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I am being held hostage by my children's naps

(30 Posts)
HuffwardlyRudge Sat 04-Jul-09 12:33:17

I don't know if I want advice or just a bit of a moan. I'm fed up.

Dd is 3.
Ds is 1.

We have no routine whatsoever, I just let the children sleep when they need to.

We all wake up between 5 and 6.
By 9.00 ds is starting to get tired and cranky. He goes to sleep between 9 and 10 and is generally down for 2 hours.
So, he wakes between 11 and 12, by which time dd is getting tired and cranky.
We squeeze in lunch and then dd goes down for a nap between 12 and 1.
She sleeps for about 3 hours or sometimes more.
So, she wakes some time between 3 and 5, by which time ds is tired and cranky and ready for his second nap.
He sleeps for about an hour, or a bit more, by which time it is time for supper and baths and bed and we've done nothing all day but have naps.

Obviously we do go out, but only by cutting short a nap (usually ds's because he is less vile when tired than dd is). I feel guilty because he is 1 and he needs his naps and should be able to have a nice sleep in his cot during the day, but more often than not he gets both his naps in his car seat en route to somewhere. Sometimes he only gets 20 minutes in the morning and nothing else for the rest of the day. He sleeps dreadfully at night and this is probably why.

So, we are home waiting for one or other of them to wake up, or out and about with at least one grumpy and overtired child.

Once they are tired and cranky there is no point going out because they always fall asleep in the car and are furious if they are woken up too soon.

Another factor is that it is quite an effort to get either of them to sleep. I know that sounds contradictory to the above, but when they need to sleep (and I mean need to sleep) it often takes me over an hour to get them down.

It doesn't help that ds is going through a really clingy phase and while he's awake he has to be touchingmeeverysinglemomentoftheday. And pinching me. And biting me. I am covered in bruises. And hanging off my clothes. Dd does this too. I want to shout at everyone to fucking get off me PLEASE sometimes. But obviously I don't [pollyanna emoticon]. And dd is, well, she's 3 with everything that entails. And she's jealous of her little brother.

I'm not really talking about sleep and napping any more. I just feel if I could get naps sorted so they napped together or dd dropped her nap, other things would be easier.

bohemianbint Sat 04-Jul-09 12:40:15

Oh, I feel your pain.

We now have slightly more of a routine but it does basically involve being in for lunch from half 11am and for as long as DS2 will sleep. (he's 10m, DS2 is early 3 so similar ages to yours!)

Am trying to get DS2 to have one long sleep in the middle of the day so we can work around that. (DS1 has abandoned his daytime sleep, was bereft when that happened.) It isn't going to plan at all at the moment though and it is limiting. I know routine's not for everyone but I really need to know that there will be a point in the day where it will be less hard work, and I can sit down and quietly read with DS1.

And I'm in the same boat re the clingy pinching biting thing too. Does yours pinch you right on the bingo wing? Fricking agony.

I hope someone will be able to offer some constructive advice, I've just got solidarity I'm afraid! grin

bohemianbint Sat 04-Jul-09 12:44:51

(Also I relate to overtired kids who won't sleep at all all day, or wake up in an evil temper. Not all kids are like this and people can't relate if their kids aren't. DS1 was an absolute bugger, would go 12 hours without sleep at 3m, would scream blue murder in the car - he was hideous. I put him on a GF schedule at 4m, (or at least he slotted effortlessly into one with no CC, they won't all do it, DS2 is totally different) and he became instantly happier...)

HuffwardlyRudge Sat 04-Jul-09 12:55:16

I'll take solidarity!

I know everyone says to hang on to naps as long as possible, but it would actually be easier if dd could get through the day without one (and maybe she'd sleep better at night too).

Yes! Bingo wings or boobs are favourite to pinch. Thighs preferred for biting.

slayerette Sat 04-Jul-09 12:58:18

You start off by saying that you have no routine and just let the children sleep when they need to but by the end you say that when they need to sleep they can be a nightmare to get to go to sleep.

The reason I point this out is that if you tried to introduce some sort of a routine, you might find that it anticipates when they do genuinely need to sleep and thus makes them less grumpy/overtired. Thus an hour between 9 and 10 for DS with one to one time for DD followed by an activity (park/library) followed by lunch at 12. Then two hours for the both of them between 1 and 3. Then another activity (painting/stories/playing) before tea at 5 and then bath/bedtime routine at 6 for bed at 7 (routine made up out of thin air - obv whatever suits your day grin) But I think you need to be not scared to wake them during the day after a certain length of nap.

