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How to deal with early rising toddler - help needed!

(11 Posts)
OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus Mon 10-Mar-14 09:19:20

DH and I are at loggerheads about how to deal with our early rising toddler.

DS is 2 years and 2 months old. He�s never been a fabulous sleeper and whilst things are a great deal better than they were (he normally doesn�t wake much in the night any more hurrah) he wants to get up very early, from 5am. A week ago we got him a gro-clock and he does seem to understand what it does � he will tell you when asked that when the blue stars are on he is to go back to sleep, when yellow sun he an get up. But he doesn�t do it. The clock has been set 6.30 as the night before we started he had slept until about 6.15. However most nights he is waking at 5-5.10, some earlier. Some nights he will moan for a minute or two and go back to sleep until about 5.45. Other mornings he won�t. We haven�t been taking him out of his cot until 6.30 but what he wants (when we won�t get him out) is for us to sit in the chair next to his bed and stay with him, preferably me, although generally doesn�t . He also wants us to sit in the chair whenever he is going to sleep at nap or in the evening. If you try to leave whilst he is awake he gets

Other relevant points
-He generally naps well in the day for about 1.30-2 hours, normally after his lunch
-He is normally in his cot at 7.45pm and asleep soon afterwards
-About once a week we find his nappy has leaked in the night although this doesn�t seem to overly bother him
-There is no light coming into his room when he is waking, only source of light being the groclock which is on a low light setting, nor is there any noise starting that might wake him
-He is in a cot in a grobag.
-We have a family member living with us and I feel bad about noise disturbing them at night. They sometimes comment on this which makes me feel worse.
-The temperature in his room seems fine and his temp seems fine
-He is not ill at the moment
-I would be willing to settle for a 6am get up time if necessary but I can�t get up at 5 regularly and DH refuses
-Us going to bed a great deal earlier is impractical for various reasons

DH�s approach is that we need to tough it out and that DS is trying to �control� us by making us go sit with him. This morning when DS didn�t go back to sleep at 5 and didn�t respond to us speaking to him through the monitor to reassure him and tell him to go back to sleep, DH just took the monitor off me and turned the sound off with a view to keeping it like that until 6.30. I�m unhappy with that and we ended up having a disagreement in the middle of the night which made everyone unhappy.

So basically how do we best go about implementing the message to DS that he needs to go back to sleep until the �yellow sun� comes on the groclock without making him cry it out? Any help much appreciated

OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus Mon 10-Mar-14 09:35:15

Sorry for all the random question marks in diamonds, had copied and pasted in - need to preview in future!

KatAndKit Mon 10-Mar-14 09:41:24

Firstly your husband is being unreasonable. You can't just ignore a two year old for an hour and a half. He can't just refuse to do the aspects s of parenting that don't suit him.

Secondly you ought to try shorter naps if your son is waking up happy at 5am. See if cutting it to one hour helps.

Thirdly try gradual retreat at bedtime. Once he learns to go to sleep without you next to him, he may go back to sleep at 5am without you. This really made a huge difference to us and resulted in our toddler sleeping through at last.

sillymillyb Mon 10-Mar-14 09:46:15

I was coming on to say exactly what pp has!

First I'd cut his nap to an hour and see what that does, but secondly I'd kick your Dh into shape and tell him he has to help - he can't just choose what time he starts parenting!

Lastly, could your dc be hungry and that's why he is waking? I sometimes find if if give ds weetabix in the bath he sleeps a bit later.

I hope things get sorted for you soon smile

OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus Mon 10-Mar-14 10:06:30

Does cutting naps really help? I totally get how logically it should but most of what I've said suggests it doesn't? The odd time he's had a shorter nap for one reason or another he hasn't slept any better in fact sometimes it has been worse. Certainly when he was younger if he had shorter naps or missed them then his nighttime sleep was worse.

At night time we do normally let him to go sleep by himself unless he gets very upset - what I meant was that he wants us to stay and asks us too. He shouts for a few minutes when we leave the room but normally only a few and then goes to sleep.

