Am desperate - any ideas on how to get a 6 and a 4 year old to not wake up so early??

(52 Posts)
ceebeegeebies Sun 31-Mar-13 20:15:01

Both DC are excellent sleepers (which I am very grateful for) but insist on waking up generally anytime between 5 and 6am sad

After 6 and a half years of no lie-ins, I think I have reached the end of my tether. Me and DH are permanently tired, snappy at each other etc.

They share a bedroom and they know they are not allowed in our bedroom until 7am (at weekends) but they always wake us up by going to the toilet, talking, playing (--or killing each other--). Particularly if they wake up at, say 5.30, they cannot play nicely with each other for 90 minutes in their bedroom hmm

One of us could have a lie-in whilst the other one takes them downstairs and we do do this occasionally but both me and DH are generally 'once awake, have to get out of bed' people.

They don't have particularly early bedtimes, and over the Easter weekend these have slipped anyway...yet they are still awake at the crack of dawn!

Please help - any advice would be greatly appreciated smile

ceebeegeebies Sun 31-Mar-13 20:57:06

Bump anyone??

LackaDAISYcal Sun 31-Mar-13 21:00:24

<lurks for advice>

5am here for the last four and a half years <sigh> DS2 is a "once awake, everyone else has to be awake" person.

Generally my luffly DH gets up with him as I work lates but he is at the end of his tether. Bought a gro clock six months ago. hahahaha <bitter laugh>

Chocotrekkie Sun 31-Mar-13 21:00:48

Might not work with 2 of them but my dd2 aged 7 has always been up at 5.30 ish since she was tiny. She has tv in her room and is allowed to watch it quietly until we get up. It's usually the only tv she watches all day so I don't feel too bad about it (honestly). We tried everything to get her to sleep longer but nothing worked...

LackaDAISYcal Sun 31-Mar-13 21:02:32

oh, and our two boys (DD is a dream, gets up sleepily and quietly around 7am) also can't be left alone for more than 10 minutes, share a room and are awake instantly and loudly. I feeeeeeel your pain sad

essexgirl31 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:04:27

Lurks with interest
DS nearly 6 and DS nearly 4 are always awake and up at 6.

KLou111 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:04:32

Can you do wake to sleep on children that age? There's a thread on here which some found very successful.
Am currently on night 3 with my 19 month old. smile

LackaDAISYcal Sun 31-Mar-13 21:06:49

sdix is a treasured lie in here! Hate clock change time as it always goes even more pear shaped for a while.

As does any break in the normal routine. late nights mean just as early mornings, and shouty grumpy over-tired children all day.

<googles wake to sleep>

ceebeegeebies Sun 31-Mar-13 21:14:07

Thanks for making me not feel so alone (a lot of my friends with similar-aged children seem to have ones that lie in until 9am) smile

The main problem seems to be DS2 waking up for a wee sometime after 5am - he wakes his brother up and then between them, they wake us up.

Daisy yy to the late nights = same early mornings but very grumpy children all day instead!

I am normally quite an optimistic person and it doesn't bother me but this weekend has really got me down as we have had ridiculously early starts which has made for v long days and grumpiness all round which is a pretty sh*t way to enjoy the Easter weekend sad

KLou111 Sun 31-Mar-13 21:15:24
ceebeegeebies Sun 31-Mar-13 21:15:31

Oh, I used 'wake to sleep' v successfully with DS1 when he was much younger and would definitely recommend it for much younger children...not sure whether it would work as I am not always sure which one of them wakes the other one up (unless DS2 does come out for a wee).

pcbmc00 Sun 31-Mar-13 22:32:29

Dont know if this will work for older children but my 2.11 month old wakes up early but doesnt get out of bed until 'sun comes up on her clock' I invested in the gro clock best invention ever for me and I have found that while she waiting for the 'sun to appear on her clock' she does fall back to sleep until 7.30am ( time we have it set for). Highly recommend it for younger children

LizzyDay Sun 31-Mar-13 22:50:56

How many hours sleep do they usually get total, from falling asleep to waking up?

