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Sleep schedule for 3 year old (4 in may), i am going mad!

(22 Posts)
Fruityness1 Tue 07-Feb-17 13:31:54

Hi there.
I am new here so sorry if anything similar has been discussed.
Any help would be much much appreciated.
My boy sleeps about 10pm, up at 7.40am. Then nap is about 1-2:30pm. I am trying to cut out the nap (1. to get him to bed earlier as he is always so irritable in the morning and makes him behave bad and 2. he starts preschool in april with sessions 12-3pm).
I try reducing the nap and his behaviour is just absolutely horrendous, like he won't play anything all afternoon. Then still won't sleep before 10pm even though complains of being tired until then! It's like he comes alive!
I tried once letting him lay in as much as poss, which was 8:15am and tried to just ignore napping, but he couldn't cope come 3:30pm and so i thought ok i will just give him 30 min. HORRIFIC getting him up after 30min, total nightmare and then irritable all evening but then came alive and didn't sleep until 11pm!!! Even though over 24 hours less sleep.
How important is it to drop naps for this age group in view of school and being awake for school etc? I'm really getting stressed. Any advice thanks so much. I wish dotting up a few minutes of his nap wouldn't have such a dramatic effect on his behaviour........... hope i'm not alone sad

NapQueen Tue 07-Feb-17 13:34:36

If he needed the nap and 12 hours overnight it'll leave him nap. But this is a cycle. He naps because he has shorter overnight sleep. He has shorter overnight sleep because he naps.

If its just you and him; take him for a short drive or buggy stroll at 3.30 and allow him no more than 20mins.

Put him down to bed as soon as he shows a sign of tiredness after 6pm.

How does he sleep at 10pm? Does he go down in his own bed awake and alone?

mouldycheesefan Tue 07-Feb-17 13:38:20

A three year old going to bed at 10pm is madness. Bring his bedtime forward and ditch the nap. It will be hard. You will have to keep him awake till 7pm.But when he goes to school he won't be able to nap so you need to sort it now or he will be overtired and unable to learn and doubtless badly behaved. My frikids Ned is a teacher she says the difficult kids are the ones who don't go to bed at a reasonable time!

Fruityness1 Tue 07-Feb-17 13:46:22

Yes i know it's madness, please don't judge, doing everything I can :-(.

I take him in at 8:30 (books 30 min before) but he just won't sleep until 10.

Do i try and make him sleep as long as poss in the morning & skip nap (even though last time i did this, it backfired and got even worse) or do i need to keep wake up time consistent no matter what?!

NapQueen Tue 07-Feb-17 13:57:47

Does he lay in bed from 8.30 til ten alone?

MistyMinge Tue 07-Feb-17 14:03:44

He really needs to drop that nap. You'll have to make him stay awake. If he starts going to sleep earlier, around 7.30/8pm then he won't need that nap. It'll be hard for a week but he'll get into the routine. If you don't do it soon he's going to find the school routine tougher than his peers.

Keep wake up time consistent. Even if he still doesn't sleep until 10 pm for the first few nights, do not let him nap in the day, you need to break the cycle. His body clock needs resetting.

Fruityness1 Tue 07-Feb-17 14:06:19

Not alone, lots of cuddles and music.

Ok so i will try again just ditching it and keeping him awake ... another problem i have is sometimes he can bad nights and be up for a good fraction of the night. Guess I should just ignore that for now ...

thanks for the replies..

Fruityness1 Tue 07-Feb-17 14:08:02

Forgot to say, one time i did get him to sleep at 8pm he was then up a load in the night ... so again needed nap next day... hopefully that was just a bad example..

mouldycheesefan Tue 07-Feb-17 14:09:47

Wake him up at same time every day. Go to bed at same time. No nap.
Once he is in a routine you can be more flexible. Don't let him lie in.

Cosmicglitterpug Tue 07-Feb-17 14:10:34

Read him a story, say night night and leave him to it. Tell him that you're not going to stay with him before hand so he's prepared. I wouldn't go to sleep if someone was cuddling me and playing music.

