Help! Children wake up too early

Jainie_SJanuary 8, 2002

My kids, boy, 3 yrs and girl 18 month, wake up at between 4:00 and 5:00 am every day. Even on weekends. They go to bed between 8:00 and 9:00 pm at night. Boy gets 1.5- 2.0 hour nap at pre-school and girl gets 2 hr nap at daycare. They want to watch TV early in the morning. They cry, make noise, move around and wake each other up, and us to the point where we are sleep deprived. My son was recently potty trained, so we can't lock him in his room. My daughter is so loud that if the boy isn't up by 5:00 on his own, she wakes him up. We have tried to tell my son that he has to play in his room quietly until 6:30 am or when we come to get him, he doesn't. he turns on all of the lights and goes to the living room and watches TV. We have put a clock in his room so that he can see if it's time to get up, we have threatened to take toys, privileges, etc.

Once they wake me up, I can't get back to sleep. I am at the point where I am so frustrated, I am going to throw the TV away and wear ear muffs. My husband is going to buy door knobs that lock today and put them on backward, I plan to tell my son that he can only come out to go to the bathroom and no more TV in the morning until he gets it. The girl is too young to understand.

Am I alone? Am I the only one with rooster children? I feel like I am going insane, only 3-4 hours of sleep a night. I go to bed at 10:00, but it takes me at least an hour to fall asleep, regardless of how tired I am.

I have become a raging maniac. I feel so grumpy and frazzed. Any successes out there would be so welcome. I am ready to run away from my family just to get a decent nights sleep.


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Have you tried a later bed time? It sounds like they're ready to get up at that time and are fully rested so you can't make them sleep any longer. The only answer would really be to let them up longer, say an hour longer and then see if they sleep in an hour longer. We could never put DS to bed at 8 or 9. He goes to bed at 11pm and gets up at 9am and takes about a two hour nap in the afternoon. If we did the 8pm bedtime, he'd be up at 6am and why do I need up at that time? His Dad isn't even up yet to go to work at that time! I'm a SAHM and this is what works for us and we both seem to be more night owls than morning people. Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 11:02AM
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You and your husband could try taking shifts. On weekends my ds gets up anywhere from 6:30 to 8:30 am. Since ds insists that mommy get up with him and not daddy, I get the morning shift and let daddy sleep in. DS and I go out to the living room and watch Bear and his other shows. I use this opportunity to feed ds breakfast, read him a few books, play ball, and also try to potty train. When dh gets up up, he cooks a late breakfast or lunch. DS eats again since it is then his normal lunch time. After that ds lays down for his nap and I get to do mommy only things like shower, computer, etc. I usually end up taking a nap later in the day and so dh gets to watch ds by himself. DS has a bedtime of 9-9:30. Since I'm pregnant with #2, I usually go to bed right after I get him to sleep. DH is a nightowl so he stays up and works on his hobby/second career or cleans the kitchen and living room.

It's not a perfect schedule and there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, but it does allow dh and I to get sleep, meals, and family time.

I hope you and your dh can work something out. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 11:12AM
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Leslie is right, if they are fully rested after 8 or so hours of sleep there is not much you can do about that. I would try putting them to bed later. Some people are just early-birds, and will wake up early no matter what time they go to bed though. If they keep getting up early, I don't see that there is much you can do about them making noise, I think they are too young to be told to stay in their rooms and be very quiet so they don't wake you up. If you need more sleep. maybe you could try gong to bed earlier? It is better to go to bed early than to be grumpy and frazzled in the morning! Good Luck!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 11:13AM
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It's a very difficult situation. I work and hubby works. We don't need to rise until 6:00 during the week. The nap times at daycare and pre-school are standard. The kids fall asleep at night because the are tired. My daughter will literally tell us to put her to bed. Son, he's different, but, we have tried to keep him up until 9:00, 10:00, 11:30 and he arises at the same time (just about) everyday. If we do that, he gets overtired at night time and is really cranky.
I haved tried go to bed earlier that 10:30, I can't get the chores done that need to be done everyday to keep up (bills, cleaning, laundry, prep, correspondence). I do, as much as I can, go to bed as early as I can, because I am beat. But, I have a tough time fallling asleep. I usually get to bed before my husband. But 4:00 am, 5:00, then they are tired and cranky for daycare and I have gotten reports. I need to figure out how to make them sleep longer. They need their sleep. They need to take it when they are supposed to. This morning, my early riser daughter fell asleep on the way to daycare. After her cap nap, she's ready to go until the next nap time.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 11:55AM
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I guess it's just a matter of your routine not working with theirs or something. If you can't change the nap time at the day care and changing bed time doesn't work, I don't know what to tell you. We really can't help much. Maybe DS doesn't need the nap at day care? Some kids stop napping at 2 years of age and some later and maybe he doesnt' need it. Maybe he's getting too much sleep? I guess though you can rule out sleeping in on the weekends. Your children are used to the time they have to get up to start their day during the week and their body clock tells them to get up. My fiance' is so tired by the weekend and would love to sleep in on the weekends but his body is used to him getting up at 6:30am and he's usually up by then no matter what. Maybe that's what you're dealing with and nothing can be done. Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 1:49PM
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Could you try taking the TV away (unplugging so they can't get, etc)? Maybe once they see that it's no fun being up that early, they'll stay in bed/in our rooms longer.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 4:16PM
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I agree with the last poster. If you make it clear that there won't be any TV time early in the morning they will give up and sleep later. This was true for our DD. A couple months ago she started getting up earlier and earlier because she wanted to watch her Disney movies. I finally just had to restrict how much time she spent in front of the television, and made it clear that she couldn't watch anything until later in the morning. It made for a couple miserable days, but she eventually got the idea and started sleeping later.