At 3, your DD shouldn't need a 3 hr nap in the day time and it seems to be this that is really crippling your day, together with them not napping together in the afternoon. You might have to be quite disciplined at first but they should settle into it quite quickly.

bohemianbint Sat 04-Jul-09 12:59:45

When DS1 dropped his nap I started putting him down an hour earlier at night instead. It was hell at the beginning and he still gets cranky around 3, but it is easier now, and less constricting...

Weegle Sat 04-Jul-09 13:04:25

I can't really advise on the whole problem - but if you could solve part of it I think it might help hugely. And I would tackle your DD first. I would brace myself for a hellish week and not allow her a nap - she will be diabolical, so expect this! She probably will continue waking early BUT with any luck in a few days that will start shifting and she starts to cope without the nap by having a longer night. This would remove that huge 3 hour chunk from your afternoons. DS (now 3.1) had to be forced to drop his nap, and it took a while to settle in to his new routine. He will now still often nap for 30 min in the car in the afternoon or on the sofa in front of telly if he really needs it. Then you can concentrate on whether your DS' napping is really a problem or not, I suspect you will then find not. Hope it works out.

CharlieandLolasMum Sat 04-Jul-09 13:04:44

What time is bedtime? How old is the youngest you say 1 but is he a little 1 or a nearly 2? And do you want help to put them into a routine or at least a better sleeping routine or are you just having a rant. Lots of questions but will help if I can. grin

nowwearefour Sat 04-Jul-09 13:08:43

I would also thinki that a 1 yr old could go with just 1 long sleep in the afternoon sometime soon? might be helpful to just get up and get out of the house, get back for an early lunch then let the two of them sleep for eg 2 hours 12.30-2.30 then you have the afternoon free. A 3 hour sleep seems a lot for a 3 year old. They might start waking later in hte day maybe? Similarly I would think the 3 year old would be dropping her sleep totally soon? Means for an earlier bed time and you might wat to take it slowly but ime most kids dont need it so much any more once they are 3- esp if you want them in bed by 7 (which i love and look forward to each day!)

littleducks Sat 04-Jul-09 13:09:17

I can give you some advice but be warned it is routine based in parts so you may noy like it!

DD had no routine, and was a nightmare would only sleep on me so i made BIG CHANGES and ds was more routined from birth and she ahs become more routined

They wake between 6.30-7.30 (though in this heat has been varying due to not getting comfy to sleep at night)

DS if required has a nap at 9.30/10 normally not in his cot but in car/buggy

They have lunch and naos after 12,30 ish, at home they both get put in their room, if dd is claiming not to be tired she is allowed to read books in bed, she will then either fall asleep or i will let her up after an hour ish (this took rtime to happen she didnt use to be apart from me, she now has a bed full of soft toys and talks to them and is happy)

I get them up at 2.30, or occassionally if they are going to be staying up a bit late 3

This way they will go to bed 6.30-7.30 ish as they didnt nap to late and if i use their nap time to get ready rather than sleep blush we can do something in both the morning and afternoon if we want

If not AT HOME i put them to sleep in the car at that time or ds in the buggy and wont take them out the car till minimum 2ish

dd can go a days without naps but could never go a full week without a nap iyswim

if my kids are overtired the dont sleep at night and it isnt too retrictive, i let dd nap till 3 yesterday and she was up till 9 as we went out for a special occassion she is now napping as is tired but should be back on schedule tomight no drama

littleducks Sat 04-Jul-09 13:09:29

I can give you some advice but be warned it is routine based in parts so you may noy like it!

