My feed

to access all these features


To think a 4 year old should be asleep before 10pm?

28 replies

Bubbinsmakesthree · 30/09/2018 21:05

I think it's utterly unreasonable but I cannot make my 4 year old go to sleep - he's often still getting out of bed with some made-up excuse after 10pm.

He's always been something of a night owl but starting reception has had the opposite effect to the one I had hoped for - he's started spending longer and longer fidgeting and faffing and just not going to sleep for hours after lights out.

AIBU to think this is ridiculously late and something must be done? How do I change this?

OP posts:
Singlebutmarried · 30/09/2018 21:08

We went through this at the same age. It does get better.

We rewarded for staying in bed and re did the bedtime routine.

DD is now yr3 and it is loads better, and is usually in bed by 9.

Sohardtochooseausername · 30/09/2018 21:10

We went through this stage too. I ended up holding her in bed till she fell asleep like when she was a baby. I did that for a few weeks until we’d established a new routine.

IStandWithPosie · 30/09/2018 21:13

Supernanny’s “back to bed” routine.

No drinks after dinner
Bedtime wind down routine: bath,(I add lavender oil) cozy PJs, TOILET, into bed, soft lighting, ONE story, then kiss and “night night”. You leave the room.
1st time they get up you say “is bedtime darling” (nothing else, no negotiating, no discussion about drinks or sore legs or monsters) and take them by the hand and put them back in bed. No eye contact.
2nd time they get up you say “bedtime” and take them back to bed. Say nothing else, no eye contact.
3rd time they get up you say nothing at all and just take them back to bed.
Every time after that you repeat step 3, say nothing, no eye contact, just place them back in the bed.

If you’re lucky he’ll get it quickly, some of them take a couple of nights to get it. Be consistent.

FaithInfinity · 30/09/2018 21:14

We have struggled with our now 5yo DD. We did a reward chart - sticker for staying in bed, sticker if she got to sleep by 8.30, sticker for not eating after she’d brushed her teeth (she used to use the ‘I’m hungry’ thing to stay up). 21 stickers = reward (Something small!). It really helped.

We have had to be quite strict about not going back to settle her after two or more times, saying she doesn’t have to sleep but stay in bed and be quiet. It’s grsdually got better.

TestingTestingWonTooFree · 30/09/2018 21:15

Yes, way too late.

AntiHop · 30/09/2018 21:16

My 4 year old is the same and has been like this for months. She generally sleeps 10pm to 8am. If she sleeps later in the morning then she will fall asleep later too.

OnBail · 30/09/2018 21:16

DD is 5 and has always been a night owl. She never goes to sleep before 10. She will not stay in bed. We have tried everything but she will not stay in bed, it’s only when we have gone to bed that she will stay in bed.

I go to bed at 10 to make sure she does. She never naps and never goes to sleep early unless she is ill.

I wish she would be in bed by 8 so I could have my evenings back, but since she was a year old she has never gone to sleep 9. We don’t know what else to do. Putting her to bed is useless so she just stays downstairs until I go to bed.

Aintnothingbutaheartache · 30/09/2018 21:18

Yes it is too late, only thing is he’s going to do a catch up between the ages of 14-17, he will at this point not get out of bed until he’s had a solid 12 hours

Mum2jenny · 30/09/2018 21:19

The dc sleep when they want to, just readjust the schedule. It's pretty easy imo.

TheSandgroper · 30/09/2018 21:22

For me, I would suggest a food diary as not going to sleep is one of my hyperactivity signs.


Believeitornot · 30/09/2018 21:37

How much physical exercise and screen time does he get?

lilyblue5 · 30/09/2018 21:38

Could he be overtired? Mine has been going to bed at 6.30 since starting reception. We let him have one slate stay up (8.30 ish) and it all went to poo. He was still bouncing off the walls at 10pm!

garethsouthgatesmrs · 30/09/2018 21:43

My DD was like this. We now have a CD called relaxkids. Google it. It's meditations for kids. She has her normal bedtime routine then I lie next to her for about 1 or 2 minutes and she listens to her CD. It reminds her to close her eyes and lie still (this may seem obvious but we had so many nights with her saying I can't sleep that it struck me that perhaps she didn't know how!) Once she is settled (not asleep just settled) I leave. Other adults (DH grandparents etc.) Can lie with her too.