Just thinking if they reliably sleep 10 hours, then bite the bullet and make their bed-time a time that ties in with that, but waking at a time that suits you. Probably will result in grumpiness for a few days till they get used to it, but you need to persist.

says me whose DC now stay awake till about 10 to make the above system work...

blueshoes Sun 31-Mar-13 23:05:54

Put them to bed later.

Andro Sun 31-Mar-13 23:42:13

Nothing ever worked for me, my parents were cursed with my habit of waking up between 5 and 6am (depending on what time I went to bed) from me being a baby until I went away to school. I still wake up early, I still don't sleep more than 5 (occasionally 6) hours.

Tacal Mon 01-Apr-13 00:03:19

I have also found the gro clock to be successful for my ds who is 4. Before I had the gro clock I would let him watch tv in bed until it was time to get up. Putting him to bed later never worked for me.

KLou111 Mon 01-Apr-13 07:24:42

Yes, gro clock. We've bought one, but ds too young at the moment.
We got to 6.15 this morning smile better than 5-5.30!!

Artichook Mon 01-Apr-13 07:31:30

My 6 and 4 year old have a gro clock set for 7.15. If they wake earlier they must read quietly in bed. If they disobey this rule they lose the right to pudding or any treats for next 24 hours. They would also be sent straight back to their room. At this age they can understand and obey consistently enforced rules.

BetsyVanBell Mon 01-Apr-13 07:44:22

We've had a light up bunny clock (ie a night light at night, goes to an obvious daytime setting when they're allowed to get up) since the DCs were 1 and 3 (now 8 &6!) and used along side bribes and sanctions has been very effective. Dc1 hasn't been a problem for a while but dc2 is a naturally early bird and wide awake with it. For the most part Bunny clock is obeyed and he's allowed to read quietly (or when younger look at books) if he wakes but no getting out of bed, except for toilet, until bunny wakes up. However, them going to the toilet does often wake me but as long as they go back to bed quietly then that's fine. Changing wet sheets wakes me up even more!

Later bedtimes has never ever made a difference. Just end up with a grumpy kid.

chickensaladagain Mon 01-Apr-13 07:49:54

Can't they be up by themselves at 6&4?

You don't have to be with them constantly at that age

And I'm not talking about leaving them for hours while you sleep until lunch, but the difference getting up at 7 may make to your grumpiness levels can be massive

blueshoes Mon 01-Apr-13 10:00:40

Some children will only sleep a fixed amount of time. My children only ever need 10 hours of sleep a night, even from a young age. So putting them to bed later definitely works for them. They are bouncing and happy, rarely grumpy except at the end of an intense day.

LizzyDay Mon 01-Apr-13 10:20:53

Agree with blueshoes - from the age of about 5 mine rarely actually fell asleep till after 9pm, sometimes 10 pm, slept well, and woke up around 7.30 am.

Gets easier when you can leave them to read and switch own light off.

ICanTotallyDance Mon 01-Apr-13 11:59:02

Exercise! Is there a karate/swimming/running/ballet/orienteering/dance club that runs in the evenings? Or can you go for a family walk after dinner? The children will sleep like the dead after even twenty minutes exercise (if you're lucky) and it'll be good for them too.

Alternatively, they might get grumpy with each other because they're hungry. Is there anyway they can get breakfast without waking you up? Might be tricky with these ages but worth a shot.

Or you can give in and have a tv installed in their bedroom (or iPads/tablets?).

Encourage a reading hour. Say, from 6-7am they can read.

Also, sticker charts! Every time they stay quietly in their room until, say, 7.00 they get a sticker.

If nothing else works- give in and have an early bedtime yourselves. Or move to a dairy farm where this rising time will be much appreciated.

