Monday, April 28, 2008

Sleep Advice Needed

Well, until now, my kids have been pretty good 11-12 hour sleepers. I've read about and talked to various friends who have struggled with child sleep issues and while I felt bad, I couldn't relate - I now fully empathize. It's not so much that I mind the early rising (although I think everyone knows I am NOT a morning person), it's really that they are not getting enough sleep. As we speak, they are both having a morning nap - we haven't done this in over a year! They are just exhausted.

Here's the problem - I've tried putting them to bed earlier but they stay awake until 8:30 or 9; I've tried putting them to bed a little later but they still get up early. Last night they went to bed after 9 (late for them) and they were up at 6:40 a.m. What's a mom to do? I'm thinking maybe black-out curtains or shades. We are also thinking of regularly separating them at bed time. We have one in particular that used to be a champion sleeper who is now getting out of bed whenever he wants (yes, we have disciplined) and waking up his brother. Another thing I'm considering is teaching them to tell time :) - in other words, put a digital clock with the minutes covered and teach them at what number they may come out of their room. I think they are a little young for this but then they sometimes surprise me...

So I'm calling for all advice from you, my wise friends. Tired, cranky kids is just not an option. :)

8 comments:

Paula said...

Yes, waking up before 7 a.m. is just too darn early. I would go for the black out curtains myself :)

Heather L. said...

Well, it's too bad there isn't some easy answer or 7 steps to success. I hope you figure something out! We've had to separate kids (if that was even an option space-wise), but we've ALWAYS resorted to teaching them to tell the time on a digital clock from a very early age. No one gets out of bed until 8:00a.m. With a little bit of training, it's worked pretty well for us, but it may not work for others...

Erin K. said...

I've heard of moms putting a clock on the wall (not a digital clock - one with hands) and they put a sticker on the spot where the little hand needs to be before their kids can get up. I don't know if this would work, but I definitely filed the idea away for possible future use.

You'll have to let us know if you find something that works!

Jenny S. said...

Here are the things we have done around here with Mark, if it helps:
1) He thought he would give up his afternoon nap, but he was incredibly cranky without it, and with it, he was staying awake WAAAAAY too late at night. So he gets to go up to bed around 1:15 (when Adam does) but doesn't have to get in bed, just plays in his room. After about 1/2 hour- 45 minutes, I go up (I have an alarm on my watch) and tell him it's time to go to bed. We pick up his toys and off he goes. He knows he is not allowed to get up until "Three-three-oh", when I come up and open his door. That way he doesn't sleep too long, which was ruining his night-sleep.
2) you probably guessed by the three-three-oh that he has a digital clock in his room. He has also been told that he is NOT allowed to turn on his light until 8:00. (That did result in Mr. Legalist going over to his brother's room at 7 a.m. and turning on HIS light and awaking HIM up.) Many days we let him get up before then, but he isn't allowed to get up and bug people. And he doesn't.
So I would say, yes, a clock, and perhaps some consequences for getting up too early and waking hte brother: alone-time in his room in the morning when he wants to be doing something? Some sort of reward system for staying in bed?
Seems to me that when my kids go to bed quite late for whatever reason, they awake earlier (and grumpier).
Good luck.

Colleen said...

The room-darkening shades/curtains seem to help...as well as making sure they are cozy-warm. Don't know what time your husband gets up, but if he pops in their room and makes sure they're covered up, that my help as well. Good luck...my 3-1/2 year old still gets up anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30am (which only stinks on weekends since we both have to get up for work). But that at least keeps him from getting up at 5:30am! :)
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Colleen said...

oops, that would be dot com! :)

Monica said...

When I want my kids to sleep a little later I WEAR THEM OUT after dinner. I make them play outside a little longer and then give them a long warm bath. Then I feed them a package of instant oatmeal so that they won't wake up for hunger reasons. Then they are out until about 8:00 the next morning.

Sadly, we don't have digital clocks for them to look at- I might try that especially for my early Birds:)

Meg said...

We used to do the clock thing with Jolene when she was just over two years. We showed her what the 7 looked like and told her she couldn't leave her room until the clock said 7. It worked fairly well for her. Sometimes she would yell "Is that a 7?" but after a few days she picked it up.

We are not doing it right now because someone (Jolene) turned the clock off and I haven't reset it :-)

We also use heavy shades so that it stays pretty dark in there. Very useful for the summer.