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Dealing with early mornings (3.25 year old)?

(20 Posts)
QTPie Fri 17-May-13 07:53:13

DS has been coming into our bed at various times since we took the stairgate off of his doorway in about November. We are ok with this PROVIDING that he settles and goes to sleep: he does, this is fine.

However, recently DS has been waking up early 6/6.15am. I know that isn't very early compared with some, but too early for us (and we are used to DS being up between 7 and 8). When he wakes, he cannot stay still or quiet (so feet/heads in ribs, talking, clapping, pushing, flailing limbs....): neither husband nor I get any more sleep. DS is going through an "extra challenging" phase at the moment anyway and this is not helping to add to our patience sad.

What I aim to do is give him the choice of:
- either lie still and quietly in bed with us (but I really think this is a physical impossibility)
- or go and play with the toys in his room, which he refuses (point blank) to do.

Help! Husband and I find this particularly difficult to deal with - both of us are grumpy and unable to think on our feet at that time in the morning...

emoo777 Fri 17-May-13 08:11:03

Does he have one of those Gro clocks so that he understands if it is time to get up yet?

superbagpuss Fri 17-May-13 08:19:56

I second gro clock, keeps my two in their room and relatively quiet.

QTPie Fri 17-May-13 08:24:19

We have a gro clock, but he doesn't understand it (or refuses to).

We are having a "challenging time" anyway: he is being incredibly bosy and generally refusing to listen.

nextphase Fri 17-May-13 08:29:31

I think its easier to deal with your sleep patterns than his. Can you not just go to bed an hour earlier???
Honestly, I'd love mine to stay in bed til 6.15. It was 5.20 this morning. Hence me having been at work since 7 something.... Means I get to leave early, but I know I'm lucky to have flexi time, and not all can.

QTPie Fri 17-May-13 08:31:13

We have explained that it is not time to get up, that mummy and daddy still need to sleep. That he either must be quiet and still in our bed (which I do not think is possible or that he can play with the toys in his room. I fully believe that he understands the choices, but he is refusing.

The only thing that I can currently think of doing is threatening that his Daddy and I will go downstairs if he doesn't play in his room (the threat of me removing myself seems to be the only driver for him doing things these days).. I don't want to threaten it: firstly we will need to so it if he won't and secondly it doesn't make logical sense (ie doesn't really support that DH and I want to sleep in bed... We certainly don't want to give DS the impression that going downstairs early is an option at that time in the morning).

missmakesstuff Fri 17-May-13 08:33:04

Our just three year old does this too - coupled with difficult going to bed, sometimes taking an hour or more, plus waking well before 6am, sometimes 5am, she is tired, we are exhausted and we've all had enough.

I think we will try (yet another) reward chart, might buy a gro clock, and putting her to bed a little later, currently we aim for 7:30..but it isn't working well...

I have been told you should just bite the bullet, not let them in at all, just get up whenever they wake, keep enforcing that it is now morning, up we get etc, then eventually it will have the effect that they sleep better. It did work when DD woke early a year or so ago, she was getting up at 4am some mornings.

I will be interested to see how you get on - I am fed up with sharing my bed, being kicked, having toys shoved in my ears etc....

QTPie Fri 17-May-13 08:36:06

In some ways nextphase, yes, but in others, no: to be honest I have a strong opinion that DS should not be dictating what time we get up. I am happy for him to get up and play, but not happy for him to get us up.

DS is really going through a "Little Dictator" phase at the moment and I am very fed up...

nextphase Fri 17-May-13 08:51:36

What time have you set the gro clock for? Is it worth trying for 6.30 for a short while, and then shifting it back. I wouldn't push past 7am - there needs to be some compromise.
I tend to choose my battles - so 5 anything I won't get up, but 6 something, I will move. Washing hands before dinner/after toilet is essential, I'm the dictator there.
missmakes I'd agree with that for 4am/5am, but 6am really isn't THAT early - its socially acceptable, and some people are early risers.