It's difficult, but in nine years they'll both be teenagers and you won't have to worry. grin

ceebeegeebies Mon 01-Apr-13 13:08:29

I don't have a problem in getting them both to sleep...they generally fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillows!

Also I know I don't have to be with them 24 hours a day but they do have a tendency to argue and fight if left alone for too long - and 90 minutes is generally too longwink

DS1 can read a clock and they have one in their bedroom and they do obey it but see my point above. ..if they wake up at 5.30 they can be in their room for 90 minutes!!

Reward charts may be the way forward but still isn't going to help the fact that once I have been woken up I struggle to get back to sleep sad

Of course sod's law that this morning I was awake and downstairs before 6 and nobody else got up till 7!!

Oh come on, really - you get a full night's sleep pretty much every nightand you are exhausted just because your kids get up early? Just alternate who gets up with them at weekends confused then you both get one lie in a week. You can go to bed earlier if you are "exhausted".

They will grow out of it in a few years time. I'd bet 25% of kids get up between 5am and 6am, that's just part of the deal. Mine do that and one of them is up every 2 hours all night. We have to be up at 6.15am anyway on school days. If they all slept through the night til 5am I would be incredibly happy and full of the joys of spring biscuit

Some people over use the word exhausted....

ceebeegeebies Mon 01-Apr-13 13:43:06

Yes I am exhausted and I think that is an accurate description. I need a lot of sleep - some people need more than others! Unfortunately I seem to have lost the ability to go back to sleep once awake so DH going downstairs with the DC wouldn't help.

Yes I could go to sleep early but DS1 is often not in bed until half 8 and then I like a bit of time to myself.

Yes I am fully aware of how lucky we have been with my DCs sleep and i realise early starts are part of the bargain with kids and I don't complain very often about the early starts but sometimes the relentlessness of it gets me down and I feel I need to do something about it.

KLou111 Mon 01-Apr-13 14:23:31

Cbeegeebies I totally agree. Some people do need more sleep!
I'm asleep on the sofa by 9.30 latest after our son has been waking early for the last couple of months. My dh, however, will go to bed past midnight.
We all differ sleep wise, as do children. I feel your exhaustion smile (mentally too, trying to entertain a 19 month old for 14 hours isn't easy!)

Oh it is a load of crap though - I don't need less sleep than you just because I get less. So many people trot that out "oh I couldn't do that, I need my sleep!" So do I. Just because my children don't let me sleep doesn't mean I only need 4 broken hours. I'm not saying you're not tired, but desperate and exhausted, hardly likely - if you were you'd go to bed when your last child did. Nobody needs to sleep in til 7am - most of us would like to, nobody needs to.

LizzyDay Mon 01-Apr-13 19:31:03

I don't think there's any need for competitive tiredness Fanbase.

The fact is that children waking up well before their parents do is not ideal on any level, and the OP is looking for helpful suggestions.

ICanTotallyDance Mon 01-Apr-13 19:49:25

Hmm... that is a bit tricky. In my experience, exercise helps children sleep longer as well as better so I think it's still worth a try but it may not work.

Oh I know... Its not competitive tiredness really though, its just the ridiculous level of exaggeration - if you could be getting 8 hours uninterrupted sleep and are choosing not to, then claiming to be "desperate and exhausted" is like a resounding slap in the face to those who don't have the option of a reasonable stretch of sleep.

If the OP had used less wildly OTT language in her post and just said she was tired of the 5am waking and did anyone have any tips, I would have posted tips...

It is not the OPs fault of course, I am heartily sick of RL friends claiming they are too exhausted to do XYZ because one of their children woke at 5.30am, and expecting sympathy... I guess it has become a red mist trigger and I finally snapped.

Nobody said it was ideal, it is however, not the cause for desperation and exhaustion to have children who are naturally early risers and deny their parents the luxury of a lie in together - esp given they could perfectly well have individual lie ins once a week if they really were "exhausted".

