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To ask how on earth people get their small DC to sleep at a reasonable time?

(128 Posts)
PerkyBoots Wed 29-Jul-15 23:34:07

I have 2 DC, they are 3 and 1, I just can't seem to get them to sleep at a reasonable time, it was around 9.30pm tonight. They wind each other up and seem to just want to play! I've heard of others getting their kids to sleep by 7pm or earlier. Does this really happen and how? If anyone would like to share their secrets in this regard, I'd be VERY grateful. Thank you.

Euphemia Wed 29-Jul-15 23:36:25

We did, but we only had the one!

Can you have separate wind down to bed times? One child with each parent? So that ideally one is asleep by the time it encounters the other.

Do they share a room?

arethereanyleftatall Wed 29-Jul-15 23:39:11

I put mine to bed at seven, after story, cuddle etc, told them it was grown up time now and closed the door. Non negotiable.

Kiwiinkits Wed 29-Jul-15 23:43:29

We started as we meant to continue. When they were babies we established and followed daily routines, pretty much from birth. The routines included 7am wake ups and 7pm bed times. They are now 5 and 3.5 and they have happily gone to bed at 7pm and woken up at 7am without any fuss whatsoever since they were about 3 months old. People on here scoff at routines but in our house they have been a godsend. I couldn't be bothered with a bed time battle every single exhausting night. What a drama. Makes for happier kids too, in my unpopular opinion.

DoJo Wed 29-Jul-15 23:48:07

No naps! As soon as mine pushed his bed-time back to 8pm, we dropped his day time nap and he was knackered by 7.

Lurkedforever1 Wed 29-Jul-15 23:49:37

Dd never went to bed early, like me needs little sleep. Age 3 slept 8.30 till 6. (Age 11 10 bedtime and 10.30/11 to sleep is enough for 6am wake up). But that was what she needed and it was regular. Plenty of fresh air, then an hours wind down with bathtime and stories. If I had friends child, I'd put him down first, he'd be asleep in 15mins, read dd a 'big girl story' then put her in.

TwinkieTwinkle Wed 29-Jul-15 23:50:54

Never managed it, it never did him any harm. He is now eight and sleeps at least ten hours a night. grin

Waterandtea Wed 29-Jul-15 23:51:22

Mine are now 6&3 but they've always (from age of 7/8mths) gone to sleep by 6.30/7. Dc1 now is allowed to read until 7.30 sometimes but still in bed before 7. I did the same thing with both of them.

They have their own rooms and when they were in a cot then I just did the bedtime routine, fed them (when still bf up to 18mths) and put them into their cot. If they cried I would go in and soothe but then leave quickly saying it's night time now. I never did 'CIO' or 'CC'.

Once they moved out of a cot into a 'big boys bed' then I gave a strict warning that if they got out of bed they'd be back into a 'baby's bed' and had the travel cot there ready to put up if they messed about. Dc1 had to go in it for 3 nights at one point but then he learnt. With dc2 the threat has been enough.

Dc1 now offers different challenges but mainly because he would read all night until he fell asleep if I let him.

While there have been some nights where they've been challenging generally I'm quite lucky that they've gone to bed well. I've stuck with the same routine and rules and they both know them and the consequences if they don't stick to them.

It's harder if they have to share a room if we're staying elsewhere as they do tend to wind each other up. I usually do dc1's story and let him read downstairs while dc2 goes to sleep and then dc1 goes up. Doesn't always work though!

thegreylady Wed 29-Jul-15 23:55:04

My dd couldn't stay awake much past six until she was about 7. Her dc are now 6 and 8. The six year old is in bed by 7:15 and the 8 year old by 7:45. From as soon as they slept through the night time routine of bathtime and story was begun by 6pm. Dd didnt much mind the early mornings although they slept a good 12 hours and went on with daytime naps until they had turned three.

Happy36 Thu 30-Jul-15 00:08:17

Hello Perky

I think it depends mostly on the child. My husband and I are relatively strict and have always imposed a routine, especially when our children were younger (they are now 4 and 7) and during school term time, but I think we have just been lucky that they are good sleepers. I know friends who are stricter than us but have had less success getting their children to bed. So do remember that rather than thinking than others have some sort of magic secret or that you are doing something wrong.

What time do your children wake up in the morning? Do they seem tired? Do you think they need more sleep?

If they are sleeping "late" in the mornings (late being a matter of opinion), you could try waking them earlier and then hoping that will make them more tired by night-time.

Hot baths can be stimulating and therefore delay sleep so consider switching to a quick shower or having the bath earlier on.

Bit more fresh air / exercise, especially in the late afternoon?

Fatmomma99 Thu 30-Jul-15 00:16:08

I'm not going to be much help to you because I only have on DC, and she was an early riser, so by bedtime, she'd be ghost-white with big black rings under her eyes (she was awake at 5 though, so can't claim to be smug!)

I think good routines are helpful - stop playing rowdy games, bath with lavender, milky drink, stories. And ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in bedroom that's in any way electronic - games, tv, phone, Wii, x-box, ds = get rid of it all.

I hoe it gets better for you.

Scotinoz Thu 30-Jul-15 04:08:59

Routine has been our key. 20mth old has been going to bed at 7 since she was about 4mths old, and although sleep has been up and down at times, she's generally a 7pm 'till 6am-er. Dinner, wind down, bath, pjs, story and milk, teeth, then bed.

Slowly shifting 3mth old's bedtime towards 7 too.

Love my babies, but also love a couple of hours in the evening with just husband and I.