It's a power struggle. Once you show them how it has to be, they will give up. I strongly disagree with the advice to keep them up later-- in fact I would suggest putting them down earlier, especially your 18 month old. At 18 months, she needs more than 8 hours of sleep each night... probably closer to 10-12. That might seem like a lot, but I've found that the earlier I put down my 2 year old, the longer she sleeps. My DD's bedtime is sometime between 7-8 p.m. and she will sleep until 7-8 a.m. most mornings (this is in addition to an hour and a half nap). The nights that she goes down later (late for her is 9 p.m.) she usually wakes up really early. Sleep begets sleep.

And here's a tip that has helped us curb our DD's TV watching. Days when she keeps begging to watch another movie when she knows her TV time is up, I will hit the TV/VIDEO button on the remote which causes the screen to go completely black. That way when she turns on the TV, nothing's on the screen and I just tell her that it's broken. That seems to be a good enough excuse for her, and we don't have to go to all the effort of unplugging the TV all the time.

I wish you luck! I am struggling with not getting enough sleep right now due to a newborn and a sick 2 year old. It's really quite miserable, so I can empathize with your struggle!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 5:51PM
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The early bedtime=later wake time does not always work. If I put my DS to bed at 9pm, he'll be up extra early tomorrow and cranky. He's a night person like I am and I can't make him go to bed early and get up later. Not all kids need the amount of sleep that some book says they need. They're people, just like us and do all adults need the same amount of sleep? Some function best on 8, some 6 and some can be fine on 4. Same with kids, I believe.

I have a BIL and SIL that put their kids to bed at 8pm and then expect them to sleep in in the morning and take two naps a day~one when Eric gets home from Kindergarten and the other around 5 or 6! Eric is 6 and Nicole 4, they don't need that much sleep but they're parents claim they are cranky and tired and thats why they still sleep so much. They're tired and cranky because they're overslept and bored!! They need more in their day than nap time and TV time! The truth with them is that they just don't want to deal with the kids so they make them nap and sit like zombies all the time.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2002 at 8:40PM
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At 5 and 6 yrs. I wouldn't expect them to nap much either. Last night, miraculously, I got some sleep. My son got up with his alarm clock at 6:30, We had started our showers by then. He was allowed to watch TV, quietly, so not to disturb his sister who slept until 7:00. Yeh! I thanked him for being considerate and he was really happy with himself. He watched 1/2 of TV and then played with his train until breakfast. I think my daughter might be going thru that 18 mo. transition period before they convert to 1 long nap in the afternoon. I seem to remember this being difficult with my son. She is home today with her father, so maybe he'll keep her up for the 1 long nap. I hope. Since she slept late, this will help. She's also going thru a growth spurt, the pants that we had to roll up don't need to be rolled up now.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 9:40AM
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You have been given some good advice from the previous posters. But I hope you don't resort to putting locks on the door to keep him from leaving his room. That could be dangerous if he needs to get to you in an emergency.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 9:56AM
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Yes, it sounds like a faze for your daughter! There are several times throughout the first 2 years that kids are a pain to get to sleep! I know all about the growth spurt thing, too! DS stops eating for a few days and then all of a sudden he's eating like a pig and he starts growing! He was shorter than most kids his age and most blammed it on him being premature. He's really growing like a weed now.

So glad to hear this may all just be a faze and you'll on a path to more sleep! LOL


    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 2:51PM
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I talked to my daycare mom, she said that she would try to wean the morning nap to the long afternoon nap. But, if she gets really tired and wants to sleep for the morning nap, she'll put her down so that she doesn't get over tired. (then she won't sleep and she's cranky). My son stayed in bed until he had to potty this morning and then hubby talked him into laying back down until the alarm clock went off. He is trying, again. Thanks everyone for your support. Its so hard to figure out what to do with the kids. I wish they came with a manual.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 8:54AM
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I have to agree with the poster who suggested earlier bedtime. My son (2yo) wakes up every morning between 5:45-6:15. He goes to bed at 7pm. I have tried putting him to bed later but that means he gets up at the same time in the morning, only he is cranky. (This even included times we we have been away from the house and has been up as late as 11pm). He functions so much better during the day with that much sleep. He behaves better and doesn't have a clumsiness problem. Sometimes, on little sleep, he is so clumsy I am really afraid for his safety.

