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Toddler waking up regularly at 2.30 a.m. Then again at 6.30 a.m. Any advice

(19 Posts)
wallers5 Tue 16-Sep-14 07:39:40

The little girl has a very active day, no sleep during the day but every night wakes up during the night & wants to chat! Too exhausting for her busy mother. Is it just a phase & will it pass over? She does not go to bed until 8pm so it is not too early to bed! Have any of you experienced this with your grand children? Any advice gratefully received.

whenim64 Tue 16-Sep-14 08:03:55

Yes, one of my almost 3 year old twin grandaughters is nocturnal and now has a separate bedroom so as not to disturb her sister. She has blackout blinds in her room, goes through a good bedtime routine, toys get put away, time for a milky drink and a story downstairs before going up to brush her teeth and have another story, then she's tucked in and settled down with just a landing light on outside her closed door. Minutes later she's asleep and by ten she's awake again and playing in the dark. They don't engage with her when she's tucked back in bed, and after 3/4 months of this, she often stays in her bed, but if she's really active she'll end up with one parent whilst the other gets in her bed. Difficult with twins, but it's a phase and there's little reward in waking up when everyone else is fast asleep.

When it started, she would chat and sing, want to go downstairs, ask for food - easy to give in to just to get it over with and get back to sleep. Now, all she is offered is a sip of water and any requests to play are ignored. Seems to be gradually working,

Brendawymms Tue 16-Sep-14 08:09:04

No chatting and no eye contact, as long as sure nothing wrong. The four hours apart seems to suggest it's the normal rhythm of sleep and dreaming but she is waking up. As it is happening regularly then she needs to know that she will not get positive reinforcement from her wish to be entertained.
I have a DGD who needs little sleep and she has had to learn how to entertain herself, safely, when awake at night.

wallers5 Tue 16-Sep-14 08:11:19

Thanks. I will suggest that.

NfkDumpling Tue 16-Sep-14 08:39:54

DD1 had the same with both hers. Gave in with the first then read about the no eye contact, no chat, no story routine as above - and it worked. Took a few weeks but was quicker with the second child as it was nipped in the bud so to speak.

I remember doing the same when mine were little, but I never started nocturnal playing or stories or ant thing. I was a bad mother who craved sleep!

Nonnie Tue 16-Sep-14 09:13:15

When mine were small they all went through this phase. I used to go into their room, check the nappy etc. and put them back down telling them it is sleep time and they had to stay in their cot until morning. These days they call it 'controlled crying', you reassure them, go away for 5 minutes, reassure again and go back after 10 minutes, then again 15 minutes. When DS got himself worked up to do this (DiL didn't agree), he told GS to sleep, went back after 5 minutes and told him again then it all went quiet and he went up and found him fast asleep. After that he never demanded attention in the night again!

I think it is important to remember that toddlers understand a lot more than they can communicate and just need it explained to them. They might try it on for a few nights but will soon get the message if it is given kindly.

You can get a night-light which shows moon and sun so they know that when the sun shows they can get up but I heard they don't understand this until they are 4. GS understood it much earlier than that.

rosequartz Tue 16-Sep-14 09:25:54

This sounds like DGD2. In fact, I checked to see if you are my DIL's DM, wallers5!

DS and DIL are worn out with it; I think they have tried the 'reward' system if she stays in her bed/room all night, a star or something then a reward after so many nights.
She hasn't had many rewards yet as far as I know. I think she has trained herself to creep in with mummy and daddy and they are too tired to do anything other than leave her there.
DGD1 has the clock which shows moon and sun and understood it from the age of about 2, not sure if DGD1 has one as well.
She is in a bed now (2y 9m).

rosequartz Tue 16-Sep-14 09:28:50

DGD2 does go to bed at 7 pm and is always ready for it and up at 6.30 or so.

kittylester Tue 16-Sep-14 09:40:33

I would try giving her a nap during the day on the basis that, the more they sleep, the better they sleep! It seems counter intuitive but it worked with DGD2 .

thatbags Tue 16-Sep-14 09:44:15

DD1 was waking up during the night until she was 26months old. At that point DH, who was the one 'dealing with her' as we also had a younger child who needed night feeds, decided enough was enough. He cured the problem in three days thus:

First night
DD woke up.
He went to her and told her to go back to sleep as it was still night time.

Repeat that five times.

Second night
DD woke up once or twice.
Same response from DH.

Third night
She woke up and called.
He called back "Go to sleep!"

Thereafter she slept through the night.

You don't say how old the toddler is but if over two you could try this approach.

Nonnie Tue 16-Sep-14 09:51:40

Some good suggestions but please only try one at a time!

tiggypiro Tue 16-Sep-14 11:54:42

I agree with kitty. The more they sleep the more they need. DGS1 has just given up his afternoon naps at the age of 5. He would just take himself off for an hour or two and would still sleep 10 - 12 hours at night.
I also agree with all the other suggestions but persistence is the key.

wallers5 Tue 16-Sep-14 12:10:56

Thanks all of you. Will try some of the above this evening!

rosequartz Tue 16-Sep-14 12:33:56

tiggy they are all different - DD1 was a terrible sleeper and I was dreading DC2's arrival - but he slept right through from week 1 and always went to bed early and slept right through; I think he still would but nocturnal DGD2 is his child!

rosequartz Tue 16-Sep-14 12:37:30

ps if DGD2 has a sleep during the day she is bouncing around until 9.30 pm or later.

If she just nods off for 5 minutes or so in the car she will go to bed fine but will probably wake in the night.

ninathenana Tue 16-Sep-14 16:46:22

DGS is 2yrs 7mths He will cry and shout for mummy for about 45 mins when first put to bed (for various reasons he's still in cot) He will then often wake at least once a night.
I cured DS with controlled crying when he was about 8mths. But because DGS has special needs, DD has been scared of trying it. I think the time has come to 'sort him out' grin

Marmight Tue 16-Sep-14 17:02:19

All my gc's (unlike my 3 daughters) have had trouble sleeping. I really don't know how they cope with it all. I recently stayed with DD3 and her 2.5 year old wakes at least 3x and demands milk - which he gets as his parents are so exhausted it's the easy way out, although they realise it is not the sensible way to go hmm. The 2 year old in Oz goes to bed at 7 and wakes up around 11.30 and plays shouts until about 3 whereupon she sleeps for a couple of hours and then starts all over again. I will definitely refer them to Bags's cure!
By the time they get to school, they seem to sort themselves out - thank heavens.

Purpledaffodil Tue 16-Sep-14 17:18:16

Although "controlled crying" does sound a bit fascist, it does seem to work. Both GS were not good at sleeping as 1 year olds. Both Mothers tried this to great effect and both little boys sleep very well now, barring illness, nightmares etc.

Elegran Tue 16-Sep-14 17:52:00

Giving them milk in the middle of the night when they are past the early night feeds is a mugs game. Give them watered down milk a couple of times, less milk in it each time, and then just water.