Bedtime battle

We are having a bit of a bedtime battle with Little O these days.

While I and then Husband were on parental leave, he was used to waking at around 7am, having a leisurely breakfast and then going to preschool for a 9am start. Now that both of us are back at work, however, Little O has to be at preschool at 7.30am – on the plus side, I can pick him up earlier and we have the long spring afternoons for play.

Over the past couple of months, we have had some problems getting him to stay in bed and go to sleep before about 8.30pm. This wasn’t ever night though, so we thought that it might correlate with how much he was sleeping during the day at preschool.

So we asked them to restrict his nap to 40 minutes and crossed our fingers that this would help. And at first it did, but then we realised that some days he would nap for half an hour or so and the next he would not nap at all, and we were again seeing him appear in the living room when he should be tucked up in bed asleep. (Another problem is just how cute he looks when he runs in to chat with us after bedtime – it is hard not to be amused – bad, I know.)

We decided that, at that point, there was not so much to be done as Little O would soon be switching from a 9am to a 7.30am start at preschool, and we thought that would solve the problem after a few days.

We’re now a week in to him starting earlier and the bedtime situation is only getting worse. We’ve had evenings when he makes every excuse possible not to sleep, nights when he has got up 12-15 times, and it culminated last night with me taking him in to our bed with me at 9.40pm when he still was not asleep. And the worst is that he was so very, very tired, but so very, very determined to stay awake.

What have you done in these situations? Do you think this just needs a few more days to resolve itself? Or a should we be looking for new strategies?

It really is something when a nearly three year old is awake later than his mamma…

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  1. janerowena says

    Wear them out! I think you have a child that doesn’t need a daytime nap at all. I worked in a nursery for a while, and took my own daughter along on the one day a week that she wasn’t at her own nursery. She and my son both stopped daytime naps when they were roughly 2 1/2, but children at the nursery were encouraged to lie down in the afternoon for just half an hour. Some slept, some just lay there and rested. None fought it so they clearly needed a rest – except for my daughter! She was most indignant. I used to have to take her into the kitchen with me to help with making afternoon snacks. The extra daylight doesn’t help, either. We installed blackout blinds in their rooms, and read stories in the darkened room to accustom them to dimmer lighting for half an hour. It was quite tough going with my daughter particularly, until she started at a school that taught her to read and write properly from the age of 4. That wore her out and she slept much better. Sometimes I was so tired myself, reading to them, that I dozed off but they were still awake! We took turns reading, but my husband’s reading was a little too exciting so kept them awake – my quieter way of reading was more effective at settling them more quickly. I think they need tiring mentally as well as physically. You can provide that with english learning books that Little O won’t have at school.

    • Kat says

      Thanks for the tips!
      After another two nights in a row with him not going to sleep until almost 10pm, we’re trying him without a nap today. So far he seems okay. I imagine that the time after dinner will bring its challenges, but if this solves the problem, then that is fine with me!
      All week we’ve been heading to the park for up to two hours after preschool in the hope of wearing him out, but to no avail so far.
      At preschool he goes in with the others to rest and if he sleeps then they wake him after 40 minutes max, but I think you’re right. He’s only been napping in the day on and off – he started that when he was just two.
      We read to him in the playroom before bed at the moment, but the new plan is to read to him in bed to make sure that he is more settled.
      Fingers crossed it works!