DD had no routine, and was a nightmare would only sleep on me so i made BIG CHANGES and ds was more routined from birth and she ahs become more routined

They wake between 6.30-7.30 (though in this heat has been varying due to not getting comfy to sleep at night)

DS if required has a nap at 9.30/10 normally not in his cot but in car/buggy

They have lunch and naos after 12,30 ish, at home they both get put in their room, if dd is claiming not to be tired she is allowed to read books in bed, she will then either fall asleep or i will let her up after an hour ish (this took rtime to happen she didnt use to be apart from me, she now has a bed full of soft toys and talks to them and is happy)

I get them up at 2.30, or occassionally if they are going to be staying up a bit late 3

This way they will go to bed 6.30-7.30 ish as they didnt nap to late and if i use their nap time to get ready rather than sleep blush we can do something in both the morning and afternoon if we want

If not AT HOME i put them to sleep in the car at that time or ds in the buggy and wont take them out the car till minimum 2ish

dd can go a days without naps but could never go a full week without a nap iyswim

if my kids are overtired the dont sleep at night and it isnt too retrictive, i let dd nap till 3 yesterday and she was up till 9 as we went out for a special occassion she is now napping as is tired but should be back on schedule tomight no drama

littleducks Sat 04-Jul-09 13:09:29

I can give you some advice but be warned it is routine based in parts so you may noy like it!

DD had no routine, and was a nightmare would only sleep on me so i made BIG CHANGES and ds was more routined from birth and she ahs become more routined

They wake between 6.30-7.30 (though in this heat has been varying due to not getting comfy to sleep at night)

DS if required has a nap at 9.30/10 normally not in his cot but in car/buggy

They have lunch and naos after 12,30 ish, at home they both get put in their room, if dd is claiming not to be tired she is allowed to read books in bed, she will then either fall asleep or i will let her up after an hour ish (this took rtime to happen she didnt use to be apart from me, she now has a bed full of soft toys and talks to them and is happy)

I get them up at 2.30, or occassionally if they are going to be staying up a bit late 3

This way they will go to bed 6.30-7.30 ish as they didnt nap to late and if i use their nap time to get ready rather than sleep blush we can do something in both the morning and afternoon if we want

If not AT HOME i put them to sleep in the car at that time or ds in the buggy and wont take them out the car till minimum 2ish

dd can go a days without naps but could never go a full week without a nap iyswim

if my kids are overtired the dont sleep at night and it isnt too retrictive, i let dd nap till 3 yesterday and she was up till 9 as we went out for a special occassion she is now napping as is tired but should be back on schedule tomight no drama

CharlieandLolasMum Sat 04-Jul-09 13:15:03

Agree totally with littleducks.

Ohforfoxsake Sat 04-Jul-09 13:31:56

I agree with everyone who says routine, routine, routine, but what I wanted to add is if you put your 1yo down for a 2/3 hour sleep, shorten your dds nap to an hour, get her up and have some 1:1 time with her and hope this helps with the jealousy.

You'll also have an hour to yourself. bliss!

sarah293 Sat 04-Jul-09 13:36:52

Message withdrawn

nowwearefour Sat 04-Jul-09 13:40:55

our local carnival is today too! but i couldnt go because of dd2's nap! but dd1 is there for the first time with dh. it is all very tricky isnt it

SarahL2 Sat 04-Jul-09 13:56:51

I'm afraid we do routine too. Out all morning usually, then home for lunch and a nap at 1.30. DS (2) sleeps till about 3.30 then we play till dinner at 5 and then bath and bed at 6.30.

He knows what's coming, I know what's coming and everyone is happy.

Currently using the nap time to get some rest myself and when DC2 appears we'll have another routine put in place after the first few weeks.

It's the only way to stay sane!

Mintyy Sat 04-Jul-09 14:16:53

I would aim to get your one year old having one long nap after lunch. This might mean having lunch very early to start with and gradually pushing it back.

I would also start weaning your dd off naps altogether if you possibly can. When your 1 year old goes down for his, you could let your dd go too and rest or play quietly, she may even sleep, but get her up after an hour and let your little boy sleep on for another hour.

Or, another thing you could try with your 3 year old is to cut her naps down to a couple of times a week.

Naps are nice but a little bit pointless from adult pov if you are held hostage by them. Poor you! smile.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 04-Jul-09 14:27:30

Message withdrawn

bigchris Sat 04-Jul-09 14:29:48

If you're spending a lot of time in the day trying to get your two down for naps then imo they no onger need them
my dd stooped her nap at 18 months, she sometimes slept in the pushchair and car
Do't let your life be ruled by naps, it is true madness and you will look back on this time and think what was I doing?!!