It is changed bedtime for us and I am so grateful for it!

Rednaxela · 30/09/2018 21:45

I thought overtired too.

DS bedtime started going to pot until I noticed him rubbing his eyes 30 mins before usual bedtime.. quickly popped him in bed and he was out like a light!

He seems to get a second wind if I miss the new earlier bedtime and then bounces around for hours Sad

So try bringing the whole routine earlier and earlier.

Also stop screen time well before, try a bath instead followed by milk/cereal to aid sleep.

garethsouthgatesmrs · 30/09/2018 21:46

IStandWithPosie just out of interest would you use the supernanny method even if the child is hysterical? My DD would be in hysterical tears and screaming for us. She wouldn't necessarily even get out of bed but I wasn't prepared to leave her in that state so would go up and comfort her. I know this is against supernanny's advice but the idea of leaving her to sob just didn't sit right with me.

user789653241 · 30/09/2018 21:48

My ds never gone to bed early. 10/11 was quite normal for him to be up at that age. He never had trouble getting up though.
We did try to put him to bed early, but never succeeded. Figured some children just needs less sleep, reassured by many MNetters who has similar children.
Is there any sign of asd/giftedness?

April2020mom · 30/09/2018 22:00

My small son and daughter are about to go to sleep. They are tucked into bed at 10pm. Some children naturally do need less sleep than others though.
My son and daughter are early risers. They play quietly in their own room with their toys until either me or the boyfriend decide to get up for the day.
What helps us is exercise. During the day time I take them all out to a park or outdoor space for several hours. It works well so far.

Bubbinsmakesthree · 30/09/2018 22:37

Definitely overtiredness an issue I think - though he generally seems ready to drop in the middle of the afternoon and found his second wind by dinner time.

Often has a bit of screen time between school and dinner but not after dinner. Try to keep a consistent routine (though sometimes gets thrown getting baby DS2 to bed).

Looking at the supernanny routine I wonder if we are too soft - we do tend to get drawn into 'one more story', but it's tough because both DH and I work and bedtime is the only time quality time we get. Often one or other of us get home around 8pm when DS should be settling but he's then excited to see us and there's another story, cuddles etc and everything gets spun out again.

OP posts:
megletthesecond · 30/09/2018 22:41

In an ideal world yes.
But my 4yr old never did and even now at the age of 10 she doesn't stop until gone 10 most nights, her fitbit recorded 11:15 last week. I'm a routine queen but nothing has ever worked for her. Her brother on the other hand does sleep.

tinyme77 · 30/09/2018 22:43

What is going on between 8 and 10?

Osirus · 30/09/2018 22:49

I fear mine will be like this. She’s a night owl at 2 years old and I struggle getting her to sleep at 8pm. She’ll stay up to the early hours no problem.

Every child is different and some don’t need as much sleep. I’ve always been relaxed about sleep as it happens in the end!

holasoydora · 30/09/2018 23:08

Yes it's too late. Please tell my DD that! She is eight and has been a night owl since birth.

I thought it was something I had not done til I had another who just rolls over and goes to sleep when he is tired, usually about eight. From day one. Literally did nothing differently.


Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

Bubbinsmakesthree · 30/09/2018 23:19

What is going on between 8 and 10?

He'll either sit in bed and look at books, chat to himself or make up stories. He's into numbers at the moment so he might just be counting to himself for ages. Or he will get in and out of bed, come to the stairs and make up different excuses for me or DH to come to him...he's lonely, heard a noise, needs a poo, has a cough, his leg hurts, he's thought of something important he has to tell us, etc.

OP posts:
Bubbinsmakesthree · 30/09/2018 23:21

If he was bounding out of bed at 7am I might begrudgingly live with it but he's being dragged out grumpily at 7:45 which is as late as I can leave him.

OP posts:
shearwater · 30/09/2018 23:29

One book I read suggested this. The child gets two "call back" tickets which means they can shout for you/come and get you twice. But if they don't use the tickets they get a treat the next day. Or at the end of the week if they haven't used any- you decide what level to set it at. It worked really well with DD1 when she was in reception class.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.