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Toddler is still full of energy at 9pm and takes an hour to settle in his bed...

(24 Posts)
Milliemuffin Tue 25-Aug-09 21:52:22

He's 2 years old. DP can't get home from work before 6.30 and we always have dinner as a family. DS plays with his dad for half hour after dinner, only sitting down playing with cars, reading picture/word books, nothing 'exciting' then at 8 we give him milk, do his teeth at 8.30 and put him to bed at 9. He wakes up at 8am the next morning. The problem is that he's rarely asleep before 10 as he spends an hour getting up, sitting at the stair gate until I come and put him back to bed. Always in silence, I never say anything. If I leave him he won't cry, he'll just lay on the landing or go into one of the bedrooms and get the cd's, dvd's, underwear, anything he can get his hands on.

He has an hour and half nap maybe twice or 3 days a week but even if he doesn't he still wont sleep before 10, even if he's up at 7, still nothing before 10. We can't eat any earlier and putting him to bed earlier makes no difference either.

How can we help him get to sleep?

Milliemuffin Tue 25-Aug-09 21:53:33

Should mention DC2 due December so really need to get this sorted.

hashim Tue 25-Aug-09 21:59:33

I wouldn't let him have so much sleep in the day. My daughter is 23 months and doesn't sleep at all during the day, except perhaps if we are in the car. She sleeps 7 til 7. This seems to be enough for her.

GwarchodwrPlant Tue 25-Aug-09 22:00:03

I'm sure he's overtired and when you are overtired you are running on adrenaline so it is impossible to fall off to sleep.

I would forget the evening meal together with toddler and feed him earlier, about 5pm, then start his wind down to be in bed for 7pm, then just leave him to it. He should get the message eventually.

Keep the afternoon nap to about an hour and between 1 and 3 pm so it's not too close to bedtime.

Milliemuffin Tue 25-Aug-09 22:11:00

4 days a week he DOESN'T sleep during the day and eating as a family is something I've always done, right through my childhood and its something I want to continue. Its the only real time we sit down as a family.

angrypixie Tue 25-Aug-09 22:13:27

We don't let our 20 month old nap after 2pm. He eats dinner at 5pm and bath followed by milk & bed at 7pm. I think he's eating too late, can't family meals be for the weekend until he is a bit older?

My dh gets home at 6.30pm so doesn't eat with my youngest but he always does his bath & milk so gets some 1 on 1 with him every day.

seeker Tue 25-Aug-09 22:18:01

Have you tried story tapes? Don't worry about him going to sleep - so long as he is in bed and listening to a story he's resting and not being a pain in the neck.

PitysSake Tue 25-Aug-09 22:19:06

id ignore teh activity - you can often get hyper when tired imo
just put him to bed earlier and sit outside wiht a magazine and say " bed"

nellie12 Tue 25-Aug-09 22:20:12

They are a nightmare at this age for going to sleep when they are put to bed. Ds2 is only just getting better and he is 4. All I can suggest is that you remove whatever it is he is playing with when you go in and tiring him out. Don't let him do much quiet (non active) activity and hope that gets him to sleep earlier.

I wouldn't be too bothered about the naps either when you have a duracell bunny child they need to catch up somewhere.

Have you thought about his diet and drinks? Anything sugary will keep him awake (I'm sure you know but its easy to slip up), bananas are supposed to be good for encouraging sleep.

He'll grow out of it eventually just work with it.

moaningminniewhingesagain Tue 25-Aug-09 22:20:52

Milliemuffin - my DD 2y5m is very similar. And evening routine v similar too, except DD still has a nap virtually every day. She is VILE without it, crying/whinging/falling over/massive strops.

I have a 8mo DS as well, and have just accepted it as the status quo for now - I like that DD doesn't get up til7.30/8ish as I'm still up with the little one several times a night, and while I would like my evenings back, DS doesn't really settle for the night til about 9ish anyway.

If he's not crying/shouting, just pottering around quietly, is it a huge problem? Or do you just feel he 'should ' be in bed earlier? I know I do sometimes, but I would rather keep things as they are than have her settle at 7.30pm every night but get up at 5.30/6 every morning?? I'm not a morning personblush

Sawyer64 Tue 25-Aug-09 22:25:22

I would agree with GwarchodwrPlant (Great name!)