HuffwardlyRudge Sat 04-Jul-09 17:51:05

So many replies! Thank you.

I have realised that now is not the time to make any changes as dd has an operation next week. Once she is over that I will take stock and see what needs to be done.

I must admit that the thought of a routine terrifies me. Whilst I realise that they are life saving and wonderful for so many people, I feel stressed even thinking about how I would implement one. Perhaps I don't understand how they work exactly? What happens when you decide to do spur of the moment things? Most of our week is spur of the moment. I have a friend whose children are in a beautiful routine which she adores as it means she can plan her week, and they both sleep at the same time, but it seems so restrictive to me. Not criticising, just saying.

Big Chris It's interesting you say "don't let your life be ruled by naps" because I would swear that I don't, though blatently at the moment I do. I have never ever planned around my children's naps. Life goes on and the children come too and they sleep when they need to. I think that's why I'm a bit wrong footed by suddenly realising that every day all I do is put one or other of them to sleep or wait for them to wake up. I'm not quite sure how it happened.

What do people think about waking sleeping children? I hate to do it.

Also, about reducing dd's naps, she gets tired around 12ish, and if we're in the car coming home from something it's fine because she goes to sleep in the car an I lift her into bed to sleep. If we are at home she is a nightmare to persuade to go to sleep. Takes hours. But, on the occasions where I've given up and thought fine, don't have a sleep then, by 4.00 she is rancid and before 5.00 she falls asleep wherever she is, and no amount of jollying or singing or distraction will keep her awake.

I really appreciate everyone's advice. If I've seemed negative I appologise, just trying to work out what might work for us. Am taking everything on board.

puffylovett Sat 04-Jul-09 18:02:30

sounds like she obviously still needs a sleep then.

My DS 2.4 still has a nap most days, but if I'm honest I time it so he has it in the car. He'll go off in 10 mins if tired, where I just don't have the time and energy to try persuading him into his bed.

I tried dropping his naps for 2 weeks - and it was hell. So we went back to letting him have a couple of days without.

It's a difficult one !!

How about a compromise ? Have 3 days of at home routine and the rest be flex(ivble+?+++++++++++++++++*-

CarGirl Sat 04-Jul-09 18:20:45

Changing their sleeping patterns will take a while, just delay the naps you want to by 10 minute a day for a couple of days and then another 5/10 mins etc. I think you'll have to be committed to changing the situation.

If your dd has her surgery then that will be a good point to introduce the changes as she recovers.

Your DS will probably be able to get into a 1 nap a day routine if you can stick with it because they will start sleeping longer in the morning or going to bed earlier.

If you want to do spur of the moment stuff you still can, they tend to nap in the car instead but changing it for one day doesn't seem to upset the overall "routine" of one nap after lunch either 12-2ish or 1-3ish. this of course is IME, I've got 4dc and their lunch nap times were a life saver.

littleducks Sat 04-Jul-09 18:40:10

sorry about the multiple postings above

is dd due to start preschool/nursery soon? im afraid that will end you 'spur of the moment' lifestyle, or when she starts school if she isnt doing nursery. Honestly if you have a flexible routine it is a tool you can use.

She sounds like she needs a nap, i think persistence is the key, if you do the same thing every day children accept it (grumbling) but it becomes the done thing, if she had 30 min an hour sleep a day then she might not wake at 5 am

After she has recovered, i would spend a week getting her to sleep at set time (12.30 ish?) in the car of whatever, then after a wek of being used to a nap at that time try and get her to nap in bed

With your ds, i find a heavy lunch (with some protein and good helping of carbs, pasta is great) helps him nod off wink i think it gives hoim the same feelin i have after a sundaay roast

And if it helps dont call it a 'routine' it is just the your daily plan/way you do thinngs.

puffylovett Sat 04-Jul-09 18:52:28

the only thing I would say about dropping naps (and this is only in my experience btw!) is that nighttime sleep went completely bonkers. Basically if he doesn't have a nap, he wakes in the night or he wakes earlier in the day and by the end of the week is exhausted.

So cargirl any tips on that ? Not so long ago I was thoroughly enjoying getting up at 8am grin and would love to get it back !

There's some really good tips here Huff, particularly about trying to get them both to sleep together after lunch - at least it would still leave you plenty of morning time and afternoon time to get out and about

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