Monday, October 10, 2011

My Toddler is a Night Owl

Well, it seems our 3 year old is a night owl. She hates going to bed, which means we have a struggle in the morning. She finds every reason in the book to stay up. "Momma, I have to go potty." "Momma, can you rub my back some more?" "Can we read one more book please?" and the one that always gets me is "Momma, I miss Daddy." Most night she sleeps in Daddy's shirt and holding onto "Daddy Doll".

Even since the time she was in a crib she'd sneak out of bed. When this first started happening, we'd hear her flop out of her crib and hit the floor. Then the tricky little one learned how to quietly climb up and down the bars of the crib using feety pajama's (think log climbers) and would creep downstairs and hide under the end tables while we sat just inches away watching tv. Clueless that she was even there. We never heard her on the monitor. She was that quiet! Needless to say, we ditched the feety jammies.

At that point we figured it was time to put her into a big girl bed. Silly us, we thought she'd want to stay in her big girl bed. Wrong. She'd still stay up until 9:30 and would wake up around 8:00am. This wasn't such a big deal since she wasn't in school and we had no reason for her to wake up early.

Fast forward roughly a year and a half. She began preschool a few months ago (the same time John deployed) and is now forced to have a set wake up time. Here's our normal routine (note that she was taking a 1.5-2 hour nap at school):

6:45-7:30 - bathtime, brush teeth, jammies, etc
7:30-8:00 - read books, prayers, cuddles, etc.

I'd tuck the kids in and turn to leave, but before I could even get halfway across the room, she was out of the bed and saying she wasn't tired. The long list of excuses would begin. It would be 9:30 or 10:00 before she'd end up asleep (almost always in my bed) and when the alarm would go off at 5:45 she wouldn't get out of bed. This is typically what the mornings look like around here. This photo was taken after me trying for 45 minutes to get her out of bed.

I had a conversation with her Preschool teachers and we decided to cut her naps back to 1 hour. We all thought this would be great but nothing has really changed. She still goes to bed late and doesn't have an easy wake up. It's obvious she's tired -she'll even tell you she's tired as we leave school, but when we get home, it's a different story.

She still very much needs naps so I don't want to cut them out all together but I'm out of ideas.  Do any of you lovelies have any suggestions?


  1. Yikes. We go through this with Cohen occasionally - sometimes it takes us going in there and laying the law down. We've completely emptied his room before - all toys/blankets/pillows were removed bc he kept playing instead of sleeping. After he calmed down from being upset, we told him he HAD to stay in his bed and sleep or he wouldn't get his toys back. It worked. We've had to do it 1 other time - but mostly he just lays in his bed till around 830/9. And it's 830pm here right now and I hear him walking into our bedroom. So much for my speech! lol. Hang in there - hopefully she'll get into a routine soon.

  2. I have no clue. I wish I could help. My sweet loving soon to be four year old is a night owl also. She is worse than a teenager trying to wake her up in the morning.

    I have got to break this though because when preschool hits I don't want to be fighting her into clothes.

    Good luck!

    (and she is soooo cute when she's sleeping!)

  3. I don't know what you're talking about?? I look at those pictures and all I see is a precious little angel.

    Seriously, here's my suggestion. Warm bath with minimal play. Jammies. Brush. Potty. Glass of water taken to your night stand at by 7:30/8:00. Light off. T.V. on family friendly show (cooking show for example) but NOT children's program or cartoon. Snuggles under the blanket with mommy stroking her hair or scratching her back while both are watching t.v. Limited talking. When conversation or play begins, redirect with "We're in cuddle time. You need to be still and quiet to stay in mommy's room; otherwise, you will need to go to your bed."

    It should not take more than an hour for her to fall asleep and then you can pick her up and carry her to bed. This is the modified "family bed" that we have always done with the kids and even now, at 11 and 9, they insist we have "cuddle time"- even if it is only for 15 minutes when we've come home late at night from an outing. Like anything else, it will take time to teach her the routine, but if you're willing to put in the time, I bet you'll find that you enjoy the time quality time with her and the time you gain back once she's in bed.

    Good luck with "my" baby girl!!