day until he was 4 - still does occasionally have a daytime sleep and he is 8 - didn't/doesn't bother his nighttime routine.
DD - stopped sleeping in the day at 13 months (of her own accord). If, for some reason, she falls asleep in the day, you can be guaranteed of a late bedtime and broken night.

One thing I did do though, was ensure that I structured the nap. A three year old having a nap at 5pm is going to cause obvious issues - rather let them have an earlier sleep, so they are ready for bedtime at 7/8pm.

acceptableinthe80s Wed 30-Jan-13 07:10:15

My 4.5 yr old still naps a few days a week. It does'nt make any difference to his night sleep, in fact he often sleeps longer at night if he's had a nap.
I never let him nap after 2/3pm usually earlier and no longer than an hour.
Maybe you should keep a sleep/nap diary for a couple of weeks.

MortifiedAdams Wed 30-Jan-13 07:17:32

It would probably be beneficial to all if you at least structure the naps. Regularly put him down after lunch for 1.5/2 hours and wake him at the exact same time and see if that helps.

Try some sleep training at night time, or get a groclock to help him understand when to stay in bed and when it is morning.

Matildaduck Wed 30-Jan-13 07:21:41

Neither of mine napped past 2 years. They coped fine after a few weeks of being difficult.

They chose when to stop napping. I would have liked a bit longer :-)

Mine sleep 12 hours solid, go to bed without issue. ( they are v tired)

I don't really know any three year olds that nap. I would try some relaxing time mid day and see if that helps. I think a very long pushchair walk can help or tv time. Just want them to sit and relax.

PPT Wed 30-Jan-13 07:33:51

I'd personally say that 2 hours at 3 yo is excessive (but only based on my own son). My ds is 2.11- and he is 'allowed' a very brief 45mins at around 1pm. If he hasn't slept in a day before 3pm then we battle through to bedtime. This is very similar to others I know with dc the same age- and nursery give others the same age about the same in general.

I hasten to add that me and my DH do the same, and as I am at home in the majority with my ds my word goes on this! But we have found this the best formula for sleep with him to ensure both less daytime grumpiness and better nighttime sleep. It will undoubtedly change in the next few weeks but you should both be a little flexible to accommodate his changes!

I'm with your wife on this, and wonder what napping as and when be pleases really means? Yes, some children need a nap at 3 but not all. My DS dropped his nap between 2 and 3 and if he fell asleep eg in the car/on the sofa it would disturb his nighttime sleep. My daughter is 2.3 and if she naps for too long (generally speaking 90 minutes max) then she too can be difficult at night.

I don't see that you have anything to lose by trying to cut out naps and see if there's any improvement.

IceNoSlice Wed 30-Jan-13 07:41:31

What do you mean about sleeping as he pleases during the day? How many naps, how long and how close to bedtime?

I think a midday sleep would be fine but, say, an hour's nap at 4pm would disrupt the night. And more than say, 3 hours during the day might be too much.

Mt 3yo DD has given up her nap fairly recently. She gave it up when she was ready, but she has asked for a nap twice since, which she's had. Before she was ready to give the nap up, on her nursery days there was too much going on and she didn't want to nap. She would be a grumpy little sod at bedtime, eventually conking out, and then would wake several times in the night. On days she napped, bedtime was usually calmer, and she might wake once if she'd run out of water.

We did reduce the length of nap though, as PPT suggests. She went from 2+ hrs, to 1hr30 to 45mins. We reduced it everytime she started waking earlier, or more often. Now she will often have quiet time, a cuddle on the sofa with a story. We love quiet time. smile

I think if your DS still needs his nap, then not letting him sleep might actually be hindering him sleeping through. That said, when he is ready to give it up, if you keep him napping in the day, he will probably wake at stupid o' clock every morning!

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Wed 30-Jan-13 07:46:04

My two year old can't have a nap during the day without it negatively affecting his night time sleep.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Wed 30-Jan-13 07:51:45

DD still napped in the day until not long after her 3rd birthday and then stopped herself. DS is still only 1 and a half but I think he'll still be napping at that sort of age too although he often still wakes in the night. Stopping him from napping in the day did not stop the night wakings.

I do have a rule that unless they are very poorly no napping after 3pm. They have to awake by then. Any later and its a bugger to get them to settle down at a sensible time for bed.

minibmw2010 Wed 30-Jan-13 08:17:44

dadadadada, when you say your DC is sleeping during the day, what time is it at, how long does it last?

