Early mornings - am I getting this all wrong?(36 Posts)
My 2.3yo is waking up really early and I feel really anxious that I am dealing with it all wrong.
Typical morning today: he wakes at 0550 shouting for us. DH goes straight in, tucks him in and says shhhh it's nighttime and leaves room.
He settles for 5 mins and then starts sobbing hysterically. We rush straight in cos we don't want him to wake up his older brother in the room next door (4yo just started reception, knackered as it is, does not need 6am wake up).
We bring him into our bed and cuddle/shhhh him but he is in some kind of weird toddler rage and won't stop angry crying.
DH and I have a whispered row about how best to deal with him and then at 0615 DH whips his phone out and puts swashbuckle on for him to watch and lo and behold he calms right down.
I feel really anxious that he is playingus like a fiddle! I don't want him watching CBeebies on a phone before 0630 BUT he wouldn't calm down, I didn't want DS1 being woken up early and then struggling at school and I refuse to take him downstairs before 0645am! I work 4 days a week in a stressful job and am constantly knackered.
What would you have done differently if anything? Should I stop/limit his daytime nap and see if that improves things? He sleeps for 1hr after lunch each day and still seems to really need it (no fucking wonder when he is up before 6!!).
His back teeth are cutting through so it might be that? But if he was really in pain I don't think swashbuckle would work would it??
Can't escape the feeling that we are fucking this all up. Not helped by the fact that I stayed at my friend's house last week and her 4yo and 1yo sleep like angels and need to be woken up in the morning for school/nursery 😡😡
What is she doing right that i am getting so wrong??
Mine (10, 4 and 3) need to be woken for school/nursery, but I’ve just crawled back into bed after being up with DS2 (3) since 3.15am because of the storm.
I think 6am is relatively normal for his age, and it’s a phase that should pass. If watching tv programmes on a phone gives you an extra half hour of sleep why not? It sounds like you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to do things “perfectly” when in reality there is no perfect. I’m probably not making much sense because I’m done in, but what I’m trying to say is, do what you need to do and don’t be too hard on yourself.
I think that 6ish can be normal for some toddlers, unfortunately. IME parents can have good evenings or good mornings but not both. Ours were terrible at going to bed but always slept until we got up.
I'd cut yourself some slack with CBeebies this week but go cold turkey with it over the weekend when the crying doesn't matter. Otherwise he might get up earlier and earlier to watch TV!
Oh, I would definitely try cutting out the nap. You can always reintroduce it if he can't cope.
I think if you have an early waker, you have an early waker and have to manage it in a way that helps you all survive. I'm about to go and wake my 12 yr old up - but at that age I'd have been thrilled by him sleeping as late as 5:50, and indeed until a few months ago my rule was that if he slept in I left him because he probably needed it, it was so rare (and usually meant he was ill). Even after a late night he rarely managed catchup sleep until several days after.
What helped was having a clear idea about what I would allow / accept / aim for at what times and then doing my best to stick to it. Early morning television was certainly part of the recipe. Having something you let them have in bed / in their room if they will play quietly, will be really important; but you have to help them learn that. I agree that eventually "giving in" and letting them have something to watch can be making a rod for your own backs, so try to set a rule and decide when it is allowed and say so.
Some of those decisions really need to be made in the cold light of day, not when it is 5 in the morning [I had to work quite hard to get my son to wake up later than 5 and when we eventually reached 6 am after several years I was very happy]
He's still very young but not too young to learn. Maybe you can start with a goal of 6 am (that can then be shifted later). So if he wakes before that time, say, shh it's not 6 o'clock yet. Here's your teddy / whatever. And then GO BACK IN when it is 6 and say ok, it's 6 now, and allow him to get out of bed have a story with you or watch something or whatever you decide to allow. The key to this is that if you establish it, you then can say, you need to be quiet now (before 6) and then you can have X; and if they won't settle you can (eventually) say, you didn't stay quiet, no X.
Good luck establishing a pattern. I think the key is perhaps to develop some routine and to stay in charge, within reason. Flexibility and exceptions to routine are good; but allowing a situation to develop longer term when a toddler is essentially "in charge" is what you probably want to avoid.
6 am isn't that early
Loads of parents use tv on a device to get some extra rest in the morning
Don't overthink it!
That's not early,that's normal time for a toddler ime.
I'd be happy with 5.50 to be honest as that's pretty close to 6. But you can try cutting the nap or slowly putting him to bed later. The clocks will change soon so he will wake up even earlier for a couple of days.
Agree it is normal wake up time for that age.
6am is quite a usual time for a toddler to wake up. What time does he go to bed? If he goes 7pm_6am that is eleven hours sleep!
Do you or your partner not have to get up then anyway for work/morning routine before school run?
I would not have let him watch swashbuckle because v soon that will become a learnt behaviour!
DD woke at 4.45 am for years, nearly broke me. However she canme into bed with us and read her books. Then she watched TV downstairs whilst I had a coffee & snoozed on the sofa. Even now as a tween she’s awake at 6 am.
6am does seem normal for this age.
