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to think my 6 year old doesn't need a 'normal' amount of sleep. ..

(29 Posts)
greenbananas Sun 21-Dec-14 22:21:41

to be honest, I do think I am being unreasonable. Surely all 6 year old children need a good 11 hours sleep?

I do all the usual stuff. .. The trouble is, I am too ambitious, and try to get him into bed by half past eight each night. For every night I succeed with this, there is the payback of him being up until ten the next night. .. and then I feel so guilty! I am a childcare professional, and can't help feeling I ought to be doing more to make him sleep.

We only have complete success when I accept that he is not tired until at least nine o'clock. If he goes to bed at half past nine every night, then he wakes up at 7am, bright and breezy and ready for school. He is doing really well at school, and his teacher says he does not ever seem tired.

ds seems to thrive on an average of nine and a half hours sleep every night. I need more than this myself, what with a night-waking two year old!

Does anyone else have a 6 year old who doesn't seem to need a normal amount of sleep? If so, what do you do about it?

greenbananas Sun 21-Dec-14 22:24:27

(Probably should have put this in chat really. ..)

bberry Sun 21-Dec-14 22:30:29

What's your bedtime routine like? Do you have on tv/I pad etc or do you have quiet time... Quiet toys before bed?

Basically... Are you stimulating them before bedtime is my question....

I love sleep, so find it hard to accept the "don't need sleep" line.... But I know I am probably being unreasonable.... Everyone is different

What food/drinks are they having fir dinner/snacks - sugar/caffeine etc...

LiegeAndLief Sun 21-Dec-14 22:30:34

Mine didn't. He has never slept for the recommended amount of time for his age. I have just had to accept he doesn't need it. Our lives changed immeasurably once he learned to read and could stay quietly in his room. He also listens to a lot of story CDs.

He is now 8 and is often not asleep by 9, but at least he is lying quietly in bed listening to a cd. He also often wakes about 6, but is meant to stay in his room reading until 7. This was a bit hit and miss to begin with but now works pretty well most of the time.

You can't make a child sleep (I have learned this the hard way!). Suggest you forget about trying to get him to sleep more and work on ways of keeping him quietly in his room so you get more of an evening / lie in.

Orangeanddemons Sun 21-Dec-14 22:33:38

Mine's 8. She's never ever asleep before 9:30. Is currently banging around in her room now. Wakes up bright as a button every morning....

WorraLiberty Sun 21-Dec-14 22:33:54

All of my 3 needed different amounts of sleep.

We called it 'bedtime' but really it was bed room time.

So they'd go up at 8pm or whatever, climb into bed and either read/listen to music/play quietly with a toy.

They dropped off to sleep whenever they wanted and were always bright and fresh in the morning.

DS2 needed far more sleep than the others and he still does now, aged 15.

SolomanDaisy Sun 21-Dec-14 22:35:04

No idea about six year olds, but my three year-old doesn't need eleven hours!

motleymop Sun 21-Dec-14 22:37:41

You need more than 9.5 hours yourself?! Wowsers <amazingly unhelpful>

JingleBellsJuliet Sun 21-Dec-14 22:40:04

Ds is 8 and hasn't had 11 hours sleep since he was about 4. He goes to bed about 8.30 and gets up at 7.30 but that's where it ends! He is often still awake and chatting to himself when I check on him at 10.30; I can dictate when he goes to bed, but I can't force him to sleep!

StilleNachtCarolling Sun 21-Dec-14 22:40:32

My DD1 (almost 7) usually has around 12 hours sleep a night 7.30/8pm-7.30/8am) sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. This seems to suit her quite well. If she does need more then she will generally just stay asleep longer.

DD2 (5.5) I think needs more sleep than she actually gets. She seems so tired and grumpy all of the time. If she's particularly tired then I will put her to bed by about 6.30. She usually is in bed by 7.30pm at the very latest unless it's the weekend or holidays and wakes any time from between 7am-8am during school days. I think she could probably do with 13 or 14 hours sleep a night but will often get woken up in the morning by DD1 or DS before she's naturally ready to wake.

DS is 3 and goes to bed between 6pm-7pm. He usually wakes between 7am and 7.30am but will sometimes sleep until 8.30am. 13 hours seems to be his optimum amount of sleep and he does usually achieve this. I will also put him down for an afternoon nap if I think he needs it.

I think if your DS is happy and doesn't seem tired, and isn't tired at school then he probably is getting enough sleep. I do feel sorry for you though, not really getting your evenings to yourself! Is there any chance you could put him to bed at 7.30 and letting him read for an hour before he goes to sleep? That way he's in bed and winding down even if he's not asleep.

MissYamabuki Sun 21-Dec-14 22:44:18

My 4yo also gets on with an average of 9 hours'sleep. At every stage of development she's needed less sleep than recomended.

I agree with pp that the way forward is:

Accept that this is the way they are and they won't sleep from 7 till 7 <weeps>

Focus on them staying in their bedroom and being quiet (as you can't make them sleep!)

Off to bed now grin

KirstyJC Sun 21-Dec-14 22:45:18

My eldest has always needed about 7-8 hours, my middle one (6yo) needs between 10-11 and the little one about 9 hours.

If they don't seem tired in the day and are easy to get up in the morning, I would let it go.

With DS1 we always just sent him to bed, gave the bedtime story and then pretended not to notice he was still awake hours later.