The language was what made me angry and as I've been up trying to settle my youngest for a solid 2 hours already and my DH has just gone to take over, and even when he does settle he will wake again in a couple of hours, I am not going to apologise for thinking that being woken at 5am after a good night's sleep is no cause for "desperation".

KLou111 Mon 01-Apr-13 20:42:40

I guess you are exhausted moreso in that case MrTumbles.

13lucky Mon 01-Apr-13 21:00:55

The OP was asking for suggestions - not doing a 'tiredness' competition thread. She is exhausted and at the end of her tether - otherwise she wouldn't have bothered to post. I feel sorry for what you are going through Fanbase but don't take that out on OP. Ceebeegeebees - I also have a 6 and 4 year old - both wake up early but have been 'trained' that they must be quiet and not wake us up until 7am (8am at weekends has just been introduced!!!). They are pretty good at this and we tell them each night when they go to bed what time we expect them to be quiet until. We have done this with them since the youngest was only 2.3 years old so I do think this can work. HOWEVER, my two do not share a room and I can see how this could be a problem. Could you allow them out of their bedroom into the lounge or wherever as long as they do it quietly after a specific time, eg 6am - or whatever is acceptable to you? (I also agree that some children, no matter what time they go to bed, they still wake at the same time...I have two here too!). Good luck.

ceebeegeebies Mon 01-Apr-13 21:46:59

Thank you to those that have defended me smile Fanbase I didn't intend this to be a 'competitve tiredness' thread and I am sorry you are so offended by the wording of my post - however, that is how I feel and I am not going to apologise for that.

It is the 'being quiet' that we seem to have an issue with it - my 2 just find it impossible and I am not convinced any amount of bribery is going to be able to overcome their natural way of living which is full-on and loud hmm but may be worth a try.

As for going downstairs, we have the house alarm on at night and I don't trust them to be able to turn it off without it going off which is why they are not allowed downstairs without one of us.

Anyway, back to work tomorrow with a 6am alarm call so irrelevant for the next few days!

MrsB74 Tue 02-Apr-13 09:09:10

Feel your pain OP, think it's because they share a room, which I presume you cannot change? My twins (nearly 4) share a room and chat for hours at bedtime, even when exhausted. They are pretty good at not waking each other in the mornings and not getting up too early all the time, but I think they inherited my bodyclock, preferring to lie in a bit. Maybe it's more of a boy thing? My step son was a real early bird and used to go downstairs and watch tv for a little while til we came round a bit (we don't tend to have the house alarm on), as a teenager now he is completely nocturnal and rarely up before lunch, so it will improve for you. My DH and I take turns to attempt a lie in at weekends, doesn't always work, but if you keep trying you will train yourself to relax. If nothing else take that time to maybe go and chill out in the bath or something. As for Fanbases problems, you seriously need some help to sort out your little one's sleep - no wonder you are snappy!

seeker Tue 02-Apr-13 09:13:27

Can't they just go downstairs and watch telly? Leave out some breakfast for them and let them get on with it.

ArabellaBeaumaris Tue 02-Apr-13 09:17:12

Story tapes. My 4 yo has a stack of audio CDs in her bedroom & puts them on when she wakes. She will happily potter quietly in her bedroom then, it is brilliant.

steppemum Tue 02-Apr-13 09:28:51

my youngest is 5 and for the first time this Easter we have both had lie ins together.

Mine are not allowed out of their rooms until 7. The youngest has a rabbit clock (rabbit wakes up at 7)
The girls recently went into their own rooms, which has helped, as they will very occasionally lie in, and never on the same day.

We have allowed ours to go downstairs and put the TV on. They are not allowed down til 7.

We have worked hard on the creeping downstairs, no flushing the loo before 7 (unless it is a poo) quiet doors etc. We worked on all that to stop the whole house being woken by a 6 am loo stop, but it works for holiday mornings too.

