4AM WAKE UP CALL

Kayla - posted on 01/15/2013 ( 21 moms have responded )

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Anyone have ANY suggestions on how to get 5-year-olds to SLEEP all night without waking up at 4AM EVERY morning??? Please help...I'm literally running out of energy!!! :(

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Connie - posted on 01/20/2013

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With my 4 year olds I tell them if the sun is not up, they need to lay in bed, close their eyes, and go back to sleep. If we hear them out of bed we get up and tell them to go back to bed. If they get up again, they would get led back to their bed until 7 AM.
At the age of 5 they should be able to entertain themselves for a little while if you start them on an activity (water paint, markers, playdoh, etc). If you need more time, books or approved computer games may help.

Sarah - posted on 01/17/2013

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Kayla without taking out the naps for the 5 yr olds the other things may not work. What they are doing is sleeping during the day, so they don't sleep in the early morning hours. You will have a few days of cranky kids and not getting anything done. But once you change the schedule you will have kids that will start sleeping better in the early morning. The 2 yr old will still be doing a nap...he is young enough yet that his body needs that extra sleep. The older one's don't thus the reason why they are waking up so early....they got their rest from their naps. You can still do a quite time....at first this may not work so well because you are trying to change the routine, but if you stick with it you will like the rewards you will get. You may also have to look at doing something different in order to get the things you need done. The kids can help with house work....I know this takes longer and sometimes you have to redo what they did, but it keeps them occupied while you are doing housework and it also teaches them how to do things and to help out.. My 19month old helps me fold laundry....she does not do a good job at it :) but it keeps her in one place while I get the laundry folded. For the online classes maybe get a babysitter a couple days a week so you can really spend the time on the classes that you need and the kids stay on the up during the daytime schedule. Once they get the hang of quite time then this could be the time you get some work done. Big thing is is that this is the routine that has developed, unless the routine is changed the older kids are still going to be waking up EARLY in the morning. Just like many of us when a routine is changed it takes awhile until you settle into a new routine....some of us take change pretty well the others of us (me included) go kicking and screaming and it takes awhile for us to get it.

Jodi - posted on 01/16/2013

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I agree, you need to cut the naps out for the 5 year olds. They don't need the extra sleep at that age, and by getting the sleep during the day, they are not needing it at night, so this would be contributing to the problem. Then you can set up a reward chart of some sort for them for staying in bed in the morning and going back to sleep/NOT waking the others. Have a clock in the room and teach them to be able to tell the time so you can be very specific about it.

Edited to add: LOL, I just noticed many of my suggestions have already been mentioned :)

Sarah - posted on 01/16/2013

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I am not sure how old your other son is, but for the 5 yr old I would try cutting out the naps. Have a quite time from about 2-3/3:30pm (reads books, colors, watches a movie)...something that is a low key activitiy and then do bedtime between 8/9pm. Then make a rule that they are not allow to get up in the morning until you come into their room. In my house that is 8am, but you may want to make it earlier as 8am might be a battle and too late for them if they are on a routine of 4 am. I would say between 6/7am would be good. I would put ducktape or something over the light switch, so they are not able to turn it on. First I would start with a sticker chart for each of them. Each day they stay in bed without getting up before you come in they get a sticker......depending on the child and the age I would have a reward either daily or weekly that they earn. I would keep the reward system the same so if one child is too young for a weekly reward do daily rewards for both kids. If they did not listen then no sticker and no reward. If it is primarily one child that is waking at 4 am you may have to put that child in a different room or area to sleep for awhile while you work on his behavior.

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Kayla - posted on 01/23/2013

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I appreciate all the help that everyone has been giving. I have gave up the nap for my oldest, Hayden and he now has "quiet time" while his brother, little William, is napping, and while his other brother, Julian, is at school. Things have been going pretty well considering there have been no naps....Thanks again for all the advice! :) Hope everyone has had a wonderful day!

