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If you've had an early riser PLEASE come in!

(152 Posts)
upsidedown2017 Sun 08-Oct-17 12:12:38

Almost 2 year old has been waking for the day between 4.50am and 5.30am for as long as I can remember. It's been a consistent theme since the early months and I think his body clock is very much set. We have tried lots of things. Nothing works.

Here's the thing; call me dramatic but it's ruining my life. For almost 2 years I've gone to bed soon after the kids do. I've not had an evening for that long. I can't function if I don't get 8 hours sleep (genuine medical condition). I can't get any freelance work done as I don't have an evening - by the time kids are in bed, dishwasher put on, clothes put away, stuff ready for the next day it's time for me to trundle off to bed. It's caused so many arguments between DH and I that are marriage is almost over.

I feel like I'm wasting my life. It was 4.50 today. I can't function at that time ... I've never been a morning person. I get my best work done in the evening. We end up sitting watching fireman sam or similar until 8.30am. That's almost 4 hours screen time before most people's day has started. I despise it! If he got up at a more reasonable time I'd feel up for getting everyone dressed, breakfast then out for an activity. As it stands I've had 3 coffees, a Diet Coke and am back in bed for a nap while DH watches the kids in the lounge.

I feel like we are wasting every weekend in this shitty routine. I feel awful and fed up all the time. All my friends kids sleep until 7 like our eldest did. I don't know anyone else that has gone through this like I have.

I am at the end of my rope.

I want my evening back! I want to be able to watch a series of an evening like most other adults! I want to feel like I'm living not existing. I want to start my day at a more normal time!

What can I do? I'm open to any and every suggestion!

Later bedtime makes NO difference.

Yes we have blackout blinds but he is always up before the sun rises anyway.

No, I don't think he's hungry - he's very well covered and slightly overweight if anything.

Supper makes no difference. He's definitely getting enough calories.

He's tired. He can't make it past 9.30am some days without napping. He looks shattered. I believe he needs to sleep longer.

It makes no real difference what nap length he has in the day.

HELP confused

JustMumNowNotMe Sun 08-Oct-17 12:18:47

No advice I'm afraid but if it makes you feel better,I'm in the same boat. DD2 always up between 4.40 and 5 every day, by 10 has to nap for 2 hours and is asking to go to bed by 6pm. Later bedtimes etc don't work here either. DD1 was the same, up at 5 until she started school. DS1 is 10 months and also gets up between 4 and 5 so never a lay in here sad

EvilDoctorBallerinaVampireDuck Sun 08-Oct-17 12:21:56

DS2 aged 6 is programmed to wake up between 5.10 and 5.45. I want to punch people who tell me to go back to bed when I'm at DD's activity on a Saturday morning. hmm

duckduckmouse Sun 08-Oct-17 12:23:30

Can you go in at 4 am and change his nappy and give him hot milk so he goes back to bed? That's what I do with my son and he sleeps until 9 30 am

JustMumNowNotMe Sun 08-Oct-17 12:26:50

evil at 6 I would let him get up but say that he needed to stay in his room and read/play until 7 or whatever time you want to get up. That was the rule for DD1 from around 3, got the grow clock out and she knew not to wake us til the sun was yellow unless she really needed to eg ill etc. Worked a treat smile

EasterRobin Sun 08-Oct-17 12:30:31

Just to check, does he get enough mental/physical stimulation during the day to keep his brain busy with stuff to process at night? Mine sleeps terribly if we don't go out every day. I'm sure he does, but wanted to flag as it's one of those things that is perhaps too obvious so people don't tend to mention.

EvilDoctorBallerinaVampireDuck Sun 08-Oct-17 12:30:57

That's what we used to do JustMum, now on school days and Saturdays he's allowed to get up and dressed, I give him breakfast and he gets washed, then he plays on his tablet. On Sundays he gets his tablet and goes back to bed. 😆

EasterRobin Sun 08-Oct-17 12:32:21

Also, can you put a baby gate up and tell him to play in his room quietly until it's getting up time?

Evelynismyspyname Sun 08-Oct-17 12:34:45

My first two were good sleepers but early risers (5 ish). My 3rd just didn't sleep.

In all cases there is light at the end of the tunnel because your child is nearly 2. It's not that he or she will magically stop being an early riser, but that about 2.5 is when they stop being ferral little alien creatures and start understanding and remembering what you've said.

With the older 2 I put tape on a basic analogue clock and told them that now they were big they were not to wake mummy before the little hand was on the 6 (marked with tape, no need to actually recognise the number) and had to stay in their room til that time (except to go to the toilet for the one who had rejected night nappies).

