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Two year old happily awake for half the night.......any advice?

(8 Posts)
Dorchies Fri 17-Jul-09 21:46:35

For the last year my now two and half year old wakes up about 50% of nights in the early hours and is awake. She is often awake for hours and hours and is completely happy, talking, laughing, jumping around. Sometimes she goes back to sleep at around 6 am and sometimes she doesn't. I know that some people will probably wonder why i'm worried - but she ends up sleep deprived and horrible the next day.
She no longer naps in the day - but sometimes does if she's been awake half the night.

She's keeping us all awake with her partying - can anyone offer any advice?

Storkletto Sat 18-Jul-09 10:33:20

is there something that is waking her like the boiler firing up or similar in the small hours that is enough to rouse her gently so she wakes up slowly and fully? Is her room completely blacked out when she's asleep? My DS (now 3.0yrs) would wake as soon as light came into the room and it formed a habit for a certain time - he had black out curtains but they weren't good enough at keeping all the light out - i altered his bed times by an hour or two in each direction over several nights and put up a second pair of black out curtains over the top of the first, and now he goes 12 hours straight, be it 8 till 8 or 7 till 7.

If it were me, i'd try and do something to break her habit that might have formed by maybe keeping her up later one night or something to try and get the early waking to occurr at different times, and keep doing variations of this till perhaps she might sleep straight through.

moneli Sat 18-Jul-09 10:35:08

Sounds hellish. What time does she wake up? Is she in her own bed or a cot? It sounds like she's waking up out of habit if she's been doing it for a year. Do you interact with her when she wakes up or do you keep contact to a minimum. Have you tried a sleep expert (some GPs refer free of charge)? I have also heard of 'toy' rabbits that are meant to teach children when it's time to wake up (the rabbit's ears cover their eyes until it's time to wake up, eg 7am. This way the child knows that until the rabbit's eyes are open everyone should be asleep). Haven't got much advice but thought this might encourage someone else to respond who has maybe has had similar experience!

BecauseImWorthIt Sat 18-Jul-09 10:48:18

Is she properly tired when she goes to bed? How active is she/you during the day? You could always try taking her swimming towards the end of the day, and seeing if that helps?

One of my friends discovered that it was the milkman arriving at some ungodly hour, whistling as he walked up their path, that was waking up their daughter!

Dorchies Sun 19-Jul-09 10:08:49

We have tried all sorts of things........when she wakes we rarely go into her and if we do we keep contact to a minimum. She's just gone into a proper bed in a hope the change may help - but no change. She is nomally exhausted by bed time and generally goes to sleep quite quickly. It doesn't seem to matter whether we've had a really busy day or not - no real pattern to it.
We have black-outs, and they could be better, although often when she wakes it is pitch black outside, so it couldn't be the light coming in.
we live in the middle of no where, so there could be an animal noise waking her.
We have made her a night fairy box and if she sleeps all night the fairys bring her a present - still no change!
I think you're right that it's probably habit, but maybe we should speak to the GP or look into sleep specialist?

childcarecharlie Sun 19-Jul-09 21:27:29

have you tried the wake to sleep method?

it works whereby you go in and wake her (just enough so she wakes, but not enough to fully rouse her) about an hour before she would normally wake up.

You do this every day for about a week, and after this time you should have broken the habit and the child should sleep.

I haven't tried this myself (firstly because i'm not in your position, but secondly becaus the thought of getting up an hour before the shenanigans start makes me want to cry) but i think I would be prepared to try anything if I were in yor position

And by saying that, i'm not being smug, my dd is only 2 months, so plenty of time for it to occur

NightShoe Mon 20-Jul-09 09:00:14

My DD used to do this, although she was younger than your DD you say it has been going on for a year so she was younger when it started. It is a habit that they get into and as much as I thought I wasn't I was encouraging her to be awake for several hours by the attention I gave her when she was awake in the night. Now I'm not about to start advocating sticking her back in bed and leaving her to cry it out, but you really need to look at how you approach her when she does wake up. We would try EVERYTHING to try and get to go back to sleep which = lots of attention through cuddles, songs to sleep, quiet music on, mummy or daddy in her room with her and so on.

We changed it by not doing all this and it was very hard work to begin with, but I kept in my mind that the end result would be a happier child who was not so sleep deprived. We always had a really good bed time routine, so she would go off to sleep fine. When she woke in the night we went in and said it night time, time to go back to sleep. We kept the lights low, no jolly interaction but not ignoring her or anything. For us it was just about setting a boundary about what was night time and what that meant.

fairybubbles Mon 20-Jul-09 12:46:22

Are there toys in her room or books and things that she can look at? Could it be that she is waking up and seeing the toys and this is stimulating her? My son is 2 yrs old and I know when he is getting ready for bed I make sure everything is put away (as much as reasonably possible) so there are less distractions when settling him. We have the benefit of good storage, but I know its not always easy clearing away everything.

If she wakes up and there is nothing to look at she may get bored and go back to sleep.

HTH

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