Teri Annette - posted on 01/23/2013

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hi Kayla....TRUST ME.... no naps for anyone. if you try this it may help. the next time they get up, keep them up. ( change YOUR routine as well) feed them and allow them to be kids. let them play,read,write,draw you pretty pictures, and for some strange reason children love choirs.put your foot down and let them know how you want things to be.(nicely but firmly).my children go to bed at eight thirty every night. be strick with your timeing. if not they will continue to run over you. best of luck...

Brittany - posted on 01/22/2013

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Oh and later bedtime will not work. That will just make them restless, because they are too tried. Try an earlier bedtime, it may surprise you. We had problems with my daughter and realized she slept much better when she went to bed earlier. I know you say you don't want to cut out naps, and obviously not if they are getting up before the crack of dawn. But try a earlier bedtime and if they get up around 8, try rest time instead and put them to bed around 730, this is my daughters schedule and it works great for us. You will get time when they rest, plus time after they go to bed. Then you will all be rested. Hope you can figure it out!

Brittany - posted on 01/22/2013

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This might sound crazy, but I swear it works. Set your alarm for about 15 minutes before he usually wakes up. Go in his room and wake him up, don't turn on any lights. but not all the way, just where he kind of opens his eyes. Then tell him to go back to sleep. If you do this a few nights in a row it should reset his internal clock. When we sleep, we sleep in cycles. And we all actually wake up every time we come to the end of a cycle, but you just go right back into another cycle. You are in your deepest sleep right before the cycle ends, so he should go right back to sleep, and sleep a few more hours

Brittany - posted on 01/22/2013

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This might sound crazy, but I swear it works. Set your alarm for about 15 minutes before he usually wakes up. Go in his room and wake him up, don't turn on any lights. but not all the way, just where he kind of opens his eyes. Then tell him to go back to sleep. If you do this a few nights in a row it should reset his internal clock. When we sleep, we sleep in cycles. And we all actually wake up every time we come to the end of a cycle, but you just go right back into another cycle. You are in your deepest sleep right before the cycle ends, so he should go right back to sleep, and sleep a few more hours

Christine - posted on 01/22/2013

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Try putting him/her to bed later so he/she may sleep later. Make sure his/her room is quiet and dark.

Rachel - posted on 01/20/2013

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We were having the same problem with my four and five year old. We started a sticker chart reward system for them based on the elf on the shelf idea since they were very responsive to that when we tried it for the first time at Christmas. We told them that they have to go right to bed when told (at 8pm) and that they aren't allowed out of bed until the sun comes up (barring emergencies/potty of course). If they do this, there is a sticker on the chart when they get out of bed the next morning. We started it off with a note from the elf and when they get ten stickers, they get a new chart and a special surprise. The four year old is a few days behind the five year old with stickers, but they have both gone to sleep almost every single night since without any problems. You don't have to do the elf idea, but just having a sticker chart with a surprise at the end that is in manageable amounts REALLY helped them to do this. Now, even if they do wake up early they know not to get out of bed until the sun comes up if they want to keep their sticker.

Bobbi Jean - posted on 01/18/2013

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I have no suggestions, but it does sound like you are making it work for your family. Things will even out in time.

Jodi - posted on 01/18/2013

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No worries Kayla, you do it your way. Every piece of advice here was to cut out the naps, and you aren't prepared to do that, so good luck with whatever you decide to do. Personally, it sounds to me like you haven't perservered for any length of time with no naps, so you've never ACTUALLY given it a chance, but that's your prerogative. I hope that works for you once the kids are in full time school.