With the youngest I'm slightly ashamed to say I resorted to saying that mummy would break if he kept waking me in the night - same click thing to show when he could wake me, plus a cd player and audio books for company, he was a harder but to crack.

With all of them though 2.5 was when a corner was turned, not in terms of them not waking (the older two didn't become capable of sleeping past 6 til they were in double figures) but of them understanding they were not to wake me or move about the house before 6am.

Thinking very long term I have no trouble getting my secondary school dc1 up for school, her alarm goes off at 5:45 and she gets straight up (she has a very early bus). Pretty unusual and useful...

Hang in there.

Also the inevitable question is why isn't your husband sharing the load if he wants you to be sharing the earning money load?

Cakesprinkles Sun 08-Oct-17 12:36:07

DS got up every day between 5-5.30am for YEARS. Christmas morning at my sister's having to keep him quiet till 7.30am when everyone else was awake was not fun at all. We hardly ever stayed at other people's houses because of it and still don't like staying away overnight. However it has improved, he now normally wakes up naturally around 7am. What helped? Knackering him out, milk and a yoghurt before bed and him starting school. He's now 5 1/2, and we sometimes have the 6am starts but haven't had any 5am ones for ages now.

Dangermouse1 Sun 08-Oct-17 12:37:15

We went through a similar phase and it was pretty soul destroying. I started by setting a time which i was prepared to accept was 'morning - let's say you start with 5.30. Before 5.30 act as you would if he wakes in the middle of the night I.e. quiet/dark, no tv/books, no milk or food, back in his own bed. My theory was if you get up and put the tv on then although this is easier, it is sending the message it is ok to be awake at this time. At 5.30 you can say right it's morning and get breakfast, toys get on with your day. I gradually moved 'morning' to 6 and then 6.30 and as he's got older it has moved later itself. You are trying to reset a body clock so it's going to take time and probably involve crying for all involved.

Maybe try a groclock if you think he would understand it?

RefuseTheLies Sun 08-Oct-17 12:42:55

I feel you op. My DD wakes at 5am and it's killing me. She's 2 in Nov and I'm praying to a god I don't even believe in that soon her language comprehension will develop enough so that she understands that she needs to stay in bed until at least 7am.

FATEdestiny Sun 08-Oct-17 12:47:39

upsidedown2017 - when and how long is daytime nap?

Is it routined, or does it change each day?

DubiousCredentials Sun 08-Oct-17 12:49:57

I was up with DD (now 9) between 4am and 5am for what seemed like years. It was actually from the time she was about one until approx 4yrs old. Nothing worked. Nothing. Add in a tiny house and other light sleepers and I just thought it best to get up and get on with it. I have no idea at what point she grew out of it but I was just looking at some bday photos and noticed her 4th birthday pics were taken at 610am so she was sleeping til 6 by then. Which was ok with me as dh was up at 630.

It was awful at the time but I definitely found that accepting it was easier than fighting it.

Get dh to get up with your dc assuming he’s there and able to. Or at least share lie ins at the weekend. Is there a reason it’s always you that gets up?

Don’t eat too many stodgy carbs or too much caffeine. Both will make you feel worse in the long run.

You have my sympathy you really do. But he will grow out of it at some point. Or be easier to train into staying quietly in his room. Although this is not something either of mine have ever been keen on hmm

gigi556 Sun 08-Oct-17 13:06:13

I know this might sound counter intuitive, but have you tried an earlier bedtime? Sounds bloody awful!

upsidedown2017 Sun 08-Oct-17 14:10:16

Yes have tried the earlier bedtime and I swear it has worked. I'm sure there is a connection between being overtired at bedtime and early wakings. DH disagrees as with some early bedtimes there have also been pre 5am wake ups.

Thanks all. Taking everything on board.

The groclock is out as of today. It worked when my eldest went through a little phase. Perhaps he's old enough to understand.

I will commit to sitting with him in his room until the sun comes up, at first 5.30am and gradually push back if it's successful. No tv, no food, no fun.

I do wonder if waking him at 4 to change nappy and give hot milk might work. I do notice his nappy is on the heavy side sometimes and he certainly could be thirsty. Sometimes I don't feel he gets enough fluids through the day even though I keep reminding him. I'd just be scared he'd be up for the day then. And even if he did go back to sleep would this become the new routine and I'd have to do it every day going forward? Not so bad if I can fall back to sleep until 7 though.

