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What do you do with a child who won't (can't?) switch off?

(11 Posts)
BertieBotts Tue 25-Sep-12 20:26:31

DS is nearly 4 and just suddenly this has started, granted it was triggered by DP (who works abroad) coming home for a week and then leaving, but it's been two weeks now and I'm starting to wonder how he's even getting up in the mornings!

I've tried sitting with him, and I've tried leaving him to it, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. He's not upset at being left he just seems really wired, it's like he can't switch off. I can hear him making up little games with his toys up there - I keep telling him just to lie down quietly in bed if he can't sleep, and that I don't want to hear him talking or moving around and he says okay, but he's not getting to sleep until around 9pm most nights!

What should I do now? I thought about trying a story CD or something, but I don't know if that would just make it worse. Or does it mean I need to move his bedtime? Currently he goes upstairs at 7/7.30ish but then we read stories which takes about half an hour.

poachedeggs Tue 25-Sep-12 20:31:07

Try putting him down earlier? Overtired people can't switch off. A story CD could be helpful. I think routine is the most important so whatever you decide, stick to it!

elfycat Tue 25-Sep-12 20:43:22

DD1 at 3.5yo has just started staying up late, often to 9pm, sometimes later. I put her to bed and go hide in my room. Sometimes she goes down, but sometimes she goes downstairs, turns lights on and plays. It's been 3-4 months now and otherwise she appears well, no more tired than any other child. She wakes between 0730 and 0830 in the morning, I wake her at 0730 for nursery on those days. She'll have short naps occasionally but then so do I. Very rarely she'll go to sleep at 1900ish and she will take herself off.

The worst thing was not having time to myself in the evenings as that was when I do my OU study. Initially I was annoyed, but I've accepted it now. She's getting 9 hours sleep a night and it seems to be all she needs and I'd rather she slept until 7am. My friend gets her DC to bed earlier but is then up at 5am shock

BertieBotts Tue 25-Sep-12 20:46:08

It's not possible for me to put him down earlier as some days I don't get home from work until 7pm anyway. Obviously on those days I don't try to put him to bed straight away, we have half an hour or so winding down time doing a quiet or relaxing activity where he can get back into home mode, and then go up for stories and bed.

I am trying to limit the days I'm in until 6, though. Do a lot of 3/4 year olds really go to bed before 7 then? I hadn't even considered it as a possibility really.

BertieBotts Tue 25-Sep-12 20:47:38

Oh don't say that elfy! sad I don't think I can cope without my evenings! How do you go out etc?

knackeredmother Tue 25-Sep-12 20:48:47

My 2 dc (nearly 5 and 2) rarely go to sleep before 9, up at 7-8am. Some kids just don't need sleep. We seem slightly obsessed with a 7 o clock 'put down' in this country. My eldest has just started full time school and has more energy than ever!
Tonight we went swimming at 7pm and I brought them home in their pyjamas. They've both just dropped off at 8.40 which is quite good going for us. Perhaps worth a try to tire him out?

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 25-Sep-12 20:51:39

DS has never ever been able to settle himself well. He has story CDs, which are brilliant because he can either have them on with his lamp on while he reads or with the light off and eyes shut to help him drift off to sleep. Same as me, really: unless I'm shattered I can't settle without the TV or radio on in the bedroom.

BertieBotts Tue 25-Sep-12 20:54:58

I can't drive, so swimming late is out as I'd have to walk home and it would be all dark and cold now!

He's just been to the toilet for about the eleventh time hmm I did take him to the doctor but they said there was nothing wrong with him.

elfycat Tue 25-Sep-12 20:59:04

BertieBotts we've just found a great babysitter who doesn't mind playing snap and watching the pixar back-catalogue. smile

DH and I are owls, we can't expect the DDs to be larks. I'll just have to squeeze study into an ever-decreasing time slot.

BertieBotts Tue 25-Sep-12 21:02:24

You have a very good (and maddening) point there...

Can I hide him away in his bedroom if I want to have friends over for the evening? This is pretty much my only social life at the moment shock

elfycat Tue 25-Sep-12 21:10:01

DD1 tends to stay up even if we have guests (also our social life) often having second dinner (she eats chinese and indian food it seems). Usually the Pixar range is good for a quiet evening and we save her favorite films for this purpose.

Hopefully it'll be a phase and she'll grow out of it and do earlier bedtimes soon.

Even Pandora had hope left in her box. Right?

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