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My 4 year old won't fall asleep until very late

Posted by on Jun. 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM
  • 5 Replies


My son Andrew is 4 and recently he will not fall asleep until 11 or 12 at night.  I do everything I can to get him to sleep but he wants to stay up.  I was working and he was in daycare however I was laid off in  April and he has been home with me during the day.  I think this has something to do with it but I really don't know what to do to get him back on his routine.  Any advice would be appreciated.



by on Jun. 2, 2010 at 11:15 AM
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by on Jun. 2, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Does he take a nap?  If he does, I'd drop it.  Also, do you get up later in the day than you were before?  It could be he's making up for going to bed late by sleeping later in the morning.  My daughter has been struggling to go to bed before it gets dark, so some of it is simply the time of year.  I can't wait until the summer solstice when the days start getting shorter.

by on Jun. 2, 2010 at 1:44 PM

First couple of years my 3 year old son was like that (long story), so naturally he was miserable the next day cause he'd be so tired. I now make him go to bed at 8:30 (so it's about 9 when he goes to sleep, after brushing his teeth, reading him a couple of stories and rocking him). He goes without a fight now (mostly).

I would eliminate his nap if it hasn't been already. I would also try to keep him stimulated and active during the day so that he gets worn out. And I would set his bedtime and stick to it, no matter if he whines or cries and resists. He will eventually get back to his normal schedule.

by on Jun. 2, 2010 at 2:18 PM

I don't think he is tired enough.  Is he running around and act like he has to much energy?

I agree don't let him sleep in.  If he was up at 6am before keep that schedule. 

My son is the same way on weekends becuase we let him sleep in later. 

I could not elimate a nap becuase he would be impossible at 5pm.

Good luck!

by on Jun. 2, 2010 at 2:28 PM

I would not necessarily drop the nap if he has one.

The first thing would be to force yourselves to get up early.  It's hard, I know, but that was the key for us (we used to go to bed late, too).

The second thing was to eat dinner earlier.  I force myself using an alarm to get dinner on the table no later than 6:30 at the absolute latest, and I aim for 5:30.  It seems crazy but they need time for their dinner to digest.

The third thing was to have a gradually decreasing routine.  So the first week you have four bedtime stories and two songs until he conks out.  Second week you have three and one.  Third week you have two and one.  Fourth week you have one and one.  This will slowly get him used to a manageable bedtime routine.

Fourth, if he does have a nap, make sure it starts before one p.m. and that it doesn't last more than an hour.  My child NEEDS a nap, but not a long one.  She does best with a short nap between one and two.  Your child might even need an earlier nap.

Finally, you have to believe it can happen.  I know that when he keeps getting up it seems impossible but that kind of thinking leads to giving up.  I should know, I gave up way too many times.  You just have to believe that he can change and he will.

Good luck.  It is HARD to change the rhythm but it can happen.

by on Jun. 2, 2010 at 3:09 PM
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. He doesn't take a nap but since I've been home he has been sleeping later in the morning. I'll take your suggestions and see how he does. Thanks again.
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