MistyMinge Tue 07-Feb-17 14:16:01

I honestly think you'll find he settles down and up less in the night if you can get him asleep earlier and drop the nap. My DS is just 4. Some days he's tired and I know would probably sleep if taken to bed but I also know he'll be awake until gone 9pm if he does. I make sure that the days he's with me, a good portion is down time. We generally stay home until after lunch - play, watch TV, colouring etc. Then park, walk, soft play etc to tire him out for bedtime.

I understand that a cycle is hard to break but you'll both benefit when you manage to do it.

Besides everything else, he will not be able to nap at school, better to give him time now to get used to not having one.

DoraChance Tue 07-Feb-17 14:25:06

My DS is the same age. If he even so much as droops his eyelids after about 1pm we have a horrendous bedtime, he's just not tired enough. Def try dropping the nap and hopefully he'll be ready for bed at 7ish.

NapQueen Tue 07-Feb-17 15:05:53

OP if you lay with him while he falls asleep he will need you there to then fall back to sleep. He really needs to learn to fall asleep on his own.

Fruityness1 Tue 07-Feb-17 15:41:35

thanks... hope I can sort this out. Finding it all really stressful sad. Wish he understood I am just trying to help him!

raindripsonruses Tue 07-Feb-17 16:13:40

It's very stressful for you. And anyone else who's had a dc with sleep issues- most people at some time.
It's hard when the weather is shitty but I would strongly recommend any kind of exercise that will tire him out . But not too near bedtime.

Fruityness1 Tue 07-Feb-17 17:49:44

thanks, yes hopefully when the weather improves it may help. Last summer he wanted to stay in the garden all the time which I think helps his sleepiness. Thanks again, hope I can sort this..

confusedandemployed Tue 07-Feb-17 17:55:51

I think it's all been said, but I just wanted to agree that the nap needs to go: no matter how awful he is in the afternoon, you just have to push on through.

I don't expect he'll settle straight down to 7-7 sleeping either. You could well have a few late nights / waking etc. You really must hold firm. Treat every get-up between 7pm-7am as night time and send him back to bed.

I wish you luck! Start now and you'll have it licked by March.

Bringbacksummer Tue 07-Feb-17 18:10:23

This will be really difficult to break this cycle and will need complete dedication from you. Do not let him nap in the day. No matter what, keep him awake. Try to distract him with some playdo, colouring in, anything to keep him up. Then I'd try to hold out on putting him to bed until 7. It is highly likely he will wake through the night to begin with. If he normally sleeps 9.5hrs overnight, that only brings him to 2.30am if he goes to bed at 7. This is going to be the tricky part as like you say, he'll be tired the next day if he is up through the night. You need to keep him up again the following day. That's going to be the really, really hard bit. If you keep this up, he will get used to going without the nap and so he'll stop waking at 2.30am (or whenever he might wake up). He'll be used to not napping so he'll start making the sleep time up through the night. Poor you having to stay in his room with him until 10pm. This will be hard but so worth it. You'll get your evenings back and your DS will have a good sleep schedule before you know it.

Bringbacksummer Tue 07-Feb-17 18:12:54

Also, take him to bed, read him a story, give him a kiss and leave him to go to sleep by himself.

Fruityness1 Tue 07-Feb-17 18:15:52

Thanks so much, I appreciate all the replies and have taken points from every single one. Thanks!

Bringbacksummer Tue 07-Feb-17 18:22:17

Good luck fruity - keep us updated and if you're struggling, we're here smile

Partyofthree Fri 10-Feb-17 09:13:50

Hi, this is my routine for my 3 year old bath at 7-7.15, watch a bit of bedtime telly til 7.30 with Dh (while I make dinner) Dh takes DD to bed dimmed room, he reads a couple of stories, kiss goodnight settles herself to sleep. My DD stopped day napping especially at home from about 12-18 months a real fighter hmm only falling asleep in the car or buggy!
She would wake several times in the night not wanting us go & leave her ect but over the last 6 months she is a lot better she does wake up most nights for a drink but back to sleep straight away . She is at preschool a couple of times a week & a ball of energy she tires herself out by bedtime & she's out like a light! Good luck.

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