Author Topic: 3yo waking every night  (Read 817 times)

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Offline twinmama2

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3yo waking every night
« on: December 10, 2016, 02:31:54 am »
My son turned three a month ago, and still wakes every. single. night. 
He (and his twin brother) have never been great sleepers and I feel like we've tried a million different things to help them.  We've tried shortening naps, lengthening naps, changing bedtimes.  Recently his twin brother has had success with the OK to Wake clock and a sticker chart for staying in bed.  These helped him for a few nights as well, but now we are back to waking up at some point every night. 
When he wakes he yells for me (and usually wakes up his baby sister across the hall).  When I go to him I put him back in his bed, give him a hug and leave.  That's all he needs. 
I'm getting really frustrated and extremely exhausted.  I've been telling myself his whole life that he will eventually grow out of the night wakings, but after three years of this I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong!
I would really appreciated any tips or encouragement.

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Re: 3yo waking every night
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2016, 08:36:56 am »
Does he have a lovely he can hold onto? Maybe something you can power up with mummy love and tell him when he wakes at night he should hold it and cuddle it and go back to sleep?  You could do a little role play during the day, get into his bed and say you are pretending to be him, show him how you wake, find the lovey, snuggle into it and get all the mummy love and turn over and go back to sleep. Then get him to have a practice. I've done this with a few different things with my DS and it worked pretty well for him to know how to respond.

You could also explain to him how everyone needs their sleep so that they have enough energy to play properly the next day.  Explain how he is waking his sister which means mummy has to also go to her which then means less sleep for mummy and less energy to play well.  Let him know you love playing with him and want it to be good fun so lets all sleep quietly all night.

You could verbally reassure from outside the room to tell him to go back to sleep without going into his room.
I had a phase with mine when he was calling out for pretty much no reason, I ended up calling back that "I'm right here everything is fine go to sleep" then " go to sleep" and in my less patient moments in the middle of the night I called "It's not fair, I need sleep too" and if he shouted again I called back "be quiet, go to sleep". Whilst I sometimes felt less than great about not going in to him I also knew that he had received the verbal reassurance, he knew I was close, he was not abandoned, he was safe, that I would go to him if there was a real problem but that actually in the middle of the night it was not acceptable to keep calling out.
Children who are not responded to might fear they are not safe or there is no one watching out for them, children who are responded to even if it is "go to sleep" are reassured that mummy is still around. Obviously if they are crying and distressed it is different, but this waking and just habitually calling for a little cuddle is different, they are not in pain or ill or in danger and I think a verbal response instructing them what to do (be quiet, go to sleep) is an acceptable one.

If the twins are still napping you might find that this twin needs less nap, capping his nap may help with nights.  Some LOs have dropped their nap by this age so it wouldn't be unheard of although totally cutting the nap out would likely cause a period of disturbed sleep whilst a new suitable routine was established.

Otherwise...keep telling yourself it won't go on for ever. It must feel like it now he is 3yo, but he really is likely to stop this eventually.

hugs, it really is exhausting to have your sleep broken and perhaps more frustrating to know that it doesn't really need to be as he is basically fine.


Offline twinmama2

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Re: 3yo waking every night
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2016, 01:00:02 am »
Thank you very much for the suggestions. We are starting to try some out tonight!

Offline barbaraz78

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Re: 3yo waking every night
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2016, 11:13:43 am »
Just to add something... Usually it is believed that kids "stop waking" at a certain point in their life. This is actually not true (at least it is not for us). My DS tells me that he wakes 2-3 times per night and he is 7 yo. He sometimes has a sip in his water bottle, or a wee. Mostly, however, he tells me that he wakes, and then turns around in the bed and falls asleep again. This is the big difference and the thing that we need to teach. That night is made for sleeping and it is for both children and parents. So, they need to learn to fall back asleep independently, without calling out.
Barbara


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Re: 3yo waking every night
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2016, 19:00:26 pm »
Excellent point Barbara.
I know my almost 6yo also wakes in the night but he wouldn't be thinking of calling me unless he was highly distressed or ill and it does come from learning it is not okay to wake everyone (me!) as I need my sleep too.


Offline twinmama2

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Re: 3yo waking every night
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2016, 03:28:26 am »
We spent a long time yesterday evening talking about sleep and practicing what to do if they wake up at night. We also put a water bottle, Kleenex, and an extra lovey near their beds  so they could get them on their own in the middle of the night. They both made it all night without waking the rest of the family! And J (who almost always yells out at night) told me in the morning that he woke up a few times, took a drink of water and went back to sleep. :) I'm hoping we can keep this up! Thank you for the suggestions!

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Re: 3yo waking every night
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2016, 13:00:11 pm »
Yay!! Hooray!!!!
What a lovely update :)
Now it might not be so perfect every night but it is certainly progress and shows they can both do it so keep the success in mind when there comes a night one of them shouts out again. Use your key phrase to kindly but firmly tell him to go back to sleep.

Ooh you must have heaps of energy after a full night sleep lol