Forego the "family dinner" until he is older,and more able to stay up.

Start a "wind down "Routine,like Dinner,Bath Story and Bed.

Move your Stairgate to his door frame maybe.Works for my DD's.

Plenty of time to resume the family meal time later.We just do it on the weekend ie. Sunday lunch.

If he doesn't cry out,"ignore" him (ie. keep an eye on him,but out of his sight.

If you have to,go back in his room,put him back to bed,and just reiterate that its sleep time now. Keep repeating this,as many times as you have to.

Eventually the new routine will alter his sleep pattern,if consistent,but you'll probably have to sacrifice the 8 am wake-up,might be 6 or 7 am instead.wink smile

morocco Tue 25-Aug-09 22:29:51

if you want him in bed earlier, you're going to have to sacrifice something, otherwise keep the routine going as it is. my dh often gets home at 6.30, he does the bath and story time with the kids - it's quiet time then not revving up time. do you plan on keeping up the late night meals once he's a bit older and at school? if not, then you could think about dropping the evening meal or maybe you could have your pudding then while your dh is eating his main?
the other thing you could try is to get him up at 7 regularly - if it just happens every once in a while it won't affect his sleep routine but hopefully a 7 am wake up call would eventually lead to a nice early bedtime. or how about even earlier = does your dh get up early for work? he could get him up and play with him before work while you nap upstairs, then he's had his time with your ds in the morning instead of the evening.
tbh if he's not making a fuss about being awake it might not make much difference once your new baby arrives - just stick a stair gate on his door so he's not wandering round upstairs and leave him to it.

Milliemuffin Tue 25-Aug-09 22:33:26

Thankyou ladies, I'll show DP what you've all said and we'll have a think about what we want to change.

crazycrofter Tue 25-Aug-09 23:13:29

I'd second what morocco says about getting him up earlier. I used to think children 'should' sleep for 12 hours at night, but I now think that's rubbish! Some sleep for 13 hours, some only need 10 hours - they vary, just like adults! My dd has only ever needed 11 hours in 24 at the most, and now it's usually 10 (she's 5). You have to accept that you lose out at one end of the day or the other and work out which suits you best!

Now dd is at school, she has to be up early anyway, so she tends to sleep 8/8.30 till 6.30/7 in term time. In holidays, as she doesn't have to be up in the morning, she's still buzzing at 9.30/10. But at least now she's 5 she can entertain herself for the 1 or 2 hours between going up to bed and sleeping. I've accepted now that she can't just go straight to sleep, she really does have to keep up the activity until she collapses in exhaustion! The plus side is that she's coped with school with no hiccups at all. Whilst her peers were exhausted, grumpy, falling asleep over their tea etc in the first term, she was fine and her sleep pattern didn't change at all.

By the way, we often eat together at 7 because i'm not back from work till then 3 days a week and it does work. But at least one or two days a week I feed the children earlier (I also have a 3 year old) so they can get an early night.

VulpusinaWilfsuit Tue 25-Aug-09 23:27:04

But equally some children need more sleep to sleep well at night, bizarrely. A nap during the day really does work for some kids to help them wind down earlier.

And the eating as a family. Yup. We love that too, but if it's any later than 6 it becomes a banshee nightmare. You may have to compromise on when you do it if it is a dealbreaker... DH will have to go to work earlier and come home earlier? As he's doubtless more physically (if not economically) able to shift his schedule than a demanding toddler. They are not endlessly flexible, and sometimes you gotta give not them.

RumourOfAHurricane Tue 25-Aug-09 23:33:58

Message withdrawn

luckylady74 Tue 25-Aug-09 23:49:23

You're kind of keeping continental type hours with ds - so eating later and putting him to bed later. I know people who have done this because it suited them and the hours they kept - so everyone wnet to bed late and got up late, the kids had big siestas in the day.All had to change when they went to school.
However, you seem to want him to go to sleep earlier so you need to change his routine, earlier meal and more nap can work as can wearing him out more earlier in the day.

Milliemuffin Thu 27-Aug-09 10:09:49

15mins?? Who does it in 15mins?? He has his milk deliberately half an hour before I do his nappy so he goes to bed nice and dry and will stay that way. It takes an hour because thats the way we like to do it, we don't rush him before bed. He sits down and drinks his milk with daddy and then we do a story after teeth so yeah it takes about an hour, I don't see anything wrong with that at all. I honestly don't see that condensing it all into 15mins would make him sleep any earlier. You're suggesting he go to bed with a belly full of milk which isn't good at any age, or so I thought??

