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early waking in 2.5yr old. At the end of my patience

(14 Posts)
tomhan187 Sun 23-Feb-14 05:43:49

I know this has probably been covered a million times but I'm new to the forum and couldn't find much When searching, so apologies.

My 2.5 year old is waking routinely at 4.30-5am. I'm at breaking point. He's been doing it since he turned 2 in September. He comes out of his room and just potters around or tries to get in our bed. We tell him it's still bedtime, point out his Gro Clock and put him back in bed. I never take him downstairs before 6am - that's when his Gro Clock turns to daytime.

We have tried everything:

-Changing nap duration longer or shorter (he has an hour 12.30-1.30 usually). He's not ready to drop his nap. He is exhausted by 10am. A longer nap leads to him messing around for hours at night time.

-Changing evening meal time. We eat between 5-5.30pm

-Changing bedtime. Generally the later he goes to bed the earlier he wakes, but going too early means he's still waking early but is more awake as he's had a big chunk of sleep. He usually goes at 7pm.

-Keeping him really busy in the day. Makes to difference at all.

Ignoring him in the morning isn't an option. I won't pen him in his room with a stair gate. He needs to sleep longer. He's not ready to wake when he does. I could face it more if he woke bright eyed, but he's generally ok for an hour or two then turns into an overtired horror. He will only nap once a day, so giving him a catnap in the morning doesn't work either as he then refuses to nap for the rest of the day.

Any miraculous tips?!

My husband and I are constantly snapping at each other and I end up crying most days as I'm 30w pregnant, tired and hormonal. My husband works shifts and does get up on the days he's not working early/late, which helps me but doesn't solve the problem.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Sun 23-Feb-14 06:30:58

I have huge sympathy but not sure what to suggest.

My son slept better at night if he had plenty of sleep in the day and my other son needed to get out in the afternoon otherwise he wouldn't sleep through. Sounds daft but we stayed in one day and he woke up.

Try and get out between 2-4pm, maybe try a few days of not trying to force anything and see when he naturally wants to eat and sleep in the day.

Is your husband waking him when he gets up on his early mornings? Have you got black out curtains? Is he waking as his nappy is wet? Is he hungry?

DaftSkunk Sun 23-Feb-14 06:43:11

I have the same issue at the moment with ds, who is 3.5. I am using a reward chart which seems to be working and he stays in bed until 6. Although your son is younger, is this worth a go?

SmileAndNod Sun 23-Feb-14 06:58:08

Dc1 is also like this. He's now six. People said he would sleep better once he started school. They lied. We're too at breaking point and he needs more sleep. Will watch for any suggestions we've not yet tried. You have my sympathy, though can't suggest anything different as in same boat!

TheGreatHunt Sun 23-Feb-14 08:50:26

How long have you tried putting him to bed earlier for? Because I would give it at least a week for him to catch up on lost sleep as early waking will be making him overtired.

I would also give him a longer nap til 2 ish as well.

If this has been going on the last 5 months that's pretty much since it got colder in the night. Make sure he's warm enough. I had to pop an extra blanket over ds when I went to bed as the temp drops at around 3/4am and slowly wakes them up even if the heating was on. Either that or keep heating on overnight. Again you need to give it s week or so.

RoganJosh Sun 23-Feb-14 08:54:00

I hate to say it, but I'd wait until the clocks change on case that helps.

Martorana Sun 23-Feb-14 08:54:09

Don't shoot me- but what happens if you scoop him straight into your bed and cuddle up? Does h go back to sleep then?

newtonupontheheath Sun 23-Feb-14 08:57:54

I was going to say put him in your bed!

My ds has only just started "lying in" til 6ish at 3 and a half. He still comes into our bed most mornings though to eke it out a bit later.

Also, is he cold? That wakes my ds up. He now has a proper single duvet on his junior bed to keep him warm and it's made a huge difference to his sleeping

Nevercan Sun 23-Feb-14 09:02:11

My dd2 2.5 wakes at 5.30-6 which I can just about live with but doesnt snooze during the day anymore. I go to bed early as well to try and cram in some extra sleep

dancemom Sun 23-Feb-14 09:07:55

Wake to sleep method, if he is tired when he wakes then this should work

junowiththegladrags Sun 23-Feb-14 09:21:23

Grow clock? Ds was a nightmare, getting up 7-8 times in a night and up for the day from 5 am.

Now he'll usually wait until the clock changes and is very pleased with himself about it.

We went in fifteen minute increments so initially set it at his usually time until we got to 7 am which we can all live with. He actually slept till 7:30 a couple of times this week! I see a big difference in his behaviour since also, probably we all feel better able for the day with a bit of sleep.

junowiththegladrags Sun 23-Feb-14 09:33:13

Sooo sorry, you've got the clock. The I do think the wake to sleep method is worth a try.
We did put a gate on the door which I know you don't want to try and fair enough, but with ds it helped.

tomhan187 Sun 23-Feb-14 10:48:51

Thanks everyone for the replies and sympathy!

I'll look into Wake to Sleep, thanks.

He is a super fidgety sleeper and always ends up with the duvet on the floor/upside down/sideways etc. He never seems to sleep peacefully. As such he's in PJs, socks and a fleecy all in one so shouldn't be cold. He certainly feels warm when he wakes.

I would love love love him to come into our bed for a little more sleep in the mornings. We're huge co-sleeping advocates. He slept in our bed until he was about 7 months old, then started to be unsettled with us. Now he loves his own space and if we put him with is it's just playtime. We've practically bear-hugged him for an hour before to try and convince him to snuggle back down!

Struggling to reply to everyone ...

Husband doesn't wake him I'm sure. Blackout curtains and blind are up in his room. Definitely not hungry as he doesn't ask for milk or breakfast for a good hour after waking.

Every new thing we try we give it at least a week.

I also like the idea of letting him nap/eat according to his own schedule so will see what pattern he neutrally falls into.

He's asking to go to bed so we're both going for a (hopefully) long sleep!

TheGreatHunt Sun 23-Feb-14 12:57:38

OK conversely could he be too hot? A fleecy all in one on top of PJs and a duvet sounds far too much unless your house is arctic?!

I would ditch the all in one.

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