You are here

Get Answers

Sometimes it's nice to get advice from experts with a lot of letter degrees behind their names, but other times, you just need to hear what another parent (with a M.O.M. behind her name) has done that has worked. You've got questions? These moms have answers.

toddler sleeping problems.

7 answers
my husband works a 3pm-1am shift and my 20 month old waits for him to get home and does not go to bed until around 2:30-3:00am. I try to get him to nap around 4 no later than 5:30 so he can be tired but if he does nap he wakes up around 1 when his dad gets home. is there any advice you gals have??

answers (7)

Wow.  You don't say how old your toddler is - "toddler" is a pretty wide range, depending on who's defining it at any given time.  My toddler is on the younger side - 18 months.  This is his typical sleeping/napping schedule: Wake - 7.30/8amNap - 11-1.30/2pm(Sometimes if the first nap was short or early, he'll sleep a little more, but usually wakes up no later than 4.30pm)Bed - 8pm, without fail, without exception Your toddler's on such a widely different schedule, he might as well be in a different time zone than you!  And frankly, I think that's how you have to tackle it.  The first thing you need to decide is what time YOU want him to go to bed, and what time YOU want him to wake up.  (I'm not saying you'll get it, exactly, but it's nice to have a goal.) The next part is cooperation - from both you and your husband.  If your toddler is old enough, I'd get him in on it.  Make sure he understands that his new bedtime is Xpm, and that means he's going to bed before Daddy gets home.  He will see Daddy at (lunchtime, or breakfast, whatever set time Daddy will wake up).  Then do it.  Go through whatever bedtime routine you have, in order to get Son in bed at the appointed hour.  Do not give in to screaming, do not give in to pleading, enforce the bedtime firmly.  I realize this is easier said than typed, and that it's going to be a LOT like when your toddler was a baby, learning to sleep through the night.  I'm sorry.  It's gonna suck for a few days.  I promise it won't suck forever. During the daytime, keep your child moving and in the sunlight.  Give him lots of activities, and try not to let him nap except early in the afternoon.  Try to give him at least four hours of awake time before bedtime again - and be aware you might need to increase that.  This is where you can be flexible, as you both try to reset his rhythms.  Most importantly: make sure your husband is in on this plan.  He shouldn't be waking the toddler when he comes home - I'd say not even to peek in, not the first few days.  And if your son wakes up when Daddy comes home at 1am - then Daddy also needs to reinforce the new rule, immediately and with no exceptions: "Go to Bed. Go Directly to Bed.  This is not Playtime.  This is sleep time.  Love you.  Go to bed." Like I said, this is gonna suck - for a little while.  Like I said, he's in a different time zone at the moment and you're bascially giving him "jet lag".  It typically takes one day for every hour of jet lag that a body experiences - plan on this taking at least that long.  Good luck!
thak you this was sooo helpful <3
my daughter's schedule is the same as arizona's, and she's 21 months.  you need to put him down for a nap in the morning, not 4 in the afternoon. a toddler should go to bed no later than 8 pm. no exceptions. you have this problem because you have not put your foot down about bedtime. simple as that. you have allowed it to go on this long, and it's going to be very difficult to break him of this habbit. he needs to be on some time of basic schedule. stick to it as much as possible, but don't become neurotic with it.
I would try to get his nap in closer to two. Slowly move the bed time up everyday. If he doesn't go to sleep for you, let him cry it out. My daughter is in bed by ten every night. She can fall asleep in someone's arms any time before that but when ten hits, she goes in her crib to cry herself to sleep. (And I don't care what anyone says, I will not change her bedtime.) 95% of the time she is sleeping around nine which is good because that is what time I usually lay down. She gets her recommended hours of sleep and that is what matters most :)
I have my daughters start their nap at 12:30 every afternoon, I think the biggest problem is the late nap. You need to establish a new routine, that involves him waking up early in the morning 7:30- 8:30 depending on how early you want him to get to bed. Have a couple of projects to do each day. My daughters both love arts and crafts and cooking projects, so we always do atleast a project of each of those. Have lunch between 11:30 and 12:30 and then nap. Napping earlier will make him way more tired and it will be easier to put him down at a decent hour. Only let him nap for a few hours depending on how old he is. My 3 year old naps 1 and half hours and my 1 year old naps 2 and half hours. Then make sure he gets plenty of excersize outside or even inside. On rainy days we get out a small excersize ball and clear out the living room for some fun games with the ball. Have a strict bedtime routine and stick to it. He may cry and throw a fit and you might feel guilty but remember that you are doing what is best for him by getting him on a normal routine. He will be in for a rude awakening in Kindergarden when he can't go to bed at 3:30 am. It will be easier to break this habbit now, it will only get harder and more complicated as he gets older.
Get your son on a normal sleep schedule. His bedtime should be no later than 9pm, but earlier is better and nap time should be around noon or 1pm.
Get your son on a normal sleep schedule. His bedtime should be no later than 9pm, but earlier is better and nap time should be around noon or 1pm.

*DISCLAIMER's Answers are provided by members of our community. While your fellow moms and our editors have plenty of great advice to offer based on their experience, it is not a substitute for professional medical help. Always consult a medical professional when seeking medical advice. All submitted answers are subject to the rules set forth in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use