I cracked this morning and told DH he shares the early wakings (say 3 per week for him) or I'm leaving and he'll have to do 50% then won't he? Harsh to lay out an ultimatum but I've asked nicely many times, lots of hints and suggestions and nothing has changed. I do get 1 'lie in' most weekends but it's not enough anymore. I want a snippet of my previous life back please. One mum I know has 4 hobbies a week during her evenings - I am completely envious.

I'm concerned he's going to be like this for years to come. DH has pointed out that the clock change at the end of Oct means he'll be getting up pre-4am. Arghh shock

SandysMam Sun 08-Oct-17 14:16:20

I shouted at my 4 year old this morning (at 5am) "it's the middle of the fucking night" after his requests to watch the I pad. I'm not proud, but I understand how you feel. Lots of late afternoon daylight and making sure they are warm enough when the temp drops in the early hours is the only thing that seems to push him until 6am. It's hard OP, really hard and I don't think you are being dramatic when you explain how much it impacts on your life.

TabbyTurmoil Sun 08-Oct-17 14:18:58

I did as Dangermouse suggests (and as you're planning to do) and it worked gradually - as a final push I got some help from Ann at Nurturing Sleep to tweak DS's routine to make sure he was good and tired - I'd really recommend her. He has had the odd moment (new sister, lots of emotions) and does sometimes wake before the sun at the moment but he knows he's in the cot until the sun comes up. He freaking loves the gro clock story.. .

pettyprudence Sun 08-Oct-17 14:32:58

No advice but both my dc are early risers (I blame dh!). DS is now 6 and fx is coming out of it and now sleep through til 7am most days - we will find out over winter if he is "fixed". DD (3) has always woken 6am-7am during the summer months but as the mornings get darker she wakes earlier. This week we have had 3am (and no she didn't go back to sleep - I did though!) and 5-5.30am. We have a gro clock (which she thinks is hilarious to ignore), black out blinds and have tried putting heating on earlier/later. Since ds was 9 months old (because he was a fan of earlier wake ups in winter too) dh & I have alternated each morning getting up with them. We also try to make it as boring as possible so they can be awake but have to stay in their room quietly looking at books. DD will find various reasons to shout me for something though!
Like you later bedtimes make no difference (they do slightly with ds now but if we are going to be up early with dd, there is no point keeping him up. Plus I'd rather have a quiet evening than morning). Starting nursery at school has sent dd into an overtired spiral so she's been up late AND getting up early. This too shall pass!

upsidedown2017 Sun 08-Oct-17 14:38:19

@TabbyTurmoil - we have used Ann! She saved our lives! She got him sleeping through the night finally at 14 months and he did sometimes sleep past 6 then. She was my hero. Saved me from absolute despair. Think I'll have a read over her notes again but as I remember I really need to stick with staying in his room in order to reset his body clock. I'm starting tomorrow.

I could always give her a call but I know she said early waking is the most difficult problem to solve when it's so entrenched.

Anyone have any tips on keeping toddlers warm once they're out of their sleeping bag? He has the 18-36 month bag but we recently stopped using it as he was getting twisted and stuck when he turned in the night. He also bangs into the cot bars a lot now so we are considering a normal bed for him soon (new set of problems?),

TabbyTurmoil Sun 08-Oct-17 15:18:01

We'll be moving to a bed soon (when little sis needs the cot) and I am aghast just at the thought of it so no tips from me on that one! Still in sleeping bags too.

I went back to Ann for some top up advice a while after our original appointment, she is absolutely fab smile

DubiousCredentials Sun 08-Oct-17 16:52:59

If you put him in a full sized single then when he wakes at 5am you could slip in with him and he might go back to sleep. Or tell him to come in to your bed. Obviously you’re creating what some would see as bad habits but to be honest when it comes to sleep there comes a point where you’ll do anything for an extra hour or whatever. It certainly helped me. Plus early morning snuggles are the best. Especially when you both go back off.

upsidedown2017 Sun 08-Oct-17 20:45:55

@TabbyTurmoil I'll ring her if no progress is made this week!

upsidedown2017 Sun 08-Oct-17 20:47:11

@DubiousCredentials - here's hoping! I'd be more than happy with this arrangement and would love sleepy snuggles but he's proven a hard nut to crack and I imagine he'd just chatter away. Shame really!

DubiousCredentials Sun 08-Oct-17 20:50:04

Could you learn to block out the chatter? I remember dozing in bed with two toddlers pulling at me shouting “mummy no sleep!”. I hope you find some sort of solution soon.

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