My DS (20 month) sleeps for about 2 hrs a day at 12.30/1 and is then ready for bed by 7.30.

MrsMushroom Wed 30-Jan-13 08:33:53

why were you "upset" to find her "cajoling him into staying awake" I did that with both of mine. They're fine.

Groovee Wed 30-Jan-13 08:36:29

How old is your son?

Both my children gave up their naps at 20 months. Dd was fine and slept all night, ds was a mare and didn't sleep until he was 3 and a half. But I did find if he slept during the day he did sleep better at night.

Flobbadobs Wed 30-Jan-13 10:23:25

At this age one good nap will be far more beneficial to him than a few little naps. Maybe an hour late morning/early afternoon, same time each day if possible.

OxfordBags Wed 30-Jan-13 10:50:36

I've read a LOT of books about children's sleep, thanks to my DS, and I can tell you that however varied the advice out there can be, the one thing every one I have read has advised is that 'sleep begets sleep', ie that children who get a refreshing nap in the day sleep better at night.

You know as an adult that if you are exhausted you often paradoxically sleep worse than if you're merely relaxed at bedtime, as exhaustion means your body has been stressing itself to stay awake all day and will therefore keep trying to stress itself through the night.

Your Dw sounds like she might be depressed. Lack of sleep can make you feel desperate and hopeless, but she sounds like she's not thinking things through from a very considered place (we've all been there, mind!). Or is this one issue becoming a 'stand-in' for other problems in your relationship, ie instead of arguing about problems between the two of you, you're focusing on this nap issue as the problem? You also need to look at the depression possibility and the relationship thing.

Yfronts Wed 30-Jan-13 11:10:24

Well my 2 year old son has just given up his day time nap and now goes to bed really easily at 6.30pm and sleeps though till 7.30am as a result.

He always used to nap during the day and would go to bed too late in the evening as a result.

How old is your child? How many naps does he have? What times?

If he is under 1 then I think your wife just needs to accept things as babies tend to be like that. Most toddler just have one sleep at lunch time. That is the norm as far as I know. It would be OK to shorten this sleep if it meant he sleeps better at night. Also avoid late afternoon naps.

As an adult, if I sleep during the day, I need less sleep at night.

Maybe you could both compromise and agree a plan to move forward.

Yfronts Wed 30-Jan-13 11:14:09

Also it might just be that your toddler is in the habit of coming through during the night. He probably needs reassurance and has woken between sleep cycles.

Could you sleep on your child's floor for a few days so that he gets into the habit of staying in bed.

It is hard going and sleep deprivation is torture!

I personally find that a day time nap helps night time sleeping as being overtired bad sleep. Having said that ds1 napped until he was 4, went to nursery afternoon sessions then so couldn't nap but still regularly napped at weekends until he was 5 and sometimes still does occasional days at weekends at nearly 6. He could nap until 5 and still go to bed at 8 no probs. ds2 is 2 and if he's not woken by 3 he will not go to sleep until 9-10, he doesn't get up but I still can't relax until he's asleep so make sure he's awake by 3.

I am a childminder and have had several children who in my opinion needed a daytime nap and would regularly fall asleep eating lunch with me but I was told by parents they weren't allowed one. I have found this hard to deal with but I do my best to do as parents request. I also have one little boy who naps with me but fights his mum one days he's home and is then a problem at bedtime so really all children are different. 3 is the time when naps often start to disappear but it depends if he's 36 months or 46 months, makes a big difference.

Lafaminute Wed 30-Jan-13 11:24:37

If my 3 year old sleeps for 10 minutes it will be HOURS after his usual bedtime before he finally falls asleep. I'm with your wife I'm afraid and while I would do anything to keep my ds entertained and awake during the day DH would let him sleep so he can watch tv/doze himself

blackeyedsusan Wed 30-Jan-13 11:25:25

ds would sleep anyhere. ther was no keeping him awake if he wanted to sleep. he used to lay across 2 toy boxes, or two pieces of furniture, or on the floor, under the computerr... in the washing... leaaning over a dining chair...leaning half on the sofa... can't see howw you are going to keep him awake all daay grin

a lunch time nap worked best. he sometimes beat me to the nap in bed to sleeping on the floor... [eyeroll]

Rikalaily Wed 30-Jan-13 11:35:43

All four of mine have napped in the day, my 2.5yr old has dropped most naps now like the others did at her age but they started napping again after starting nursery (morning sessions) age 3. If they need a nap I let them, I find they go to bed easier and sleep better if they have had a nap during the day. If they didn't have a nap it would turn afternoons/dinnertime into hell, cranky, whining, crying, too tired to eat then tantrum when trying to settle them to sleep.

