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20 month old son didn't go to sleep until 6:30 am!!

My 20 month old son has an awful sleeping schedule! Most nights he doesn't fall asleep until 3 or 4 in the morning. This morning he didn't fall asleep until 6:30. If he doesn't have a nap all day he'll still stay up until about 2. We had him on a schedule of going to sleep at 11 every night, which I know is still late but it worked for us. I am pregnant so I am tired and would love to get some sleep at night. My husband has to wake up at 6 in the morning for work so he can't stay up with him all night. He doesn't misbehave or anything, he just doesn't get sleepy. Does anyone know how we can get him sleeping at night and at a decent hour for a child his age? This isn't healthy for any of us!

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:34 AM on Apr. 28, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (5)
  • Wake him up in the morning at the same time everyday. Put him to bed earlier, before he gets overtired. At 20 months I would be surprised if he doesn't need at least an hour nap in the afternoon. Put a bedtime routine into place, one that is very calming and soothing - I would say bedtime no later than 9!

    Answer by missanc at 10:37 AM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • 11 goes against his natural sleep cycle. He should be in bed by 8 pm...and getting at least one good nap every day. He's up because his schedule (YOUR schedule for him) has him sleep deprived. Read the book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and follow their suggestions.


    Answer by JSD24 at 10:44 AM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • Just wondering, JSD24, but how is this MY schedule for him? If this was MY schedule for him I wouldn't have a problem with the schedule in the first place. I want him to go to bed early. I said that 11 worked for us because it is way better than 2, 3, 4 o'clock, is it not? And he does get a nap ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 hours around 3:30 or 4. I was saying if he DOESN'T get a nap he stays up even later. If he was sleep deprived, wouldn't he be falling asleep easily? I'm definitely not depriving him of sleep. I was asking for help on getting him to sleep at night and at a good hour. 8 or 9 sounds good to me.

    Oh, another thing: the nights that he will go to bed early, he only sleeps for about 2 hours and then he wakes up and will not go back to sleep for anything.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:55 AM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • Does he need you to help him fall asleep or have you taught him how to fall asleep on his own? If he's been doing this late-night schedule for a while, it might take a lot of patience and determination on your part to help him get a better schedule. Decide what schedule you want for your family, figure out what sleep training method you are willing to stick with, and then just start (and hold fast even if he protests). He will fight it, but he'll adapt eventually. You know how long it takes for you to drastically change your schedule? It will take him that long, too. Without knowing your kid, I can't tell if he genuinely needs very little sleep or if he's just like most kids who get super hyper when he's overly tired. It's counter-intuitive, I know, but true - kids sleep LESS and have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep when they are really really tired. Well rested kids sleep easier and longer. Good luck!

    Answer by Sebbiemama at 12:44 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

  • What time does he get up for the day when he goes to bed that late??
    I would start waking him up a little earlier everyday and moving bed time that much earlier then that night and see if you can get it worked out.
    For example, if he stays up until 4 am and gets up at 12.... then wake him at 11:30, then 11, then 10:30 and so on.... making his bed time earlier too. And limit the amount of nap time he gets as well during the transition time so he doesn't end up sleeping more because you woke him up early. I would make sure he gets around 11-13 hours of sleep total. Hopefully you can get him on something like 9-8 with a 1-2 hour nap :)

    Answer by AmiJanell at 3:41 PM on Apr. 28, 2011

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