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3 year old takes hours to settle to sleep at night

Our 3.5 year old son takes FOREVER to fall asleep at night. He will stay in his bed, but he just lies there with his eyes wide open for hours, often not drifting to sleep until 10 pm. (We know this because we have a video monitor to check on him.) We have him up there tucked in by 8:30 pm. Dropping the daytime nap doesn't seem to be an option yet because he still needs a 2 hour nap each day. What is going on?????

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Asked by TRooney at 9:04 PM on Mar. 10, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 2 (10 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • Maybe he's a deep thinker and he's laying there thinking about his day?'s a thought. It is good though that he is just laying there though and not constantly getting out of bed. Does he have anything in his diet during the day that may cause him not to sleep well at night? It might be something worth looking into. Maybe try waking him earlier in the morning for a few days and see if that works better for nighttime.

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 9:07 PM on Mar. 10, 2010

  • My kids stopped napping early, which I think you could do now. We eat at around 5 then bathe. At around 6, we sit on the couch and read stories till bedtime at 7pm. I let them listen to a CD (music or stories). They can play with their stuffed animals but no actual toys that aren't soft/ on the bed already.

    Answer by txdaniella at 9:07 PM on Mar. 10, 2010

  • I have thought of dropping his pm nap, but what about the fact that he drifts off to nap 2 hours each day? Doesn't that mean that he still NEEDS a nap?

    Answer by TRooney at 9:11 PM on Mar. 10, 2010

  • No your right dont drop the afternoon nap they definatly still need that. As far as trying to get him to sleep quicker you might want to try this as silly as it might sound. I just recently started bathing my son again in the night time soap and putting the night time lotion on him again with the lavender in it and OMG it actually works!! You should see my son, he looks like hes about to pass out after his bath and getting him dressed, its so cute how comfortable he looks it reminds me of when he was a newborn. Just an idea but if that doesnt work then maybe look at how much sleep hes getting total throughout the night and a nap time cause I think right now there supposed to have about 13 hours a day. Which I normally try to get him to sleep 11 at night and 2 at nap time but dont over due that cause that might be his problem. Best of luck and hope you find something that works.

    Answer by LANDENSMOMMYlmk at 12:58 AM on Mar. 11, 2010

  • I think I answered your other question - but wanted to respond to the issue of the 'needing' a nap because he takes it. The answer is no. What he needs is a certain number of hours of sleep a day - that means between night and naps. If he's getting that time with less at night and the 2 hr nap, he's meeting his total. If he gets to sleep earlier at night without the nap he's still getting the rest his body needs. I asked myself the same question when my kids were at this stage. I know personally (and I know with my kids now) if I nap during the day I struggle to get to sleep at night, even if I'm tired. It just throws me off. The only time I manage to nap without issue at night is when I'm sick. :) We found the same to be true with the kids when they were young. We dropped the naps and those night time issues were history. They got the rest they needed and we got peace. :)

    Answer by ldmrmom at 9:15 AM on Mar. 11, 2010

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