They all napped around lunchtime and had one or two hours.

KenLeeeeeee Wed 30-Jan-13 12:11:43

DD is 4 and still naps some days. However, if her nap is any later than 1pm, she is beastly at bedtime & up through the night. If she naps in the morning, she's lovely for the rest of the day but ready to go to bed around 7:30 & usually sleeps through. If she doesn't nap at all, she's overtired & grouchy by bedtime & much harder to settle to sleep.

YANBU to want to let him nap, but work with your wife to find the optimum time for him to snooze.

PPT Wed 30-Jan-13 12:58:45

quote: * Your Dw sounds like she might be depressed.*

... hmm his wife is trying to not let the child nap, because she wants to try and get DS to sleep through the night... and that makes her depressed?! I think she's probably just spoken to friends who have suggested that she doesn't let him nap during the day... would seem a good thing to try if the DS is 3?

We've all "cajoled" at times- i.e. on long drives sung a rousing "heads, shoulders, knees and toes!"

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Wed 30-Jan-13 13:03:24

Excuse the poor grammar and spelling, I was up much of the night dealing with DS who woke up on three occasions. I deal with the all the night time activity of both our children. This does not however prevent DW from being disturbed by random invasions of our bedroom by DS. She is a sensitive sleeper and works extremely long hours so I feel it's best to deal with nocturnal activity.

Honestly it doesn't bother me that much. I'd rather spend hours awake in the middle of the night with our children than have to work the kind of hours she does. He naps between 30-90 min and hardly ever does so after 3pm. I let him do it because he seems genuinely tired. It often occurs after he's been particularly active or when he is poorly. Some people have suggested keeping a record of his napping and sleeping patterns; which is something I'm going to try doing for the next month or so.

When they are poorly I sleep on a single mattress on the floor in their room since a coughing or crying child is guaranteed to wake DW. When they were very small I slept when they slept and this worked out okay (if a little bit erratic) DW thought this was folly but I found it to be the only way to het enough sleep to function. In every other respect DW is brilliant with them but she gets so angry with them over the sleep thing. it upsets me. I get angry with them too but I try not to let it descend to forcing my will upon them. If I can't talk it out or con them into my way of doing things I don't like bullying them into it. DW has a slightly different philosophy I guess. Maybe she's right. We are their PARENTS and maybe it's our job to force our will upon them every now and then... but shouldn't that kinda action be reserved for perhaps more important stuff? I've got to go collect DS from playgroup now. I have a feeling he'll want a nap when he gets in. Thank you all very much for advice/support

NUFC69 Wed 30-Jan-13 13:13:06

Nothing to add to the advice, but thought you might find the following interesting: I started school aged 5 in the 1950s - beds were actually provided for us to have an after lunch nap! We all lay down, but can't remember how long for!

PPT Wed 30-Jan-13 13:30:23

What do you mean by bullying?

OP You sounds like a lovely Dad by the way.

acceptableinthe80s Wed 30-Jan-13 17:38:36

Lots of conflicting advice for you OP.
As you can see some children sleep better with a nap, some without which is why I suggested a sleep diary.
Sounds like you're a Sahp and do the night wakenings so I would say it's your call. Can your dw not wear earplugs?

hippo123 Wed 30-Jan-13 17:58:47

My dd will be 3 in a few months and for ages now if she has even a 20 minute nap she is a Nightmare going to bed, up and down until 9/10 pm. I think as your ds is not a great sleeper I would give your dw's way a go to see if things improve. My ds was still sleeping for 2 hours at 3 though and 12 hours at night.

OverlyYappyAlways Wed 30-Jan-13 18:05:52

My DS1 had a nap every day until nursery he started there at around 3 or 4, he went mornings to begin with and had a nap afterwards. He stopped naps when he started school.

DS2 was a horrific sleeper, I think he still had a small nap during the day.

You sound like a saint compared to my ex !

I can understand your DW, I think, even though she is not getting up, perhaps she could get some ear plugs? Maybe cut the nap back a bit but your DC sound like my DS2, he just liked to wake frequently during the night.

He stopped when he started school. Thankfully.