I have found the bed later argument hopeless, mine have an internal body clock, which means even if they are late to bed for 2 weeks (and over this school holiday they have all been 1/2 hour ish later to bed) they wake up at 7.

The other thing I would say is that for me a quiet morning with a cup of tea and the newspaper for an hour in bed is very restful, child free hour, and is nearly as good as a lie in smile

LizzyDay Tue 02-Apr-13 12:18:15

I'm intrigued about the internal body clock thing. What cues does the body use? Does it distinguish between GMT and when the clocks go forward?

It can't be daylight, because that changes constantly all year round.

It could possibly be something like 'hours since I last ate'? Maybe try feeding them later?

They are still only little and expecting them to be quiet while you lie in is unrealistic. My ds wakes often before 6 but is only expected to stay quiet until 6. It's a luxury to expect to stay in bed til past 7am when you have young kids. I go to bed at 9.30 to compensate for the early mornings. Before you look round they will be 10 and you'll spend the next 8 years forcing them to get up in the mornings.
The plus side of early waking children is you get so much done before school that there's not a lot of jobs to do in the evening. By 6.15 I've usually put in a load of washing, sorted the dry washing from the day before, emptied the dishwasher and done the dcs breakfast.

FantasticDay Tue 02-Apr-13 13:27:09

Rotate the lie-ins! You get up on Saturday with them, dp on Sundays. Or you could get them both a DS.....

I'm snappy because I'm sick of the smug "I love my bed/ I need my sleep" comments from other people, all over the place, assuming they need/ deserve more sleep than those who have non sleepers, and because I find it crazy that somebody who could be having 8 hours sleep a night and a lie in once a week, alternating with her DH/P, is describing herself as exhausted - people who are exhausted sleep through kid noise if they know their partner is looking after the kids this morning, and people who are exhausted can get back to sleep standing up every chance they get, and people who are exhausted go to bed early to catch up every once in a while, to become less exhausted, if they know that going to bed will get them 8 hours sleep!

However I do have sympathy for early risers - I have one (not the same one who doesn't sleep at night). It is common sense to catch some early nights yourself - not every night, as the need for some evening adult time is important too, but a couple of times a week. It is also common sense to alternate lie ins.

Reward charts for being quiet may work, but you have to have reasonable expectations - if you know they will wake at 5am then you can't expect them to be quiet til 7am, but a simple, clear, mutually desired reward (like an outing they both want to go on) could be enough to incentivise them not to fight and be loud til 6am. Mark the desired time on a regular clock for the younger one if he can't tell the time - no need for a gro/ bunny clock by 4 really ( and my kids changed the time on theirs to wake the bunny)

Cheap MP3 players with headphones and their music or story tapes on them help pass the early hour before approved get up/ noise making time.

We used those strategies for our now 5 year old (who has always been a 5am get up boy) from age 3 and they worked pretty much immediately.

I have been to 2 different paediatricians for help with DC3 MrsB74 and been offered (and turned down) medical sedation - its not affecting his development, he's well ahead of his age and not showing signs of over tiredness, it's just how it is and I try to make sure it only affects me, though it is very, very, very hard, he will grow out of it.

From my perspective the OP is fed up of getting up early, not "exhausted and desperate" because of the choice she is making not to get more sleep when that option is very obviously available to her, and saying she is exhausted is a bit like saying you are "maimed" if you've pricked your finger with a needle.

This is not competitive, it is simply factual. Pointing out somebody is exaggerating and furthermore is actively choosing not to take up the obvious solutions to her own problem is not the same as competing.

LackaDAISYcal Wed 03-Apr-13 14:45:41

I think you're being a bit harsh fanbase.