I don't think it is hunger - he doesn't normally have breakfast until 7-7.30 regardless of the time he gets up and seems perfectly happy with that.

Believe it or not, Dh is better with nighttimes than he used to be!

sisterofcaleb Tue 11-Mar-14 07:17:53

I wonder if maybe u were ambitious with setting it at 6:30 to start with. Can totally see why you would do that but I think the 6:15 the previous day was prob just an anomaly. My understanding is you need to set it near their natural wake up time then creep it forward to a realistic target over the course of a couple weeks in 5/10 min increments? So maybe start at 5 or 5:10 with a goal of getting to 6 ultimately? That way he gets to experience success rather than failure and hopefully motivate him to stick with it.

I haven't used it yet tho, waiting too!! My son only 20 months at the moment. So feel free to ignore me!

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Tue 11-Mar-14 07:33:49

We're using a gro clock as well for 2.2 yr old. We've just done what Sister suggests and brought the time forward so it's within 5 mins of when dd wakes up. She will now lie in bed chatting to herself till it goes orange. So next week we're going to add 5 mins and see how she does.

She wakes up between 6.15-6.30 now... But we went through a 5am phase. Nothing really helped but we'd bring her into bed with us and tell her it was sleep time and she'd either go back to sleep or just have cuddles till a more reasonable time.

onceipopicantstop Tue 11-Mar-14 08:01:11

We had a similar problem when ds was 3. We have a groclock but as others have said it's important to initially set it to around the time he is currently waking. Then give him heaps of praise, or even a small reward like a sticker, when he is still in bed when "the sun comes up". Then gradually move the time forward by 5 mins every few days. It is a slow process but we've improved from a 430 start with major tantrums when he wasn't allowed to go downstairs, to a 6am start. We can't seem get him to sleep later than 6 but it's alot better than 430!!

OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus Tue 11-Mar-14 09:56:02

I think the timing of the clock is wrong, yes. Yesterday we cut his nap down to 1.30 max as most days it is 2 hours or even slightly longer. I think we'll try for a week and then cut to an hour if necessary so we do it gradually.

Today he slept until 5.50 without the 5.10 moaning - hopefully decreasing the day time sleep will lead to him going that extra sleep cycle. His nappy had leaked so no way would he have gone back to sleep. I ended up bringing the sun up early so that it was still "sun time".

I think we'll try the clock at 6 or 5.55 - I'm trying to cling onto the idea that 5.45-5.50 is his wake up time rather than 5 but we'll need to see how it goes. DH is refusing to get up before 6 and is also insisting we need to get him sleeping until 7 but I think that is probably unrealistic. I'd settle for 6 medium term if we have to but I can't do early on a regular basis - it is too tiring.

Before we tried this we were bringing him into bed but he never went back to sleep or just cuddle, he would flap around for a bit kicking us and then keep hitting me shouting "wake up mummy" and bounce on me or the bed until I got up. So we were trying to draw the distinction between night and day more firmly and that night is for cot.

He seems to understand the concept of the clock - if you ask him he knows that if blue stars he is to go back to sleep and wait for yellow sun but when he wakes he doesn't look at the clock he just immediately shouts for me until I come. He get excited when yellow sun comes on and we make a big fuss, opening curtains and turning on lights.

onceipopicantstop Tue 11-Mar-14 10:19:45

I think some children are just naturally early risers. Your dh may be being a bit unrealistic aiming for 7am! Ds is now 4, no naps, busy days, and even when he goes to bed absolutely exhausted he will still wake at 6! We've tried all sorts of tactics to get him to sleep later with no success so are now resigned to a 6am start!

Just as an extra thought - have you read about the wake to sleep method? It's to do with resetting the body's natural body clock. It's one thing we haven't tried yet but it's supposed to be quite successful. And we have noticed that if ds stirs around 4-430am and is resettled he will sometimes sleep until 615-630. There's quite a bit about it on line.

OcadoSubstitutedMyHummus Tue 11-Mar-14 15:37:42

I'd not really look at the wake to sleep method - I'd thought it was something more for babies but will read more thanks

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