Anyway, yesterday he was up at 7:30 and didnt nap and was asleep by 8:45 last night however this may have something to do with the fact DP didnt get home from work til gone 9 as he was at a conference in london so we did have dinner at 6pm. Possibly going to get him down for a nap at 1 as we have to go out at 2:30 so hopefully we'll get another early night tonight...

franklymydear Thu 27-Aug-09 10:12:30

that's too late for a toddler and he's overtired so overstimulated

If it was me, and this is just advice

I'd feed him earlier (5ish) you'll just have to forgo family meals until weekend

- he needs to be abed by 7.30 at latest IMO and rather than dad playing he should be doing bathtime, story, milk, bedtime

it will be hellish to change for a week but I think you need to because that's IMO a ridiculous bedtime for a 2 year old

castille Thu 27-Aug-09 10:33:45

frankly - Only in Britain is it considered "ridiculous"shock to put at 2yo to bed at 8! None of my children has ever been to bed before 8 and we have never had a problem with early waking or getting up for school.

Millie - there is nothing wrong with what you're doing. Please don't forgo the family dinner - it's lovely and really important IMO for eating together in the evenings to be part of your family routine.

It sounds like your DS just doesn't need a huge amount of sleep. DD1 was the same at that age, including the getting out of bed endlessly. It's very wearing, but she grew out of it. 2 is little to cut out all daytime naps but if he just isn't a big sleeper it might be the best solution. Do it gradually and see how he handles it.

tryingtoleave Thu 27-Aug-09 11:14:44

Millie, we did what you are doing for ages. DS went to bed late (around 9.30) and got up late. He usually did a long afternoon nap so it suited us. But eventually the nap got shorter, and he started missing it some days, and the bedtime got later so we decided we had to change and we stopped his afternoon nap. I think there is a big difference between missing a nap some days and never napping because he soon started going to bed at seven. BUT, that meant that he started getting up earlier (six, and during one horrible phase, five). So, if you're happy with late nights and mornings and family meals (I also liked that, but then discovered that eating in peace is also nice) it's probably best to keep things as they are for now.

giddykipper Thu 27-Aug-09 11:36:41

DH also gets home at 6:30pm and we all sit down for family dinner, but I can still get DS in bed by 7:30pm. I get him bathed and in PJs before dinner, food is on the table as soon as DH gets through the door, once we have eaten DH takes him to brush teeth, read stories and into bed, so does get some time with him. Bedtime milk has been sacrificed, he has plenty during the day.

Stigaloid Thu 27-Aug-09 11:41:12

Ah we just had this problem - we moved DS1 into a big boy bed and think the excitement also got too much so he played up.

We are also due DC2 in December so needed to get it nipped in bud.

We cut down his lunchtime nap to 40 mins for a few days (it is back up to 1 hour again now)

We used times to tell him what we were doing ' in 10 mins we are having a bath' 'in 5 mins we are having a bath'

'in 5 mins we are getting out of the bath and brushing our teeth'

'in 2 mins we are reading a story'

'after 3 books we are going to bed'

We also used a reward chart with stars. We give him a star for everynight he goes to sleep nicely and stays in bed. Next week we are taking him to Legoland as his reward for being so good.

We also did the returning to bed. First time, please get in bed. Second time, get in bed, Third time in silence etc.

He now goes down at 7:30 and we wake him at 7am. If he wakes in the night and comes to find us we walk him back to bed and tell him it is still night night time and he goes back to sleep.

Took about 10 days to get back into a good sleep routine but has worked for last 3 weeks.

He turned 2 at beginning of July so same age as your DS.

Good luck.

Milliemuffin Sat 29-Aug-09 21:52:34

Hi girls, we decided DP gets DS up at 7:30am and spends half an hour with him before he goes to work and then I get up at 8 and give him breakfast. We have early lunch and then I try and get him down for nap about 1ish. If he wont then I keep him awake til bedtime and he's been in bed by 9 every night and we just had one night where he was awake til 9:20 but tonight he was asleep by 8:30! woohoo!! It's still early days but the signs are looking good so far smile thankyou for your help xx

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