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How does one 'help' one's toddler NOT GET UP AT 5-EFFING-AM EVERY MORNING?

(17 Posts)
hairymelons Thu 22-Oct-09 00:11:18

Long story short, 16mo DS never a great sleeper, recently started sleeping through regularly- hurrah!- but now wakes up at 5am ready to rock- boo.
So how do we encourage our little man to stay sleepy for a bit longer? DH and I both work evenings, often don't get home until midnight/ 1 am and those 5am alarm calls are killing us.
DH's suggestion this evening was whiskey. Am hoping for some other ideas...
Many thanks in advance.

MonstrousMerryHenry Thu 22-Oct-09 00:15:41

Poor hairymelons!

Okay. This is called 'wake to sleep'. It's tough for 3 nights but then should crack it. Always works for us.

Set your alarm for 4am. Get up, then very lightly stir your DS until he rolls over/ grizzles/ does something to show he's stirred, but not awake. Then go back to bed. He will wake at least 1 hour later than usual.

Repeat for two more nights. By night 3 you should have broken the pattern and he will now be waking at 6.

Then, if you can face it, a few weeks down the line you can do it again to get him to sleep until 7!

Good luck!

hairymelons Thu 22-Oct-09 00:36:42

Really? The thought of waking a sleeping child, especially one that has never been a great sleeper is a bit scary.... but maybe worth a try.
The other problem with this is that he's not really a creature of habit- no 2 nights are the same. Sometimes he wakes up at half 4, sometimes at half 5. So would we go for say half 3 to be safe?
He does also still sometimes wake earlier, in fact he's totally random. Sometimes wakes at 10.30pm sometimes not until the next day! How do we predict when to wake him?

Broms Thu 22-Oct-09 05:45:15

Every time I have thought about trying this the little devil wakes up even earlier - this morning 3.52am. I don't work so at least I can go to bed early but my thoughts are with you as it is a killer.

I also missed a step going to the loo this morning and fell over - ankle killing me, toddler raring to go, me in tears and dh buggers off to work even earlier..........

andgodcreatedwoman Thu 22-Oct-09 06:06:47

hairy melons, I've been too scared to try wake to sleep for the same reasons as you. DD2 has been waking between 3 and 5 since April and whenever we go to try after a few mornings of 5, she wakes up earlier on her own. sad

Broms, I remember your name from other early waking threads, I'm so sorry it's not getting any better for you either.

Yesterday morning she woke at 6 for the first time in months. We'd done nothing different, her nap was normal and it was a normally active day.

This time next year we're hoping we'll be laughing about it....

JustBeBuffy Thu 22-Oct-09 06:51:05

DS1 was a 5-ish waker for ages, the only thing that seems to have worked (and even now we get some pre-6 chat) is him learning the number '6' and getting a digital clock in his bedroom.

If he got up when 6 was at the beginning he could have a treat/chocolate button/etc at breakfast.

We have tried extending it to 7 but that hasn't exactly worked so well yet, lol

(also i have been good mummy and not altered his clock to show a different-to-real time.....)

it's hell i know i've been there, sympathies.

Confuzzeled Thu 22-Oct-09 08:07:50

I recognise some of from other early waking threads.

The wake to sleep didn't work for my dd (2.5yo), but we have had some success with an earlier bedtime. We now get up at 6am rather than 5am. I know it sounds strange but dd goes to bed at 6.30pm and it's made her sleep longer. She's also happier as she's getting more sleep. I might also point out that she didn't sleep more than 4 hours in a row till she was 2 so I think it does get better with age.

MonstrousMerryHenry Thu 22-Oct-09 21:06:49

hairymelons - don't wake him!!! Definitely not wake him! No, you just want to lightly stir him so that he rolls over or something but still remains asleep - you're resetting his sleep cycles that way. If you wake him it doesn't work and you then have the hassle of getting him back to sleep.

I usually stroke his nose/ lips/ ears or tickle him lightly or something. Some people switch the light on as well, and then switch it off as soon as the child has stirred.

As for the timing, what a bugger. I think what I would do would be to pick a time and stick with it. If he wakes at 4 occasionally, just leave him and see if he goes back to sleep alone. If you wake at 4 and he's still asleep, then try the wake to sleep.

Separately, a nursery nurse once told me that they stroke the babies' noses to get them all to sleep at the same time. Not sure whether it would work with a 16 mo (and I've never tried it myself), but you could give that a go on nights when he wakes up.

Huge sympathy!

hairymelons Thu 22-Oct-09 23:58:36

Thanks everyone!
Poor Broms, ow ow ow! I keep injuring myself too- I'm so clumsy when I'm tired.
Andgod, your response has terrifed me-6 months of this? I thought the night wakings were bad but this is hell. I keep thinking this time next year we'll be laughing but I really think this time next year I'll be on mumsnet asking about something else ;)
I can't wait til he's old enough to know numbers and he definately can't go to sleep any earlier....spose it's either wake to sleep or put up and shut up.
I'm gonna give it a go, it can't make things any worse can it? Wish me luck. And thanks again for your replies.

MinkyBorage Fri 23-Oct-09 00:03:55

watching thread with interest. good luck, please feed back

hairymelons Fri 23-Oct-09 09:31:37

So I set the alarm for 4am. He'd already been awake at 1.30am, DH settled him then. Got up and tickled his ear, was terrified he'd wake up properly cos that would be a right palaver at 4am. Sneaked back into bed then he was awake at 5.30am. Couldn't bear to get up (got to bed about 1am) so he came into our bed where he proceeded to feed for 2 hours. So I didn't get any more sleep but at least got to be horizontal.
Will try again this evening.

MinkyBorage Fri 23-Oct-09 18:35:40

better luck tonight hm

hairymelons Fri 23-Oct-09 23:49:02

Thanks, alarm is set and I'm off to bed.
Fingers crossed.

hairymelons Sat 24-Oct-09 10:58:04

DS woke at 3.30, teething it seems.DH settled him, didn't bother to disturb him at 4 as he'd only just got back to sleep. Awake again at 6.20am which is not bad at all!

MonstrousMerryHenry Sun 25-Oct-09 22:06:35

Oh dear, if it's teething I think you're probably better off not trying any sleep techniques, as teething screws up all your hard work.

Huge sympathy! Just stay off MN late at night and spend the time sleeping instead.

Fingers crossed things improve soon!

hairymelons Mon 26-Oct-09 11:35:46

Hi MMH, teething does put the boot in rather.
When he's well and not teething he sleeps well. Unfortunately he's either ill or teething most of the time!
Anyway, Sunday morning set the alarm for 4am, crept into his room to disturb him. He heard the door open, leapt to his feet and starting bawling! He's a really light sleeper, wakes at any noise.
This morning he woke up crying at 3.15 and 4am anyway.
We'll try again when he's not teething. Yawn.

MonstrousMerryHenry Mon 26-Oct-09 13:05:56

Massive hugs to you, hairymelons!

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