2.5yo waking very early, ready to drop nap, or something else?

(6 Posts)
cazzabazza Fri 06-Sep-13 08:20:08

Recently my 2.5 year old has started waking very early, between 4.30 and 5.30, screaming and shouting that he wants to get up. He will scream hysterically until one of us gets him up. His normal wake time is between 6.15 and 7am and he used to wake happy and would play quietly until his Gro Clock turned yellow, then he would call for us. But now he just screams hysterically and we can't understand much of what he's screaming other than he wants to get up.
He has a good routine, his bedtime is between 7 and 7.15pm and has been since he was a newborn. There are blackout blinds in his room and he has a little nightlight in the form of a Gro Clock which turns yellow when it's time to wake. He understands what it's about and how it works as we've been using it successfully for 8 months now.
Could it be that he's ready to drop or shorten his nap?
He naps for 1.5 to 2 hours, and is tired at naptime, often I will need to wake him otherwise he'd sleep longer. He goes to bed easily and happily at 7 with no problems at night.
I don't know if this is just a phase that we've got to stick it out and hope it passes, or is this a sign he needs to drop his nap?

mewkins Sat 07-Sep-13 09:03:07

That is a lobg nap for a 2.5 yo. I would definitely cut to an hour and then gradually down. My 3yo was having 20 mins at the age and still hit or miss whether she woould go to sleep at night.

RoadToTuapeka Sat 07-Sep-13 09:14:01

Goodness cazzabazza, that could be my son you are talking about! He is 2yrs 8 months, same naps, bedtime etc as yours. The last 3 mornings he has woken at 515 yelling to get up (is still in a cot thank goodness otherwise he'd no doubt be wandering in to get us up), go in to see him and he's adamant he's not tired. we've managed to settle him or at least he goes quiet til about 6/630. We only just got a gro clock yesterday and it kind of helped although we set it for sun at 630 (got to be better than 515!)

The last 2 days though he hasn't had a nap as he's not always in need of one; some days I put him down and he chats to himself, plays, then shouts to be got up. He did nap today though quite happily for 2 hours and in fact I had to get him up or he'd have snoozed the afternoon away.

I am wondering if the nap will help him sleep longer or will he be up at the same awful time. Hopefully.someone will be along with suggestions/possible explanations!

mewkins Wed 11-Sep-13 20:49:29

I think if you cut the nap back gradually you will see a gradual improvement. My dd would happily snooze the afternoon away but I know there is no way she would go to sleep that night if she did. If yours is going to bed at 7ish and should ideally sleep til 7am then it's unlikelyy he would then need two hours of sleep in the afternoon. That's a lot of sleep for a toddler. I know some who stick with the naps for a break and just deal with the early mornings but I would find early mo a killer so would just phase the nap out.

I remember asking Tanya what's it about naps - she said most toddlers need naps until around 3. So it could be a need to drop the nap or actually just a sleep regression.

My ds had an early waking phase - we didnt cut the nap, he got over the phase and now still naps at nearly 4 (but down to very short ones every few days).

BoysRule Wed 11-Sep-13 20:59:17

I'm not convinced that early wakings are to do with sleep during the day. Although you should definitely try shortening the lunch time nap. Be really firm with the groclock - could you give him options of things to do if he wakes up and the sun isn't up? We told our DS that we absolutely weren't coming in until the sun was up but that he was allowed to get up and get a book or a toy to bring into bed (he never did).

The other thing is that he is at the age where they start to get scared. Could it be that when he stirs in his sleep at that time he is scared and becomes wide awake and wants you? My DS1 went through a really difficult phase at that age when he suddenly started to get frightened in his room.

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