The OP hasn't given enough information about her evening routine to suggest that she could go to bed earlier (and sometime it's not an option if there are chores to be done etc after getting the DC to bed). And you have no idea how sleep or lack of it effects other people, only how it affects you. The OP says she is exhausted and it's really not for anyone else to say "you're not, how can you be, look at me, I get less sleep, whine whine". I don't get home until 11pm five days a week and it takes me a good hour to wind down after it so early nights are not an option here, and my poor DH who gets up at ridiculous o'clock with our youngest goes to bed by 9pm every night, but he is just someone who needs lots of sleep and who is affected by ealry mornings so is exhausted even after seven hours. And four and a half years of this have not adjusted his body clock in any way; his sleep requirement has remained the same. He needs 9 hours, and four years of sleep defecit really does take its toll.

ceebeegeebies Wed 03-Apr-13 21:43:44

Thanks Daisy - you have summed it up really well smile

blueshoes Wed 03-Apr-13 21:57:08

Ceebee, when you say you are exhausted, what does that mean.

Do you struggle to keep your eyes open if you watch television. Do you get muddled and forgetful. Can you trust yourself to operate heavy machinery or drive a car.

I am curious because both my children were horrendous sleepers for years and so I understand what it is like to be woken up umpteen times a night AND early. But I would not say I was 'exhausted' during the day, just occasionally a little lightheaded. Fully functional and still went to work. Same with dh who needs more sleep.

LackaDAISYcal Wed 03-Apr-13 22:10:42

can we give the poor OP a break? she feels she is exhausted and came looking for support and ideas for getting her DSs to sleep longer, not a dressing down on the exact definition of exhausted and competitive tiredness from other posters.

If she is tired enough that it is causing her distress and to feel that her quality of life is affected, then surely that is enough. FFS, when did MN get to be so nasty that a call for support is sneered at and derided?

And I say this as someone with a medical condition that DOES cause me immense fatigue and exhaustion to the point that I cannot work or be left in charge of my own children, but it is my exhaustion and the way it affects me is my experience. If the OP feels exhausted, she feels exhausted. Why are posters trying to deny her her own feelings?

blueshoes Wed 03-Apr-13 22:32:31

Daisy, you have a medical condition, OP does not. This is not a dressing down. I only asked a question.

ShiftyFades Wed 03-Apr-13 23:18:01

I really feel for you OP and I hope you can find a solution to suit your family.

As for the people criticising the OP on her terminology: dear God, this isn't AIBU, it's a behaviour thread, the OP is asking for help to change her DCs behaviour. The words she uses are not emotive in any way and she is describing how SHE feels. You can not, for one moment, know how she feels and decide if the words are correct. If she feels desperate / exhausted then that is how she feels.

Lay off and "if you can't say anything nice constructive or helpful in this case don't say anything at all".

KLou111 Thu 04-Apr-13 07:55:47

And fwiw, the definition of exhausted is 'extremely tired', which is how the op (and I) feels!
If she feels exhausted, she is bloody well exhausted!

blueshoes Thu 04-Apr-13 10:28:17

I am sure the OP can speak for herself, if she cares to answer the question (which she does not have to).

It is a valid strategy, if OP is tired but not truly 'exhausted', to change her mindset as a way of coping. After all, this stage does not last forever. Sometimes stoicism is the way forward and the most sensible tactic.

LackaDAISYcal Thu 04-Apr-13 12:14:42

sorry blueshoes, after fanbase's post it seemed like another criticism. But ikwym about the mindset, often we can convince ourselves that we are more or less tired or ill than we actually are and a good old fashioned dose of PMA can work wonders. As does the mantra "this too shall pass, this too shall pass"

hopefully the OP is off getting some well earned sleep smile

joolsangel Thu 04-Apr-13 16:01:54

my little girl generally wakes between 5.30 (sometimes earlier) and 7. if I feed her a bowl of porridge before bed and put the heating on in her room from about 5.30am she tends to sleep a little later so I do this at weekends if I want a bit more sleep. generally im awake at 5.30 anyway so I don't mind too much but I do hate it at weekends when she springs into our room at 5.30. so feed her up before bedtime and turn heating on!!!!! I think tho every child is different and they all go thru stages - good luck!

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