Wake-up tantrums

Naomi - posted on 04/15/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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We transitioned our son from a crib to a twin bed about one month ago. We started out having to leave his door open because he just wouldn't sleep with the door shut. That ended when he started wandering too much, so we ended up letting him cry it out. It took about two nights and he goes down without a problem.



The big issue is his wake-up times--from both naps and bedtime. When he was in his crib, he would sleep in the mornings until 7-7:30am. Naps would be 1.5-2 hours (sometimes longer). Now, he doesn't nap nearly as well and he wakes up anywhere from 6-6:30am. Behavior issues during the day have increased as well. When he decides he's ready to be up from his nap or bedtime, he runs to his door and stands. He bangs on the door, screams, and stomps his feet. We've told him that his wake-up time is 7am and that we'll come in and get him when his clock says 7. We've told him that he's welcome to play quietly with toys or look at his books until 7. We are currently trying to implement sleep rules and then give him a sticker on a behavior chart, with a reward once he collects five stickers for following the sleep rules (the most important of which is no tantrums in the mornings).



I'm at the end of my rope with this. We have a new baby due at the end of April, and I can't keep dealing with his on-going tantrums when he gets up every morning. It's creating a ton of extra stress that I'm just not handling emotionally all that well.



My husband is adamantly opposed to setting his crib back up, but I wonder if that is the best option. Then we can try again in a few months to transition him when he might be more ready to make the switch.



Has anyone else been in this situation? What to do? How do you cope?

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5 Comments

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Bethany - posted on 04/18/2010

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My son had problems with laying down to go to sleep at nap times after we moved him out of his bed. We started a rewards system, too, but they're more immediate - he gets the rewards that day if he cooperates at nap time. What we do is he gets 3 rewardss if he fully cooperates: he can watch a show on tv after nap, he can have 2 M&M's, and he gets a sticker or a temporary tattoo. Every time one of us has to go into his room to put him back in bed at nap time, he loses one reward. If we have to go in 3 times, he doesn't get any rewards, if we don't have to go in at all he gets all 3, if we go in once he gets 2, etc. etc. After a week of this, he really figured it out, and now he can recite it to us. We'll say "what do you need to do at nap time?" and he says "stay in bed, be quiet, close my eyes, go to sleep" Then we ask "and what happens if you cooperate?", and he says "I get a show, a treat, and special prize." We ask "what happens if we have to come into your room because you aren't sleeping?" and he says "I lose a special thing." So he knows, and we've had very few problems since he figured that out. Eventually we'll move to a sticker chart, but for now I wanted to use something with an immediate reward since he's so young. I think when he's closer to 4 we'll start doing sticker charts to save up to earn a reward instead.

Hope things work out for you soon! Those tantrums are so hard.

Jen - posted on 04/16/2010

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It sounds like he's just acting out to get your attention. I wouldn't put the crib back up. He needs to get used to the new bed. I'm sure you've tried this, but really play up the big boy bed. Get him super excited about sleeping and staying in his big boy bed. You may also try ignoring him completely if you're not ready for him to get up. Don't respond to his banging and just get him at 7 when you're ready. He should learn pretty quickly that he's not going to come out by banging on the door. My daughter has never gotten out of her toddler bed until we open the door so we've been lucky. She has lots of stuffed animals in her bed that she plays with when she wakes up before us. However, she hasn't woken up at 7 since she was an infant. We all like to sleep in in our house lol. Good luck and Congrats on the new baby coming soon.

User - posted on 04/16/2010

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I have to agree with your husband, though I completely understand your stress. Have you thought about putting a gate at his door instead of closing it? Keep with the the rewards, and stay consistent with expecting no tantrums. Are his books and toys out where he can see them easily? Maybe have him choose the night before what he wants to do in the morning while waiting for you and leave it in the middle of the floor so he sees it right away.

Also, remember that the tantrums during the day could also be related to a new baby on it's way! Congrats btw!! My son's behavior also changed soon before his brother arrived in December. He totally regressed with his potty trainning and all of a sudden he was having tantrums like I've never seen!

Good Luck!!

Jean - posted on 04/15/2010

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I'm not sure you can "make" him sleep an hour longer. My son went from sleeping until 8:30 to waking up at 7 once he went into a bed. I had to adjust my time because when he wakes up at 7 his attitude is OK, I think if I tried to make him sleep longer, I would run into the same problem. For an hour of time, I don't believe it is worth all the stress. He may start to sleep a little longer if waking up wasn't so stressful (for everybody!)

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