So, in summary, try putting them to bed earlier for a few nights even if they get up at the same time in the morning, you can get rest in the evening.

Also, try room darkening shades or something like that. Is there something happening at that time in the morning that is waking one of them up. (We have a neighbor who leaves for work very early)

Lastly, if your child needs access to the bathroom, can't you put a gate up somewhere else so that all he has access to is your room, bathroom, and his room. It works for our floorplan... Or if you have to lock him in his room, can you move a potty chair in there?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2002 at 2:12AM
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We have decided not to lock him in his room. His room has darkening blinds, as does my daughters. We turn them when we put them to sleep. At 2, he could have slept that early, but not at 3.5 yrs. My daughter sometimes goes to bed earlier than him, but he would never go down as early as 7:00-7:30. He doesn't wake up cranky, we wakes up energetic and ready to go. The problem with my kids is that they get up early by habit. We are usually up by 6:00, to get ready for work, but they are usually awake before we are. My son actually has been doing really good at getting up with his alarm clock for the last few days, but still, this is at 6:30 am, and you can only keep a 3 yr old idle for so long before he wants out of his room. The little one really is too young to be trained. Thanks for your suggestions though.
From what I am hearing on Parent Center, this is a phase that they will just go thru and hopefully grow out of.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2002 at 12:55PM
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If you gradually make their bedtime later by 10 mins or so, they will not be cranky in the morning. My dd (2) was going to bed at 8 pm last year at this time and waking up at 6:30 am! Now she won't go to bed before 9:30 pm at her own accord and sleeps until 9 am. We are very HAPPY!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2002 at 2:25PM
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I made a total blackout shade (topgun boat canvas but vinyl would work great too) and velcroed it to the top of the blind with sticky velco. We leave it on all the time and when the lights are out her room is pitch black even in the daytime. If company is coming over we just pull it off and it goes right back on when needed. Our daughter at 3 still sleeps for 13-14 hours if not awaken and takes 2 1/2-3 hour naps. If light is coming into her room she wakes up 3-4 hours earlier!! Try the darkness thing. Maybe it will work. If she wakes up early but I want her to go back to sleep I tell her it's nightime and she goes back to sleep... We have been very luck and feel it is the blind...... At daycare she does not sleep very long and sometimes not at all!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 3:00AM
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Ah. The song of the sleep deprived. I learned to survive on 4-5 hours of sleep daily with son and step son. Then when I worked nights when husband worked days...I would only get a nap when my son did. Then go to work from 7pm to 7am. Sometimes with 4 hours of sleep...sometimes with 1/2 hour of sleep. My son will even wake at 6 am after going to bed at 8pm AND taking his daily 2-21/2 hour naps. I just figured all parents are sleep deprived until children turn 18!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 7:15AM
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We have 3 boys in 1 room, 7 years, and 2 4 year olds, 1 of our boys wakes up eary morning at 6am, sometime earlier, but on occations we will put his bed in the same room as us, when we do that he will sleep till gone 7am.
The 7 yr old don't goto bed till 8pm the 2 4 yr olds goto bed at 7pm, we have tried putting 1 of our 4 yr olds to bed later but does not make any differance he will still get up early when he is the same room as the other boys.
How can we get it through to him that it isn't play time at 6am and stop him from wakeing the hole household up at the same time ??????? can anyone help plz.
any advice welcome.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 7:14AM
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I have been where you are and can relate. I would try to tackle this on several fronts at once. This is what worked for me.

1. Visit your doctor and get something to help you sleep. You can't deal with this constructively until you get some rest. There are medicines that help you sleep but don't knock you out so much you can't help your kids in the middle of the night if they need it. If you are against a prescription, maybe try something natural like melatonin.

2. See if you can work your son's preschool to eliminate or limit his nap time there. He obviously doesn't need one. My daughter gave up her nap at 2 1/2.

3. Make it clear to your son that you mean business. Since the TV seems to be his thing, maybe place a jar in his room with say 2 tokens. Tell him each token is good for 1 tv show. Each time you have to ask him to be quiet he loses a token. If he loses all tokens, he get no tv whatsoever that day. Make sure you never give in and let him watch despite losing tokens or they will become meaningless.

If all else fails, put the tv in the garage and start taking away toys until he sees reason.

Most of all, don't threaten consequences, start actually dealing them out.

When your daughter sees there is no payoff to the morning wake up, she will start to come around too.

It will be an ugly week or so, but eventually you should be able to get some sleep.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 6:50PM
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They are probably overtired or cold and that's why they wake early.... Read Tizzie Hall, she will change your life!! Sending them to bed 8-9pm is too late. They are Littlies and need sleep!! Try sending them to bed earlier.

Seriously read tizzie halls toddler book! :-)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 4:13PM
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