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ohhhh please help, 3.5 and she's getting up earlier and earlier

(21 Posts)
Thomcat Tue 17-May-05 09:11:56

I don't know what to do.

It's since we put her in a big girls bed.
She was getting up and coming into us at 6.30ish, then it became 6 and then we decided to put a gate up at her door.

Then she got up at 5.30 and would sit at the gate and call out, moan, cry a bit etc so we'd eventually bring her into bed with us. I guess that was wrong, but anything for a bit of extra sleep.

Then it got to be 5am and not this morning it was 4.30 and [droppy eyed tired emoticon]

We left her until 6.30 when we couldn't bear it and bought her in and she watched milkshake at the end of the bed while we tried to get a last half hour.

We're doing it wrong I know but I don't know what to do.

Her room is dark but my plan is to make it as dark as possible, no chinks of light, and hopefully that'll help a bit but what until then, what do we do?

She did a full day at nursery yesterday and she was suffering having been up since 5am.

She napped yesterday straight from nursery at 4pm until 6.30. Went to bed at 8.30 as wasn't tired or ready until then and I stupidly thought it might mean she'd sleep later, huh!

I'm pregnant and really suffering with tiredness and that feeling of nausea anyway and this is just making life impossible. I have work in an office and manage client accounts all day and by 3pm I'm wretching in the loos and can barely struggle through the day with the feeling of total exhaustion.

What shall I do with her at 4.30 / 5 am etc?

D thinks just keep her door shut but I don't like the feeling of trapping her in there, I'd rather just keep her behind the gate and do my best to ignore her moans until a decent time, 6.30/6.45 would be okay. But is that the right thing to do?

Any advice wuld be sooo gratefully receeived.
I will also trawl through this section which is new to me and see if anyone else has a 3.5 yr old that is doing this to them, but am so desperate wanted also to stat my own thread, hope that's ok, thanks girls.

Tommy Tue 17-May-05 09:22:00

My DS (same age) started doing this when he went into a bed. I would say it's marginally better now that he and DS2 have moved into a bigger room with space for their toys but this morning it was 5.40 (not as bad as 4.30 I admit but it has been worse)He's exhausted during the day as well and only helped if I'm able to go for a bit of a drive after lunch so he'll fall asleep in the car - not ideal!
I really wish I had some words of wisdom for you - I looked up in my usually reliable Toddler Taming but even he doesn't have any answers - it says "Some children just wake up early" or soemthing really helpful like that
I would say leaving her in her room might be a good idea so she gets to understand that getting up time is at a certain time. Make sure she has toys in there she wants to play with. Don't know what else to say really except that I know how you feel

oliveoil Tue 17-May-05 09:27:40

Same here sometimes. Dd1 is 2 and a half and prob about 3 times a week she wakes up early. Thankfully she has a double bed so I just go in and lie with her till she goes back off. Don't sleep myself mind but at least I am horizontal.

Should hopefully just be a phase as she did this around 6 months ago and just as I was getting a bit peed off she stopped it.

Sorry, no advice . I just wing this parenting thing and repeat 'it's a phase it's a phase it's a phase' and hope for the best.

WigWamBam Tue 17-May-05 09:31:43

I agree that she should stay in her own room so that she understands that it's not getting-up time. The usual advice is to get up, put them back into bed without any eye contact or chat, tell them that it's still sleep time, and go back to bed yourself. Repeat as necessary until they get the hint - which can take a while.