JoandMax Thu 30-Jul-15 04:28:38

DS1 was always an early riser from birth so got into a 6.30/7 bed by himself really, I'm afraid I can't take the credit for that one! When DS2 arrived he just fell into the bath/bed routine too although I used to cuddle him to sleep until he was 3 and even now at 5 I sit next to his bed until he's asleep (and then he frequently potters into our bed during the night).....

I would definitely have a set get up time like 7am and wake them up then do as much physical exercise as possible to shatter them by bedtime!!

Also are they in separate rooms? That may help!

DS1 is now 7 and still rarely sleeps past 6am whatever time he went to bed, sometimes I'd love it to be a bit later but they are in bed asleep or calm and quiet by 7pm so I do get the evenings at least.

I hope things improve, but don't beat yourself up if things don't go perfectly, DS2 has rarely slept through in 5 years despite a calm, consistent bedtime. DS1 is a brilliant sleeper having had the same so sometimes it really does depend on the child too

dailygrowl Thu 30-Jul-15 04:31:39

Fresh air and exercise are good for wearing them out. Get them to run about outside, preferably in a park or outdoor play area, not a small back garden. Bring bikes/ scooters if you can. Works every time.

dailygrowl Thu 30-Jul-15 04:33:37

(Sorry, if your one year old doesn't have a kiddie "bike" that is fine. Just get him/her to be active outside).

Lozy79 Thu 30-Jul-15 04:42:09

Everyone i know has their children in 7 to 7 routine and we have never managed it. People have tut tutted over it, including my health visitor. I think if your child is not over tired then go with the flow for now. My dc aged 3 and 10 months go bed at 9, my eldest always has. They get up at 6 and it used to be 5! There is no way i making that get earlier with an earlier bedtime.

KeyserSophie Thu 30-Jul-15 04:49:43

They have separate rooms and go to bed between 7-7.30. DS(5) is usually out like a light and sleeps till 6ish (dont mind this as we get up then anyway). DD(3) often plays with stuff in her room for a bit or looks at books and then falls asleep. She needs less sleep. I take the line of "You dont have to go to sleep, but you have to stay in your room" as I think it's beneficial to at least be winding down.

I think whatever works for your family is fine, providing kids not exhausted. I live in China where a lot of pre-schoolers go to bed about 11pm (but tend to have a long afternoon nap). However, if you want to change things, you need to be consistent and for it not to be negotiable. The issue for me with getting kids to bed at a reasonable time is that I basically have babysitting on tap, providing kids are in bed, so it's in my interests.

purplemurple1 Thu 30-Jul-15 05:37:47

Ours are 6 months and almost 2 yrs. They both go to bed 1830 to 500 the older one doesn't nap the lo has 90min in the morning and 40 in the afternoon. We are lucky that they tire each other out and the big one is always on the go whether inside or outside. No intentional routine just pjs, teeth, blinds down, radio on, fire lit, which the big one 'does' while we put the lo down.

Onecurrantbun Thu 30-Jul-15 07:43:34

We have two DDs aged 3.5 and 1.5. We tend to be downstairs with both asleep around 8pm - we start bedtime around 7pm as we like a relaxed evening and play in the garden etc once DH gets home. They both pretty reliably sleep through until 6.30ish. I think there is a limit to how long most kids sleep and as the average sleep a preschooler needs is 10-13 out of 24 (so naps impact!) not every child can do 12 hours.

However the issue seems to be more that you're missing out on an evening together - summer maybe isn't the best time to try and move bedtime forward, but is there any way you could aim for them being asleep at, say, 9pm instead of 9.30pm for the next few nights? We have no t.v. for at least an hour before the bedtime routine starts. Lots of fresh air, running around and limited sugar. Our bedtime routine is 1 book downstairs, once we go up we stay upstairs. Into PJs, 1 book, 2 songs, into bed. Once lights are out we totally limit our engagement with the kids - never ever leave them to cry or anything, but be a little curt when talking, not making eye contact, lights don't go on.

Do yours share a room? We are very lucky that ours don't have to as I'm sure they'd mess about if they did.

Onecurrantbun Thu 30-Jul-15 07:50:24

By the "moving bedtine forward to 9pm" I meant move it forward incrementallyover the course of a few weeks, as oppposed to suddenly trying to go from 9.30 to 7. Sorry i didn't explain that!

Ragwort Thu 30-Jul-15 08:08:16

Like others, I had an only child so appreciate that is probably a lot easier but I had a very strict routine - bath & story at 6.30pm - in own room (from a very early age - against all advice) at 7pm with door closed. I never got into the cuddling/soothing to sleep.

My DS slept through until 7am (with one very quick night feed up until about 8 months) practically from the day we got back from hospital.

It might have been the routine, or more likely it was pure luck. grin

horsewalksintoabar Thu 30-Jul-15 08:16:27

Swimming. I take my 1 and 5 year old swimming, just splashing about. In the summer I do this nearly every afternoon. Works for us. Splash pool or proper pool. We do both, mostly proper pool.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 30-Jul-15 08:16:41

I think there is a lot of luck involved. I only have one and she was pretty good at going to bed, but from the age to 3.5years to 7.5years woke at between 4.30am and 5.30am every day. I tried everything and nothing worked.

horsewalksintoabar Thu 30-Jul-15 08:19:03

Mine share a room. I put 1 yr old down first. Read to 5 year old in our bed then take her into her room 1/2 hour after baby's asleep.

Petallic Thu 30-Jul-15 08:23:30

What's your current bedtime routine? I have a 2 & 3 yr old who share a room. I don't keep any toys in the bedroom and only a couple of books are left there at night - as the 2 yr old would be up playing all night otherwise. She does still sometimes jump around until 8pm ish but I try to ignore unless it's getting out of hand or other DC getting upset - I found that going in to settle them repeatedly just kept them going for longer.

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