Are you sure you need a later bedtime? The later mine go to bed, the earlier then get up....

Iwantmybed Fri 17-May-13 09:10:28

We had the TV on very quiet in our room and DD would watch milkshake at the end of our bed whilst we snoozed.

missmakesstuff Fri 17-May-13 13:30:52

Yep, the later bed time thing actually only works sometimes! We have had it backfire horribly...

Would agree that 6am is reasonable however not bloody fair when you have stayed up with a bottle of red and a crappy film. It is a PITA. I have to get ready for work at 6, used to be able to exercise before work, now I can't as DD is up so early and wants to play and will not let me get ready. She also needs a sleep during the day if she wakes that early, which doesn't always mean she will actually have one...cue stroppy child the rest of the afternoon.

DD got up at 5:30am this morning and got in our bed. I fell back to sleep, she got up, went downstairs, got herself a yoghurt and a spoon and turned on the TV to watch Milkshake. (actually quite complicated as sky and several buttons to get to it) Was looking very pleased with herself when I woke up 30mins later.

She is domination next?

The only thing you can do is ride it out I guess, we take it in turns to have a lie in at the weekend pretend to be asleep through the noise and just hope it passes.

QTPie Fri 17-May-13 23:15:00

Thank you very much for your posts smile

I wish that I could trust DS to go downstairs and sort himself out for breakfast etc... I love him dearly, but I just don't trust his "inquisitiveness". He is an amazingly independent, inquisitive, confident child and this is quite scary when "unsupervised" - does this make sense?

DS WILL go to his room with an iPad and probably would play with that for an hour or so by himself (mainly watching chapters from Toy Story, Shrek or Up), BUT I just feel that I don't want to encourage this (the same with plonking him infront of the TV between 6 and 7). I worry that he will just get up earlier and earlier and demand iPad/TV. We have always "encouraged" "night is night" since he was tiny (i.e. not taking him downstairs etc before 7 - except when he was really little). Am I just being ridiculously "anal" here? (please answer kindly grin ).

His gro clock is set to about 7.15 (used to be completely achievable - he would generally wake at 7.30am), but the problem is that he tends to come into us quite a bit before that (sometimes in the middle of the night). I know that we could (should?) take him back to his own bed when he comes in, but I like an "open door" policy and to be there for him (reassuring and security) if he needs it (although it is habit now really, since he does it every night).

I would just LOVE to be able to have a "mutual respect" type arrangement: he is very welcome to come in with us, providing he respects our wish to sleep (and, if he wants to be awake, then goes and plays/reads by himself). Yes, I know, expecting far too much from a 3 year old...blush

DS has his bath at 7.45pm, in bed by about 8.15pm. Can't really be earlier since DH doesn't get home until near enough 7.30pm (he does bath time). He has always had this later bed time. DS does still normally nap (1.5 hours in the afternoon), but this has been on and off since starting preschool (after Easter). The last couple of days he has not napped, but still waking up for the day at about 6am.

The "Little Dictator" thing is mainly bossiness:
- insisting on being the person who opens doors and gates and presses lift buttons (even pushing a stranger out of the way recently sad ).
- tell me which routes to drive the car along and throwing a fit if I don't adopt his chosen route or go over the bumps hard enough or he fell asleep and missed the bumps.
- throwing a fit if we aren't going to his choice of park/activity.
- not wanting to wash hands when getting in from the park or before dinner.
- always insisting on running down our drive (which is a blind turn up from the road) - scares the life out of me, incase someone is driving up.

He seems to want control over everything: which is neither practical or, i think, a good precedent...

I am sure that it will get better... it is quite probably a reaction to quite a lot of change recently (in particular starting preschool - which he loves, but which is a whole new world...).