Could you try something like the bunny alarm clock, and tell her she isn't allowed to get up until the bunny wakes up? Would she respond to something like that?

oliveoil Tue 17-May-05 09:33:02

WWB - The bunny clock is a good idea, I use 'the hall light' trick - if it's not on, it's not time to get up. sometimes works.

elliott Tue 17-May-05 09:39:30

I think its related to moving to the bed, if she's not been a natural early waker previously - she's just discovered that she can 'escape' by herself and she's experimenting with that....rather nice to go and see mummy and daddy don't you think?
We had a short phase of this with ds1 when he went into a bed but I'm afraid I am pretty firm with him about sleep - he has a getting up time light set for about 6.45 and he knows he is not to come out of his room until the light is on. So when he first starting doing it I just took him back to bed and told him to stay there until the light came on. do you think that is something that would work with Lottie? I find the light helpful because it marks the boundary of when 'getting up time' is - otherwise if you just leave her at the gate until you can't take any more, or until it is an acceptable time from your point of view, it doesn't give a very clear message (other than, 'if I stay here crying for long enough mummy will come and get me')
Is this the first time you have had to do any kind of sleep training with her? Basically it is the same as any other kind of boundary setting - you need to be clear what is ok and what is not, and be consistent in enforcing that - and make sure you are not reinforcing behaviour that you want to stop!

Thomcat Tue 17-May-05 10:53:13

Gir;ls she's got Down's syndrome, she has no concept of clocks and times or anything like that. I don';t even know if she understands me saying, 'it's too eqrly to get up, go back to sleep', I have no idea, I just have to say it anyway but it's iobviously ignored.

Elliot, yes it is the first time we've ever had to do anything likethis with her. I could try this light thing, it might work, it's slightly more feasible than a clock, but....... Tell me more about the light please and I'll give it a go, I just hope she'll be able to understand me.

I just got so upset then as i realised that this is not only just a sleep issue but there's the SN element to this too, although she's 3.5 she has the comprehension etc of a much younger child

I'm just too tired to think straight and feel hormonal and teary. D and I are snappy with each other as we're both so tired and that's just making things feel so much worse as well

oliveoil Tue 17-May-05 11:17:40

TC, those pregnancy hormones make everything seem far worse don't they? I would deffo try the light thing, I put a really bright bulb in (dreadful on the eyes mind 1st thing) and it did work for a while. I put it on before I take her up and then say 'look, mummy is putting turning the light off now as it's bedtime. When the light comes back on it means we can all get up and watch Cbeebies/Milkshake and have some toast' etc.

Can you try and keep her awake when she gets back from nursery and maybe put her to bed earlier? dd never sleeps well when she has a late nap.

By the way, I can't leave either of mine to cry. Some people can, some can't so don't think you are doing something 'wrong' by going with what YOU think is right. My philosophy (sp?) is anything goes at 5am ESPECIALLY when you are pregnant.

Blu Tue 17-May-05 11:22:53

Can you orchestrate the afternoon nap so that she sleeps earlier or not at all? 6.30 is a bit late for her to be sleeping, isn't it? I know it's a viscious circle because when they wake earlier, they flake out....

northstar Tue 17-May-05 11:28:27

Oh I have so much sympathy for you. Lack of sleep is the worst form of torture, especially when you're pregnant. People don't seem to understand just how tired you can be, I remember reading in one of the pregnancy books that it would probably be more productive and helpful to give women a chunk of their maternity leave during the first 3 months.
I'm sorry I dont have any answers for you but had to empathize as I have just come out the other side - dd now 13 days old and ds (3) now sleeping till 7am. There is light at the end of the tunnel but I know it seems a lifetime away at the moment. x

Thomcat Tue 17-May-05 11:50:24

I was thinking exactly that about the maternity leave thing, I'd love that so much right now!

okay, will ring parents and tell them to wake her up after car journey and keep her awake. Means I on't get to see her much at all in the evening safter work but right now I think I can live with that!

Will do the timer light thing and Dinosaur has linked me to Prufrocks great find, this stuff you stick at the window and is total black out.

