Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Naptime Dilemma

I have been blessed with children that love to nap.

(PRAISE JESUS for this measure of grace in my life!)

The baby has fallen asleep in his highchair while waiting for his lunch.

Jack simply couldn't make it through a night out to dinner without his nap last year. So, he defied the laws of gravity and performed an amazing feat to sneak one in on a restaurant chair.

They are their Momma's boys. I love to nap. Always have. (Just ask my college roommates.)

So, it doesn't surprise me that my offspring love napping, too.

However {*deep sigh*}, now I've got a dilemma with one of them.

Max. My four year-old. This child not only loves to nap like his brothers, but is in a DEEP and ENDURING love affair with his nap.

The dilemma: He is also in a deep and enduring love affair with 5:30 am.

We have tried cutting out his nap. "Let's watch a show. Let's play outside. Let's go to the pool." He will fall asleep sitting up in a chair at the first available moment.

Case in point:

We've tried making his bedtime later. 5:30am still lures him awake with her irresistible charm. (Little hussy.)

And, well, as much as I really do love looking at his chubby little face and snuggling up next to him when he crawls into bed next to me in the morning, I'm about to be up all hours nursing a newborn. And, I'd much rather he sleep until something more reasonable - like, I don't know - maybe 6:30?

Max shares a bedroom with Jack. So, I'd rather him not be forced to stay in his bed or room until the clock says, "[insert reasonable time here]". The temptation to wake up his brother and start an early morning Lego-throwing party would probably be too much to bear.

So, any advice? Suggestions? Anyone had a similar experience and have some expertise to share?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Have you tried only letting him nap for about 20 mins and then waking him up?

  2. How dark is his room in the morning? We have the pull down blinds in my son's room. He was waking up early, too. So I bought dark denim curtains - it's DARK in there now, even when the sun is blasting away. He sleeps much longer now. Now I need to find some dark curtains for my daughter. :0S

  3. My little guy is an early riser. (possibly was? At age 6 he seems to be sleeping later!! Today he slept until 8:00! :) There is hope!!)

    Tammy's idea is a great one - we added a roller shade and black out fabric. It helped some, but he still got up at the crack of dawn.

    We did the you may come out of your room at 6:30, but with sharing rooms I see the dilemma. Is there another place he could go? You may quietly play in this room until reasonable time? Don't wake up the momma!! ;)

    Hope you get some great ideas - I feel for ya!!

  4. This is when the TV becomes your friend - cartoons are always on at that time!
    I have an early riser, no matter what time she goes to bed, no matter how dark her room is, she up at the crack of dawn - teaching her to turn on the tv and change channels was the best thing ever!

  5. Try shortening the nap a little. Grae still wakes up at 6:45 no matter what we do, but the nap that is a little shorter has helped.

  6. Teach him how to do laundry, water plants, dust, etc. and tell him he can do as much cleaning as he wants until breakfast time. :)

  7. Sorry, no advice, but I love the way Beth thinks...

  8. Wish I had some words of wisdom for ya... we have all 3 of our kiddos in the same room and the 6 and 4 yr old know they are not allowed out until 7 so they stay on their bed. But the 2 yr old quite often goes out of her bed and into ours around 6 or 6:15. I wish I had an awesome solution, so far it has been, "Go around to Daddy's side" and she lays in bed with us till 7.

    Our kids get to watch 2 shows a day... on days when we don't have to be out the door by 8am they watch them in the morning... either Scott or I will go out give them some dry cereal and a sippie cup, turn on their show and we crawl back in bed.

    I know it isn't ideal or by the books... but it is how we roll right now.

  9. this is a good one. i don't think nap time or bed time has anything to do with it. i think he's just wired to be an early riser (i have one of those - all 4 of my kids can be on the exact same schedule w/ no naps and they are each wired to get up at different times).
    maybe you could come up w/ an appropriate activity for him in the living room / den / family room that he could do when he wakes up before everyone. maybe he could keep an eye on the clock in that other room and know when the appropriate time is to "make noise." i realize this is a lot to expect from a little boy, but an incentive chart w/ stickers or check marks and a fun prize at the end could work wonders!

  10. once the baby arrives, maybe wake him at one of the feedings during the night so he can use the bathroom and maybe "help" you somehow and then put him back to bed. Maybe it'll help him sleep past the early am rising time with the disruption in the middle of the night. Or create some really bad sleeping habits! i had an early 5 am riser for years so i feel for you.

  11. You could have a special "morning bin" of toys/books/puzzles you put at the foot of his bed each night after he's asleep and when he wakes up in the morning he can play quietly in his bed until 7:00 or whatever time you choose. Get him a digital clock and write 7:00 on paper and tape so it lines up underneath the numbers on the clock... and then when the numbers all line up like a slot machine to match 7:00, then he may get out of bed or call for you or whatever you decide.
    Best wishes,
    Mary vonRosenberg :)

  12. Iol at Beth's comment. ;o)

    I don't have any advice. I just wanted to comment on how adorable your sleeping babes are. Lincoln with that thumb.....seriously.

  13. We have an early riser also. I agree with ktNcompany-some kids are just wired that way. I would just embrace it! But we also do what Crystal does with the sippy cup and a cartoon. It may not be right, but it gives me an extra 30 minutes or so to sleep!

  14. Thank you all SO much! Some really, really good suggestions! We'll try a few and see how it goes! And, if he's just a born early riser, then we'll find ways to keep him entertained while we snooze!

    Thanks, again!!

  15. As a teacher, the only thing I can say is: praise the Lord!
    This means you wont have those terrible morning struggles when he has to get up to go to school in a few years.

  16. i know over here we have a special alarm clocks for children that let them know when it is ok to get out of bed. our early risers play in the computer room/library, which is upstairs with the bedrooms so that we can hear and see, if we need to see what they are doing... works for us!

  17. This is TOTALLY counter-intuitive, and I've never tried it myself, having little ones who generally sleep until a reasonable hour (thank God) but a book I have (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth) suggests putting them to bed EARLIER for a later wake-up time. Sounds nuts, but a friend of mine said it worked for her kids. I think you have to do it in 15-minute increments or something - not just plop him in bed an hour early the first time.

    Anyway, since no one else mentioned that I thought I'd throw it into the mix just in case.


  18. I don't know if this would work w/ a 4 yr old or not, but when my twins were about 20 mo old they started thinking 4:30am was a good wake-up time. Needless to say, I disagreed. What finally worked for me was to tell them we couldn't get up until "the music played" I set the clock radio (in both our room & theirs, since they started out the night in their own beds but sometimes came to ours during the night) to come on VERY quietly (like, barely hear it, quietly) to the local Christian radio station (which was still playing their "nighttime music" at that hour) at about 4:35. Then if they woke up ahead of that I'd tell them "shhh we can't get up till the music plays, but we have to be quiet to hear it!" they quickly learned to lay quietly listening for hte music, then when it came on, they'd pop up all excited, and our day would start. BUT . . . once they understood the concept I started moving the time later by 5 or 10 minute increments and they started sleeping later (if they woke up TOO far before the music, they'd fall back asleep waiting for it to start)we kept inching the time later until we hit the time that dh got up for work, which was as late as we could push it since they were sometimes in our room & saw Daddy get up. So, I don't know if you could do something similar w/ requiring him to stay in bed till the music played or not, but might be worth a try?