Springdiva Wed 30-Jan-13 20:12:08

I am an insomniac and had two DDs 16 months apart who shared a room.I would go ballistic if one woke, in case they woke the other, and no way was anyone getting into my bed. So I would do the usual drinks of water, turn the landing light on/off, close/open the bedroom door or whatever they did to call me upstairs. But after a bit I would hit the roof. Anyway they then slept well and always have. There's no need for DCs to get up and get into DP's bed imv.

rattling Wed 30-Jan-13 20:59:04

For me the issue is whether she is "cajoling" or "forcing" him to stay awake - the former is fine, the latter not so much. I have one son who wasn't napping at 3, but dreadful at sleeping overnight. His twin brother could go well over 2 hours during the day till quite recently (3.8 now) and sleep all night too - keeping him up meant him sobbing through dinner and screaming by bedtime.

It also sounds from your second post that he doesn't sleep every day? So it isn't a habit, it is a need and is likely going to decrease over the next few months (though that is only from my experience - you will have noticed from the responses that all children are different).

maninawomansworld Fri 01-Feb-13 08:49:57

From your original post it appears that you are at home during the day so I'm guessing you're a SAHD and your wife goes out to work?
If that is the case then she is being completely reasonable, If she's out working while you do childcare then she has every right to expect to get a full nights sleep before work the next day. If you choose to let the child sleep during the day then you need to take whatever measures you need to in order to ensure that when the inevitible waking during the night occurs that your DW is not disturbed so she can wake in the morning ready for work. That's the deal when you shoose to be a stay at home parent - one earns the money the other sorts the kids and runs the house. I too find kids crawling into my bed maddening, they stay there for approx 0.00000001 nanoseconds before being firmly sent back to their own room. My bed is my bed!

mrsjay Fri 01-Feb-13 08:54:48

MY dd slept in the afternoon till she was 4 the girl could sleep on a knives edge grin some kids need a nap , your W is being U some kids don't sleep well and id rather a child naps during the day because a wound up over tired child is a nightmare

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 01-Feb-13 09:36:04

My DD only gave up her nap a few months before she started school at age 4. I was actually worried that she wouldn't manage without when she started school although she was OK. My DS is just coming up to 3 and he still has around 90 mins nap each day and will go for 2 hours if left. Their bedtime is generally around 7.45pm so not very late. I was happy for this to happen as it does mean a break for me in the day which I would have gone crazy without, especially in winter where they are indoors so much. They usually sleep through the night though so I think they just need a bit more sleep than average.

I certainly think that a 30-90 min nap before 3pm is quite a sensible pattern for a 3 year old. Having said that the fact that your DS's sleep is not great at night is more of an issue I guess. If he is still disturbed at night even when he hasn't napped then the nap is making no difference and I'd just carry on with it. If he does sleep better at night with no nap then I guess your DW may have a point. You could perhaps try some quiet time for him where he goes to his room with books or a puzzle and rests. But be warned my DD used to do that and then would be found fast asleep on the bed smile

I also agree with the point about testing out different lengths of naps. I've heard 45 mins is supposed to be good to refresh them without affecting nighttime sleep but my two have always needed more...

CaurnieBred Fri 01-Feb-13 12:42:12

If your wife is a sensitive sleeper, then buy her some of these. I too am a sensitive sleeper and they work a treat.

CatsRule Fri 01-Feb-13 14:02:25

Our ds is a poor sleeper and even more so when he is overtired.

I find it difficult to get him to sleep during the day unless I'm out and he is in his pram. He is just so nosey and would rather see what's going on than sleep!

I did read and have heard that the better they sleep during nap times the better they are at night.

Our ds ends up in our bed most nights recently, everytime he wakes he seems to be cold...despite the layers and covers. Could there be something like being cd disturbing him? I'm naively hoping he will sleep better in his own bed when the weather gets a bit warmer.

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Fri 01-Feb-13 17:27:32

We had a massive row about this today. At least it was ostensibly about the sleep thing. She screamed bloody murder at DS when he dared tumble into our bed last night. At the time I dealt with it in the standard way. Took him back to his bed and stayed with him until he fell asleep. This took longer than normal because DS was crying over being shouted at. In the morning I found myself still in their room. DS2 had crawled into bed with DS1 and was clinging to him like a teddy bear.

Anyhow, I don't know if it was the lack of sleep or something else but I decided to talk to DW over breakfast about what happened that night. She seemed dismissive. I got angry, she got angrier. Lots of stuff come out. She'll be back around 9pm or maybe 10. I'm dreading it. Need to find someway of letting her know I'm on her side in this, so I'm making her favourite dinner followed by her favourite dessert and then I'll probably say something stupid like "I don't like it when you bully our children" and then all hell will break loose.

Wish me luck.