Do you think D and I should take it in turnss to get into bed with her when she wakes or leave her to whimper at the gate until we get up? (we leave toys for her to play with but she doesn't really play on her own)

oliveoil Tue 17-May-05 11:54:52

I would get into bed, or I would just get dp/dh to do it so you can sleep. This may set a habit but these can always be broken when you have more energy. I have always taken this route anyway and I am alive to tell the tale .

elliott Tue 17-May-05 12:10:09

TC, I wasn't sure how much Lottie understood, didn't want to make assumptions either way. Actually I don't think ds1 would manage a clock either! For the light, I bought a plug with a timer (from a dept store, they are marketed as an anti-theft thing to put lights to go on and off when you are away) and a plug in night light (but you could plug any sort of light in). I'd say he was verbal enough to understand at the stage when he was speaking in short sentences. Its not a panacea - but for me it helps to make the distinction between night and getting up time clear.
We've always had problems with early waking and at earlier stages I would just go in and briefly soothe - making it clear it was still sleep time. Its more difficult when they can get out of bed though and its one reason why I delayed moving to a bed until ds1 was able to understand that he had to stay there! I think you could consider moving her back to the cot, if she still fits comfortably - don't think of it as a 'backward' step, and I would also suggest that you try to separate out Lottie's needs and the new baby's needs. I have to say I am sooooo pleased I bought a second cot for ds2 as it allowed me to make decisions about moving ds1 into a bed based on HIS needs and not under any pressure to get him out of the cot and put ds2 in it. In fact we used two cots for about a year.

elliott Tue 17-May-05 12:15:33

I would take it in turns to get up and deal with it, deffo (me and dh have been doing this for 3 years now...) Personally I wouldn't get into bed with her, just put her back into bed gently but firmly (and keep doing it if necessary). but I am a cruel and hard woman when it comes to protecting my sleep . And my boys wouldn't go back to sleep if we were there anyway.

eldestgirl Tue 17-May-05 12:25:31

Oh you poor thing. Definitely take turns getting up with her. Try not to reward with telly? I was ill last week, in fact so knackered, wondered if I was pregnant as I felt terrible in the morning, and let DS1 and 2 put the telly on at 6.30, just so I could sleep on the sofa. This week, DS1 has been bouncing out of bed and running into the telly. So have stopped that now.
I hope it gets better.

Thomcat Tue 17-May-05 14:12:18

Thank you all for posting and I'll be trying all the suggestions you'vce made. I've printed threads off and emailed them to D.

my mum rang and told me she's having L from Friday afternoon until Satuyrday and d and I are to have a nive night but an early one and sleep until we can sleep no more.
God bless that woman.

Thanks girls and i hope we all sleep peacefully tonight, the night afer and the night after and so on.

TC x

TracyK Tue 17-May-05 14:43:10

Just a thought - is she warm enough? I know its warm during the day just now but in the wee hours its still a bit frosty.
My ds was getting earlier and earlier towards the end of last week. But I put up double thick dark curtains and put his vest back on under his pjs and I had to wake him at 6.20 this am.

Thomcat Tue 17-May-05 14:44:52

Ahhh bless, yes I think so. She has pj's and her duvet and it's generally a warm room as far as i know. Hmmmmm, might look at that though and set heating to come on ear;lier or puit an extra layer on her, kids never saty under duvet do they. Thanks.

bundle Tue 17-May-05 14:46:21

tc, i sometimes put socks on dd2 if it's really chilly (she's still in a sleeping bag though & this usually keeps her pretty warm)

Thomcat Tue 17-May-05 14:54:05

I might unpick bottom of sleeping bag, ohhhhh, or maybe I won't unpick it and then she might not be so confident to get out of bed and she'll be warm.
Ohhh, that;s soemthing I can do tonight no planning involved.

clary Tue 17-May-05 21:15:07

TC I was reading this and your other thread and have sooo much sympathy for you.
I wonder tho as s/one else said whether it's simply a matter of the nap? ie do away with it? I have a friend whose dd wakes very early and in consequence goes to bed early and so it goes on, vicious circle.
Just wondering if Lottie's late nap is having a similar effect. If she was really tired at 4.30am she wouldn't be sitting there chattign and watching Tv would she, big bed or no big bed?
Can you try and get her to stay awake at 4pm and somehow keep her going until as late as you can, push it back a bit each night until her waking up time is better (ie 6.30 or something?)
Could be a bit traumatic which I know you can do without, but as elliott wisely says (as ever) it's abotu trainign and boundaries like anything else.
hth
cx

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