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Will 4.5 yo ds ever sleep better?

(9 Posts)
charlieg22 Thu 06-Mar-14 06:57:12

Ds1 has always been a terrible sleeper, goes to bed 8-8:30 + always up by 5 so has about 9 hrs. He shares a room with Ds2 (19 mo) who happily sleeps til 7:30ish every day.

I guess i just need some solidarity, all my friends dcs even those who slept badly to start with are now ok, everyone said once ds was weaned/crawling/walking/preschool it would improve but it never has. Hoping school in sept might but not holding my breath. If he wakes during the night (regularly) he wont settle without me or dh going back in his room (usually me). With that, the 5am starts + work + all the other stuff i feel way old beyond my years + end up snapping at him as i did today + then regretting it.

I know there are far worse things to worry about but its getting to me, havent had a decent night for nearly 5 years now. Anyone else had this? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? X

batfuttocks Thu 06-Mar-14 06:59:56

Try a grobag alarm clock? If he knows not to get up til the clock goes yellow, eventually he may learn to just turn over and sleep for a bit longer. Works in my house, anyway.

TheGreatHunt Thu 06-Mar-14 08:34:49

Have you ruled out issues such as sleep apnoea (does he snore?) Or eczema (making him uncomfy so doesn't sleep well)?

What have you tried?

drivenfromdistraction Thu 06-Mar-14 08:43:48

My DS1 was exactly the same! The early waking didn't improve until Year 1 (when he was six) and became a free-reader. Then we began to be able to get him to stay in bed and read until the time on the Groclock.

Six months later it is still working, but I have to work very hard to keep a constant supply of books he likes! We have also recently made his bedtime later (which was a struggle as now we have almost no evening to ourselves - I go to bed v. early because my 2yo still wakes most nights and I have trouble getting back to sleep).

He comes down for 45 minutes after his younger siblings have gone to bed, and has a snack (something like crackers & cheese) and does quiet stuff like piano practice / board games etc. with us. That has also helped - I think I had to accept that he just needs less sleep than the average child his age.

charlieg22 Thu 06-Mar-14 10:58:10

Thanks - he doesnt really snore or suffer from eczema so i know thats not the issue. Have contemplated the gro alarm clock but i really dont think he would take much notice. He is at preschool 2.5 days a week + the remainder i spend doing outings, playdates, swimming + rugby classes - anything to wear him out! Think bedtime is late enough as it is + have tried explaining night/day but he just gets upset + says he's not tired. He has always been an extremely active boy +from the minute he wakes up he's raring to go.

I guess i am resigned to it for now but thanks drivenfromdistraction - it helps to know we are not alone! Now just got to get through a day at work without nodding off! =-O

TheGreatHunt Thu 06-Mar-14 12:04:41

My ds is nearly 4.5 and needs to be asleep by 7 otherwise meltdown ensues. He goes to bed at 8 when he's had a nap.

So I would try a much earlier bedtime for a week and see what happens.

drivenfromdistraction Thu 06-Mar-14 12:11:51

DS2 is 4.5 now and completely different from DS1 - he needs to go to bed at 6.30pm and sleeps for 12 - 12.5 hours without stirring.

DS1 was/is just a different child who needs less sleep. If your DS is the same, then I don't think there's much you can do about it, apart from work on getting him to be happy to play by himself quietly in his room when he wakes up. But, again, in our house DS1 is just not that kind of child (DS2 is!) and it wasn't until he got into reading that he could stay in his room till a reasonable hour.

I have every sympathy - especially with the fact that other people just don't get it, and wonder why you are tired all the time! I just go to bed very early and hardly ever go out in the evening.

charlieg22 Thu 06-Mar-14 15:08:34

Thanks everyone - drivenfromdistraction your DSs sound exactly the same as mine! Sometimes that 2.5 hours between him + his brother waking seem like forever. Ds1 doesnt do playing quietly in fact he doesnt do anything quietly. Guess i just need to go to bed even earlier, was supposed to go out last night for work drinks but was so relieved when it was cancelled, i am such a hermit these days!

drivenfromdistraction Fri 07-Mar-14 08:33:26

yes, I just can't do evenings at all. I also have a 2yo DD who wakes a lot at night, so between that and early mornings, I am not a social butterfly grin If they were all like 4yo DS2 who sleeps 12 hours solid, and likes to lie in bed daydreaming when he wakes up, I would be dancing on tables in nightclubs every night (well, perhaps not).

I have recently read the Millpond Sleep Clinic book, which is quite good, you might want to take a look at that. For early waking they suggest starting with a lamp on a timer (or you could use a groclock) - but crucially, they say to begin by setting the timer for 15 mins BEFORE the child's normal wake-up time.

That means that to begin with the child will always wake up and find the clock/lamp says getting up time. So they get the 'win' - whatever reward system you are using (we use a star chart to earn an outing that the DC really want). Very very gradually, you set the time back, and I think with a child like either of ours, it has to be incredibly gradual - so for quite a while you are just getting them to stay in bed/their room for 5 mins before 'wake up time' for example.

We are now (DS1 is 6.5) at a wake up time of 6.25am - which works for us as DH has to leave for work at 6.45 so we are an early-rising household anyway.

We have even, in the last few months, got to the point where DS1 oversleeps occasionally - once even to 7.15 am! That never happened in the first 6 years of his life!

I make sure that DS1 always has a book he's interested in by his bed - if he finishes one before bedtime, I leave a new one for him to find in the morning. Your DS is younger - but maybe there's some version of this you could do, e.g. rotating toys so he has a changing succession of 'new' toys to play with in the morning - and remove them so they're not around during the day for him to get tired of?

It is definitely hard work, and I have every sympathy for you.

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