MortifiedAdams Fri 01-Feb-13 17:34:31

Sleeping through or.not she should NT be screaming blue.murder at him.

If this thread were reversed and you were the mum and the dad was doing this peole would be telling yo she was an aggressive bully and you need to have a Serious Talk.

Some would even say she may be depressed or something is going on outside the home for her to be acting rhis way in the home.

Some.would say LTB.

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Fri 01-Feb-13 17:36:35

Actually no... I am not going to say something stupid. I am going to figure out what is going on with her that is making her so bloody cranky. She's been cranky for a few months now and I get the feeling she's keeping something from me... I don't know what it is but i'm going to find out. This shit has gone on too long. I want my Mrs back, not this angry child bullying horror who seems completely oblivious to her own snoring but is unable to cope with a sleepless child. Something is UP and I am going to get to the bottom of it.

MortifiedAdams Fri 01-Feb-13 17:42:27

Keep your cool when you talk. Discussing her shouting at the kids while shouting at each other will be counter productive.

I find words sink in better if said straightly and calmly. Write some things down if needs be so you make sure you discuss everything that is bothering you.

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 17:50:52

I agree that if you were a woman posting about your DH's behaviour some of the replies may be a bit different. It's not OK for anyone to 'scream blue murder' at their child.

Lack of sleep is a nightmare though and whilst I am not making excuses, it sounds like your wife is out of the house each day for a very long day and is probably exhausted and feels her sleep is important in order to cope. Perhaps if you think your son needs a sleep in the day an you are the primary carer, so really this is your decision, you can find a way round the night wakings by maybe sleeping in the room with your DS again until he sleeps better?

FWIW, I just don't bother trying to manipulate DD's naps. If I let her nap in the day she might go to bed 30 mins or an hour later (2-3 hour nap) but she sleeps just the same. If I try and keep her awake so she doesn't nap or wake her up before she wakes up by herself, all hell breaks loose and she is awfully grumpy all afternoon and it doesn't really help with bedtime anyway as she is then over tired.

MortifiedAdams Sat 02-Feb-13 07:44:10

Hope everything went OK last night OP.

mrsjay Sat 02-Feb-13 09:20:02

why is his mum screaming in his face that is not on I hope you got something sorted as there is no need to be so angry and shout at a little child like that because she is annoyed she cant get a sleep,

CelineMcBean Sat 02-Feb-13 10:09:43

DS sounds utterly shattered but I agree, shouting at a small child is not on. The sleep/nap diary sounds a good idea, as does a chat about how you are all feeling. You may be right and there may be another issue but equally working long hours and not sleeping is enough of an issue for anyone.

Regarding the sleep problems, I would consider the following:

1. Is this a problem for the child? Many reported sleep issues are, apparently, only an issue for the parent and the child's behaviour may well be perfectly normal in another family. Who really has the problem? If it's not the child then the adult needs to find some coping strategies.

2. What's bedtime like? If a daytime nap isn't affecting bedtime then the night waking is unlikely to be connected.

3. What else is going on? New siblings, new nursery, moving etc etc can all unsettle a child and lead to night waking or wanting to sleep with a parent. This is fairly normal and relates to how secure the child feels.

4. Is the napping a daily occurrence or only when he's ill? If it is sporadic and he's sleeping after 1pm then it may well cause problems because the child feels unsettled.

5. What coping strategies could you use?

Bedsharing - There's a massive difference between electing to bedshare and not which can feel like an invasion. Bedsharing can help reassure unsettled children but equally an already unsettled child being rejected is not going to help. The two parents need to decide what is acceptable and how it will be managed. You may all decide on a period of bedsharing or not.

DW may decide to sleep elsewhere for a bit, either to facilitate bedsharing or just to be removed from what is a source of anxiety for her.

Introduce napping or quiet time at a specific time to give rest. Between 2-3years old most (but not all) children drop their nap. This does not always happen gradually and most children still need some rest time even if it's not sleeping. Watching a DVD or something on CBeebies or reading a book together can all be restful without sleeping.

Have a cut off, say 1pm after which time unless he is ill you will keep him awake until bedtime.

Avoid car journeys or buggy rides after the cut off because they will make children sleep.

Have an agreed plan for evenings when he has napped. If you know it will mean a late bedtime then plan for that.

Move bath time to the nap "danger time". It will help keep him awake but won't add extra work to your day.

Keep him on his feet if he looks tired and you don't want him to nap. Go out for a walk, a kick about or some other activity.

CelineMcBean Sat 02-Feb-13 10:11:07

DS? Dw sounds shattered! Flipping autocorrect!