QTPie Fri 17-May-13 23:15:58

missmakesstuff, if your DD wants a "partner is crime" for world domination, I think that my DS would be up for the job! wink

lolalotta Sat 18-May-13 06:23:50

I think he is waking early from over tiredness, since it appears he is ready to drop the day time nap, 8.15pm is a late bedtime IMHO! We are early birds in this house, my 3.5 year old goes to bed at 6.30pm and wakes between 6.00am and 6.30am. I make sure I'm in bed by 10.00pm to cope with the early starts. I do baths, her Dad doesn't always get home in time to see her before bedtime but I believe her sleep is more important. The way I figure it, in just over a year we will have to get them up at a decent time to get them ready for school anyway!

wannabestressfree Sat 18-May-13 06:33:45

I agree with Lola. 8.15 is very late. My 9 year old ds goes to bed at 7.30 and needs it or he is tired. Can you not drop the nap and put to bed earlier?

I am so used to be woken early by my three sons that I am chatting on here and they won't surface until 8 or 9 this morning. It's lovely go be able to lay here and read though.

MaryQueenOfSpots Sat 18-May-13 06:43:41

Have you tried 3 strike rule? Tell him what you expect - ie being quiet and still. Then he goes on a warning the first time he chats etc, then second warning if he does it again, then for a third offence he is returned to his room (there will be total meltdown, obviously).

We always went back in his room after 3-4 minutes and reflected on things - ie asked him "why did mummy have to put you in your room?" and "next time you come in our bed what will you do?" and then ask him if he wanted to try again.

Then we gave in and bought a tv for our room grin

pizzaqueen Sat 18-May-13 07:11:09

I would say the Gro clock is set far too late. If he usually gets up at 6:15 then set it for 6:20, be strong in returning him to bed and telling him to stay their until the sun Is up. Then once he's got it move it back by 5mins a week. It's too long to make him wait for the sun at say 7:30 if he's up at 6:30.

Saying that I don't think 6-6:30 is really that early for a 3 year old. I realise you're tired but you might just need to get used to it.

My DS woke at 4:30-5am everyday for over a year, nothing worked, it was absolute he'll. I've never been so tired in my whole life. Eventually he began to understand the Gro clock and we've pushed him back to 6:20. But that's his limit he just won't sleep any later and we've just had to adjust. I'm still knackered but its better than 5am!!

BetsyBell Sat 18-May-13 07:15:16

Something that worked for us was to remind the night before that if you wake up before [groclock] wakes up (was a bunny clock in our case) then you won't get X tomorrow. In our case it was electronics time and we had to escalate it to not getting tv. If DCs were noisy too early then I'd go in and remind them - no X today if you don't go back to sleep. Usually that would be enough but if not then that day they would lose X and be reminded why throughout the day.

There would also be a reward if they did achieve quiet when we knew they'd had to try really hard to be quiet.

Obviously it's important to be consistent with this approach and the pre-sleep reminder is important.

They are older now and usually fine in the mornings but I must admit I've just had to pop in their room and tell they'll lose their games time today if they don't pipe down. Works like a charm!

stainesmassif Sat 18-May-13 07:52:09

It's normal for three year olds to be little dictators. You just have to ride out the tantrums. I find them quite amusing. Bedtime definitely sounds too late tho. And tbh, I think you are expecting a lot and sending out quite mixed messages.

I would think about returning ds to his bed in the night and not letting him return til an acceptable time. Though 6-6.30 is ok in our house. And definitely go to bed earlier!!

onceipopicantstop Sat 18-May-13 08:08:32

This is just like my ds - 3yrs 3mo! If he wakes at 6 we consider that a lie in! We've tried various strategies including a gro clock but he quickly worked out that if he turned it off at the wall and back on the sun face came back on!! Cue "Mummy the sun's up" at 5am!! Haven't worked out a way of plugging it in out of his reach in his room yet!

He comes into our bed most nights and we try and take him back into his room once he's asleep. I know we should be taking him back as soon as he appears but its hard when we're tired and know its going to be a battle!

Mostly we just accept that he's naturally an early riser - and hope it might improve as he gets older!

Oh and is also a 3 year old dictator! Who knew 3 year olds could be so bossy and opinionated?! grin

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