TendonQueen Sun 21-Dec-14 22:48:21

I was like this as a child. I'm the only person who (to my knowledge) lied about their bedtime to their friends to say it was earlier than it was, because I knew they wouldn't believe me (and in fact they still didn't even with my 'adjustment'). However, my DS is completely different and does get a solid 11 hours. It is the case for many kids, but surely not all. If his sleep quality is good and otherwise he is thriving, I wouldn't worry too much.

I would go with having him get into bed to read at 9pm, with the aim that he then puts his book down and will be going to sleep at 9.30.

BaffledSomeMore Sun 21-Dec-14 22:51:53

My 8 year old needs 8 hours tops. She's awake before me every morning and does ok at school so I think it's fair enough.
My nearly 4 year old is a sleepy one and still needs a few naps a week as well as 11 hours sleep each night.

Passthecake30 Sun 21-Dec-14 22:52:59

I guess my 6yr old ds is more average in that he needs 11 hours. My 2 have never ever slept before 8pm though, and for a long while that was frowned upon by others

Dragonfly71 Sun 21-Dec-14 23:03:15

My eldest 2 both fitted the 11 hrs, bed at 7 ish and up early but DS 3 threw me! Never asleep before 9 and always fine in morning. But now he's 10 he likes a lie in at the weekend. Which is great as fits in with the rest of family smile

greenbananas Sun 21-Dec-14 23:09:40

wow, thank you all. I'm so glad (?) that ds is not the only one who seems to survive on so little sleep.

(motley, I know grin but I'm 42 and have always needed eight hours at least. Just recently I've been doing loads of diy when ds is at school and am constantly knackered! )

this has been on my mind tonight because ds1 is still ramping around and it's eleven o'clock! He had an early night (8pm) last night. Right now, he is making paper hats at the kitchen table. The trouble is, he shares a room with his two year old brother (who is a much more normal sleeper) so it's no good just shutting him upstairs with a book - he can't be trusted not to wake ds2.

I feel a bit better about giving in to the nine o'clock bed time thing. Like I said, he is thriving at school and generally seems on pretty good form, so I suppose I shouldn't worry.

PrimalLass Sun 21-Dec-14 23:10:08

I remember reading on another parenting forum that sleeping through meant 7-7 and your baby had not slept through unless they did 12 hours. How I laughed.

DS has never needed much sleep, and goes about 10pm-7 at 9am. DD is 6 and she will sleep from about 9pm until 7am.

TendonQueen Sun 21-Dec-14 23:14:25

I am a great believer in routine. So in your shoes I would give up on trying to force early nights and just go with 9.30 as the standard bedtime, 9pm for reading in bed with a little nightlight quiet time. That way at least you know how it will play out.

Maybe try going to bed yourself when he does every other night, and staying up later alternative nights, to try and tackle your own tiredness? I dislike missing out on 'adult time' grin after DC bedtime myself, but as I get older I am realising that what's far worse is missing out on precious sleep, so a compromise is needed..

Bulbasaur Sun 21-Dec-14 23:15:31

We had the rule that bed time was 8:00pm growing up and my parents didn't care if we were sleepy or not, we were to stay in our rooms quietly until morning, even if it meant reading a book to fall asleep. My parents put a small desk lamp by my bed and I'd write in my journal, read a book, or work on my puzzle book to fall asleep. Just something low key so even if I was awake I was winding down and being quiet.

You could always do what my parents did in mornings. When they woke up they had us do chores. So it was always in our best interests to watch cartoons and let them sleep in. grin If he has all that energy, put it to something productive? Set a time, and past that if he's up, he's helping out. See how long it takes before he's willing to stay in his room quietly.

Fcukfifa Sun 21-Dec-14 23:19:30

Ds1 5 has a pattern on going to bed around half 8/9 on a school night and wakes up bright and breezy but on a Friday goes to sleep early, about half 6/7 and seems to 'catch up'.

He has done this since being at nursery.

catkind Sun 21-Dec-14 23:24:00

Adults need different amounts of sleep, it makes sense to me that kids would too. I think you need to adjust till you find the bedtime that works for you. Consistency is good for them. If it's a choice between a consistent 9.30 bedtime and alternating between 8.30 and 10.30 I think the former is preferable.

We gave up on traditional bedtimes when we noticed that whatever time we put toddler DS to bed he would go to sleep at 9pm give or take very little. Put him to bed at 9pm - bingo, happy child, easy bedtime. It's moved around occasionally since then, but at 5 it's now about 9pm again, 2.9 yr old DD a little earlier.

I'd also note I know a lot of people whose small children admittedly go to bed at 7pm but are up at 5 every morning. That's no more sleep. But appears to be much less frowned on than 9pm bedtime and up at 7.

Both our kids are very good at recognising if they're tired and asking to go to bed earlier if they are. That's something I'm rubbish at myself. I wonder if that's in part due to us making bedtime when they are usually tired rather than when we think it "ought" to be.

LiegeAndLief Sun 21-Dec-14 23:27:42

If it makes you feel better, my ds has never ever slept from 7-7. Ever. In 8 fucking years.

Triooooooooooo Sun 21-Dec-14 23:49:30

They're all.different.

My Ds is 13 and I've just pushed his bedtime back to 9pm, it was 10pm and he was grumpy and cranky.

He's flat out by 9.15 and gets up around 8.

Donthackmenow Mon 22-Dec-14 06:50:40

catkind I am one of those people whose toddler goes to sleep at 7 and is up at 5 sad.
Unfortunately whatever time he goes to bed he is up at 5. In fact last time I tried to put him to bed later he got up at 4 hmm.
His sister was never a great sleeper but since starting school has started sleeping 8 - 7.30 so I am hoping he will eventually do the same!

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