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Sat 02-Feb-13 14:12:56

Hi guys, Thanks again for all the advice/support. Nothing really happened last night. DW got home around 11pm looking totally shattered and definitely not in a condition to be interrogated about family stuff. So I warmed her dinner through, rubbed her down thoroughly & ran her a bath before we both went to bed. I slept in the boys room to make sure there was no possibility of her being disturbed.

This morning DS2 asked me "Is mummy okay?" which put a lump in my throat. I've sent DS1/2 & DW off to spend a day with DW's mum, whilst I get on with some of the odd jobs around the house. I guess we'll talk about things tomorrow. Sunday is family day in our household.

Thanks to all for advice/support and a special thanks to Celine McBean and Mortified Adams.

Oh yes! I found an activity monitor thinggy-me-bob that I used to use whilst I was getting rid of some excess weight. I'm going to modify it so that I can use it to monitor activity/sleep patterns for DS.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Sat 02-Feb-13 14:19:35

Rubbed her down thoroughly hmm is she a horse?

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Sat 02-Feb-13 14:33:36

No, she is not a horse! I did massage professionally for a couple of years to fund myself through uni. I still have a portable table etc... Start off lightly, getting progressively firmer. She has a bunch of knotty tense muscle issues around her neck, shoulders, lower back and er.. bum. Some of it's so bad I have to use an elbow or two. I should probably rub her down more often, but finding the time can be an issue. She loves it, and I love doing it for her.

holidaysarenice Sat 02-Feb-13 14:56:41

Your wife sounds completely spoilt!

She screams at ds = lovely favourite dinner and massage for dw!

If this was the other way round I could imagine mumsnet faces. If she has a problem she needs to talk to you and you to her. Not pander to her bullying behaviour.

This sounds so much more like a relationship problem rather than 'just' a sleep problem, non?

FWIW, DSs2 and 3 slept every day until well after their 3rd birthdays, DSs1 and 4 stopped after their 2nd birthday and could not be 'made' to continue with daytime naps.
So, I think daytime sleep is very much individual to every child.

Having said that, I do think it is wrong to try and keep an obviously tired child awake.
The nighttime sleep problem is much more likely to do with routine setting, calm winding down period etc, or rather lack thereof, and you've had lots of v good advice on that here.

I hope you can manage to have a productive and calm conversation with your DW tomorrow. If she is not prepared to engage in a constructive conversation about her behaviour and how it is affecting your DS and you, I think you need to consider your position in this relationship.

pointythings Sat 02-Feb-13 15:18:54

OP, you sound like a complete saint. And I do think that there is something else going on with your DW, and you clearly love her very much so yes, it's worth pursuing. You need to tread very carefully though, because her 'reality' is probably very different from what you are seeing, and the truth will lie somewhere in the middle. Tackling my DH about his drinking took me a long, long time and a lot of tiptoeing, but we can talk much more openly about his stressors and how to deal with them as a result. I wish you every success with this, because despite the issues you have (and they ARE relationships issues) you sound like you have a solid marriage to build on.

FWIW, I have 1 DD who napped until 4.5 (she started school a term late, just short of 5) and one who dropped naps before she turned two. Both slept well, except when they were teething, ill etc. but I think a lot of that is luck. YY to putting a structure to the naps so that they don't happen too late - after lunch worked well for DD1, you'll need to experiment to see what works for your DS.

Hang in there.

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 02-Feb-13 15:21:18

Some kids need them, some don't.

I'm of the opinion that sleep begets sleep though. No one sleeps well when they're overtired.

CelineMcBean Sat 02-Feb-13 15:51:16

Your welcome - hope it helps smile

If she's tense and didn't get home until 11pm she must have a very stressful job. Does she ever get any time alone? Fwiw i don't think she sounds horrible or selfish. She sounds at the end of her tether for reasons we won't know until you talk. Do you ever get any time alone together? Ime it can make a huge difference and sort of reboot your relationship.

I have been in your shoes a little bit when I was a sahp and DP worked long hours. He used to travel with work and get so tired (although he never lost it with the kids) but he really enjoys his job which helps. We decided that if he had a lot of travel then some nights he would stay away at a hotel (work paid) because struggling home and unsettling everyone and falling asleep on the sofa was not helping him or us.

You sound like you're doing all the right things and have good intentions. I'm a bottler and dont talk about my problems. It's not healthy and has taken me to snappy irrational states at times. Keep talking and listening. Don't suggest solutions, offer a sounding board and support.

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