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ideas, please; how to stop 2 year old thumping his cot/very early waking

(10 Posts)
alabasterangel Wed 22-May-13 09:03:18

23mo DS. Still in a cot, and been a pretty poor sleeper since birth. He didn't sleep through till 18 months and prior to that was waking more than once in the night for comfort. Always been a very light sleeper; any noise on the landing/outside wakes him up. After trying all sorts of things at 18 months we discovered that a very black room, door shut tight, swapping of grobags for a quilt, and leaving him to himself for a while finally resulted in a nights sleep from 7.30pm till around 7am - fantastic....!!

But somethings changed, I don't know what, and he has now taken to waking at 5am-ish. His chosen method of alerting us to his determination that it's time to get up is to smack both his feet repeatedly against the headboard/footboard of his cot.

So far I have tried; ignoring... that doesn't seem to work. His willpower is stronger than mine. Going in and telling him he mustn't do it, that it's still sleep time, and asking him to go back to sleep. He goes back under his quilt but within a few minutes of me going back to bed he just starts again. I've tried dropping/reducing his daytime sleep; that made no difference whatsoever. I've tried moving his bedtime to 30 minutes later; again no difference.

He has a 'seahorse' toy which lights up, so he's not in pitch black if thats upsetting him. We can't wholly ignore from 5am till we get up at 7am as attached to his wall is next doors childs bedroom, and whilst she is sympathetic about it, I know it's now waking her child up too and that must be infuriating. It also wakes up our DD in the room on the other side.

Anyone got any bright ideas?

Lehman Wed 22-May-13 13:00:22


Poor you, I've found with my toddler that he will generally persist with a behaviour because it works to get our attention - it can take quite a while to break that association. So it maybe worth giving the ignoring a much longer try if possible perhaps moving rooms or something.

Also how is he when he wakes? Hungry ? Does he seem like he wants to go back to sleep? Does he think it's a game?

If it helps I also found seemingly inexplicable changes in my toddlers sleeping patterns have usually been food/ milk related. Not breaking the dependence on drinks at night, or giving him too much milk at the expense of food during the day.

Anyway I'm not sure I've helped but all the very best

alabasterangel Wed 22-May-13 13:27:54


When he wakes he's not ravenously hungry; he's happy to wait while I dress and make beds, then we all go down for breakfast.

I do note that when he wakes at 5am, he's shattered by 11am - and by 12 he's nodding off into his lunch plate. I am sure this is because he's waking up/starting his day too early!

Yes he thinks it's a game, although he knows he gets chastised. This morning at 6am after listening to it for an hour, I went in there and the first thing he did was rap on the headboard with his fist, shake his head, and say 'no banging' so he knows it's wrong but that ultimately I will go to him.

Driving me loopy!

Lehman Wed 22-May-13 13:57:19

Oh dear!

Does he go to nursery / daycare? My sister was working full time and her toddler started waking up early but then mysteriously stopped when she went on mat leave - he just seemed to want more playtime. Just an idea.

With my toddlers bad habit it took a few months of ignoring to get a change in the behaviour. The only other thing I can think of is you try a soft sided travel cot (if he still fits in one) it won't clunk if he kicks it.

alabasterangel Wed 22-May-13 14:01:55

thats not a bad idea with the soft sided cot - we do have one! Might break the cycle. He'll be in one for 2 weeks next month when we're on holidays. Maybe that'll change his habits.

Yes he goes to nursery 3 days a week when I'm working.

alabasterangel Wed 22-May-13 14:03:54

and I should add that when he's not banging the cot, his other tactic to get us up is to fake sneeze.... he goes "ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-CHOOOOO" very loudly, and repeatedly. Just want you want to hear over the monitor at 5am..... not.

Lehman Wed 22-May-13 14:16:38

You've got to love them!

MoelFammau Wed 22-May-13 21:53:40

Can you not just put him in a bed? Maybe he's bored. DD has been in a bed since 20mo and is much better in the morning because she can get up at silly o'clock and potter around with her teaset, books etc while I stay in bed.

3Caramel Thu 23-May-13 15:16:39

Us too! My DS (22m) does exactly the same thing - it's soooo annoying! We were kept awake last night for 3 hours as he thumped the cot & chatted very loudly (& happily) to himself. And he's also started waking really early, after being a brilliant sleeper (well, as good as can be expected for a little one).

We've tried everything:
- going in & moving him up the cot, away from the ends (as purposefully jams himself across the width of the cot right at the top or bottom);
- ignoring him (as he's not unhappy or crying, just banging away & chatting to himself - and he does eventually go back to sleep if it's night time but can take hours! i.e. is hours of us all being awake, so not ideal.);
- having cuddles & story, and redo-ing the whole bedtime routinue;
- giving him Calpol in case there's something wrong (& to help encourage sleep);
- giving him some milk/water, but he never seems particularly hungry/thirsty;

The only thing that actually works re the banging is putting him in a soft sided travel cot. Not an ideal long-term solution, but it does cut out the banging noise. Now - if only we could work something out for the loud middle-of-the-night chatting! (Although I do sometimes actually find it quiet funny smile )

I've come to the conclusion that it's just (another) phase, and he'll get over it - even if not until he's in a big bed at 2.5/3 yrs old.

I also think that it may be to do with teething (my default thing to blame if I really dont' have a clue what's going on!). He tends to teeth in twos or fours, and it takes months for them to show up - so I think maybe his last 4 molelars may have started pushing - not enough to upset him, but enough to wake him up at night.

Anyway, so sorry that you're having a tough time with this - I really do sympathise. But I am glad that it's not just my DC - always good to know you're not going through something along, and that you're DC isn't (that) odd!

Good luck & let me know if you find anything else that works smile

IWroteToTheZoo Thu 23-May-13 19:17:17

DS is now 25 months, he did exactly this for a few months recently, it was a right pain. We had complaints from our downstairs neighbour and had to stand the cot on soundproofing material. Because of the complaint, we had to go zero tolerance on it, going in straight away and stopping him. If it was really early I'd just move him to the middle of the cot and leave without engaging him too much, so it wasn't getting the result he wanted.

Anyway, the good news is he stopped doing it a couple of months ago,probably just grown out of it rather than anything we did. he's moved on to undoing his sleeping bag and shouting "hello feet!" instead.

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