Kayla - posted on 01/18/2013

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Jodi,

Contrary to the belief that you have that if their naps were cut out completely, they would not sleep in during the mornings. My oldest child did not have a nap at all yesterday and he would not go to sleep until 1AM and was up again at 4. My husband works anywhere between 8 and 13 hours a DAY so he couldn't necessarily stay up until then with him. We all generally go to bed about 9 PM because 1) I know my children like waking up earlier and 2) Because I know that I need to be up with them. I honestly believe that having the energy to do my schoolwork and be able to stay up later so I can get my schoolwork done is VERY important to me, considering I would like my children to have much more than what I did when I was growing up. I understand that parents need to make sacrifices but at what expense? I have seen parents that have went on NO sleep and just SNAP on their children. I don't want to be one of their parents. It was actually nice that the other night all three of my children went to bed and they ALL slept until about 8AM. However, last night, my oldest refused. I appreciate the advice but in a way it seems as though you are trying to be judgmental of my parental abilities. I understand that your children are older, but what works for some parent's children, may not work for others.

Sally and Sarah,
My 2 year old has done amazing with his naps. My other two are very active during the day hence the reason for their naps. Yesterday, as you have read in my response to Jodi, did not take a nap and was still wide awake until 1AM and was up at 4. Normally when they wake up THAT early, they are normally back down for their naps at 9AM AFTER they have had breakfast and watched a few cartoons. Quiet time doesn't really work in my house. I have attempted to do that and as soon as I walk out of the room to go to the bathroom, they start running around acting up. I have tried everything.

To All,
I honestly believe that if they are up at 4AM, then a nap is very acceptable, considering if they do not go to sleep until 4AM. I appreciate the help and will be taking some of these into consideration. But because of my schooling, I cannot afford to completely cut out their naps. Call it selfish if you may, but I am looking out for my children's future!

Sally - posted on 01/18/2013

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Cut the nap, later bedtime, more physical activity through the day might help. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. I need about 10 hours per night and my husband needs 6. Guess who both kids took after. If he simply doesn't need to sleep as long as you would like him to, you'll have to start going to bed earlier to keep up with him.
Good luck

Jodi - posted on 01/17/2013

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So you don't want to cut out naps because it interferes with your schedule. Right, gotcha.

I hate to say it, but that really is the problem right there. 5 is too old for daytime naps. Enforce quiet time, but naps are interfering with their nighttime sleep. I am advising you this as a mother of 4 children who are all OLDER than your kids and have been through cutting out their daytime naps. Believe me, it makes a HUGE difference to their sleep patterns. You can't have it both ways. You want them to sleep longer at night, but you want them to have their naps too. That's just not reality.

How much is getting back that energy from lack of night time sleep worth to you?

Kayla - posted on 01/17/2013

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Jodi,

My son, Julian is in preschool. My step-son, Hayden is on the waiting list to start school. They are normally pretty good taking naps during the day and have no problems. Julian will put himself to sleep for a nap like 2 hours before he goes to school and I'm okay with that. I try to get my step-son and youngest to take naps after Julian goes to school so I may get housework and my online classes done since my husband works 8-13 hours a day. It feels as though if they DON'T get their naps that I can't get anything done because they end up cranky and refuse to listen. I have tried all that I can! At this point, the option of cutting out naps for my oldest boys, are out of the question. I need that time for myself and for my housework and schooling. Thanks for the suggestions. I feel that between you and Sarah's recommendations that I will be able to work something out! :)

Kayla - posted on 01/16/2013

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I have three boys all together. Two 5-year-olds and an almost 2 year old. I wouldn't be able to cut naps out completely because of my 2-year-old. Both of my 5-year-olds were awake this morning at 2:45! I still haven't been to sleep and do not see any sleep until about 9. I may just have to move their bedtime to 8 or so because them waking up is really ruining MY sleep schedule. Thanks for the advice Sarah.

Kayla - posted on 01/16/2013

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When either of my boys wake up at 4, they will turn their bedroom light on and wake up the other two that are STILL sleeping. I get up when I hear them up and playing and try my best to encourage them to lay back down and go to sleep. My children go to bed anywhere between 9 and 10 depending upon whether they had naps. I have even tried a small dose of melatonin and nothing seems to work. It's just day after day after day after day and I'm running low on energy and patience!

Sarah - posted on 01/15/2013

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When your 5 yr old wakes up at 4 am what does he/she do? What do you do? What time does he/she go to bed at night?

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