What about one of those clocks that show when he’s allowed to get up and out of bed.
Think it glows a certain colour.
You could try explaining that he can get up and play with toys or books (quietly) but he’s not to leave room till his special clock says so.
Not sure a 2.5 year old would show this much restraint (mine certainly couldn’t!) but if you think he would and it would help then it’s worth a try.
I also think an extra 45mins - 1 hour of screen time won’t have for the pay off of more rested parents is worth it.
Agree normal for toddler. I would let him in bed with you the first time, sounds like it just works him up trying to put him back to bed.
I always used to let DS play on my phone if I couldn't get him to settle. It does not last forever. Soon you'll be able to use a gro clock or similar, with a sticker chart for staying in bed (or TV as reward only after a certain time for staying in room).
6am is normal, my 2 and 4 yos have always got up about this time. Obviously if you don’t start work until later then it seems like the middle of the night but it’s definitely a normal wake up time for little ones. I’d just get up, it’s a better alternative than tantrums and using the phone if it doesn’t sit right with you.
What time is bedtime? I think looking at overall sleep might help but if your LO needs a nap to get through the afternoon then there’s not much you can do.
You're not doing anything wrong, it's just different kids doing different things. I gave myself such a hard time during my dd's babyhood because ante natal friends' kids seemed to be perfect sleepers. Mine was...NOT! But it was just her. My dd watches quite a lot of TV in the morning so we can crack on with getting on with stuff. We take her out, do other activities so I don't feel bad.
It's normal for toddlers to wake up at this time - he probably wakes up and just wants to be with you. At that age they are too young to reason with. Our granddaughter regularly stays overnight with us on a Saturday and wakes at a similar time. We just take her into our bed and she is quite happy to just snuggle down and we can doze for a while. I would see if he can settle in your bed without the phone as it would be more restful for you. You don't want to encourage him to expect the phone if you can avoid it. Don't drop his nap, being overtired disrupts night time sleep rather than helping it. If you take him into bed with you straight away he won't get to the stage of getting really upset.
Our 2 year old really benefitted from a gro-clock to give her a sense of what point in the night it was. Perhaps worth a try?
I would have been happy with anything after 5 am tbh.
I used to get up at 5 with ds2, creep downstairs and give him bananas and milk and make a strong coffee for me.
At least you have electronic devices and cbeebies.
If you possibly can you have to go to bed early yourselves.
It doesnt last forever.
Thanks all - will try not to compare him to friends kids as I know comparison is the thief of joy etc etc.
He goes to bed around 1930, usually asleep by 2000. Have tried putting him down earlier than that but he just won't have it. At the moment he really resists going to sleep until his big brother is in bed too (around 1945) cos he knows DS1 is downstairs having "big boy time" - whole other thread. So might try cutting the nap down and see what happens.
I disagree with DH about the phone/CBeebies thing! I am worried that DS2 is now waking early for a couple of sneaky episodes on dh's phone cos he has somehow clocked that he he gets this early in the morning.....so agree we might have to try and set a limit on this (only after 6 for example, and then try to push that back over time).
The older one has a grow clock and still uses it so might try to buy another one cheap on eBay or something...might be worth a try.
Thanks for your ideas!
I wouldn't introduce any sort of device as it will discourage him settling back down again by himself.
Into bed with you or books in bed or quiet toys and a gro clock.
dd2 has always been an early waker.
We have a house rule that morning isn't until 7 am, so basically our aim was to gradually teach her to entertain herself until 7. At 2.3 she climbed into out bed.
We gradually put specific toys out and reminded her to play when she got up (she has been able to climb out of bed since she was 18 months old). She gradually learned to potter for 5 minutes before she came in to us, and then the time increased.
By the time she was 5 it worked !
6am is normal for kids, my 5yo is still up at that time every day! Mine sleep 8pm-6am and always have done. They just seem to have had enormous that sleep by then.
I don't think your toddler is trying to wake for CBeebies on the phone.. they are just awake. I'd just leave them to it and roll over for an hour
I would bring him in to bed with you when he wakes up and have a cuddle and see if you can all go back to sleep. If not, I would wake up and have some time together in bed before you get up for the day. Personally, I don't think 5:50 is an insanely early wake up time, though this is coming from someone who often leaves for work by 5:45. When mine was younger though, I'd just bring her in to bed and have a cuddle. Often she would go back to sleep for another 30-60 minutes and I could doze as well. If not, it at least meant we didn't have to go from asleep to fully awake and up for the day straight away at 5:50. As a rule, I wouldn't do screen time that early. On occasion, it's fine for emergencies (like when you're sick or have had a really rough night of sleep yourself and just need a little more sleep so you can get through the day). But I think it does create bad habits if it comes to be expected every time they wake up. I'm much for a fan of just trying to cuddle and go back to sleep if you can. If he has slept longer before, likely all of this will pass in time, so hopefully it's just temporary.
OP I would have been over the moon if my 2yos had been asleep by 8!! They couldn't sleep before 9.30 for years but were never awake before 8am. It's swings and roundabouts.
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