I have always based a large part of my perceived success as a parent on how well my children are sleeping. This is directly related to the fact that their sleep reflects on how much sleep/time to get things accomplished I’m getting.
It’s not so much that it’s worse with two children, but there are more variables. It’s possible that both kids are sleeping well, but more likely that one of them isn’t and the other is, OR that they’re both in a bad sleep phase. I can’t really decide which of those last two options is worse. I mean, if the baby is regularly sleeping in until 7, but I can’t enjoy it because the bigger kid is up at 4, well… that’s great for the baby, I suppose.
It’s no coincidence that I used 4:00 am in that last example, because I have seen that hour more than I care to admit lately. Sure, some of it is time-change related, but this kid is an early riser, and it’s not without consequences either. As the person who spends the most amount of time with him, I can recognize when his behavior is spiraling into an over-tired state of perpetual motion. Unfortunately, four year olds are notoriously hard to reason with, so telling him he needs to nap/sleep/rest/stay in bed until AFTER the roosters crow is wildly ineffective.
Things have been bad for months. MONTHS. He’s mostly stopped napping, so I can’t blame that. I honestly think he’s too tired to sleep well. Yes, you read that right. I believe firmly that well-rested children sleep better. Never, EVER, have my children slept longer and more soundly as a result of missing naps or super late bedtimes. Rather, when they’re going to bed at a predictable time and napping, their sleep is more consistent, their moods better.
So, we’ve replaced nap time with quiet time. We spend a lot of time burning off excess energy. We’re limiting screen time. We’re asking him to stay in his room until a certain time. We used to try for 7:00, but that’s a solid THREE HOURS later than he is waking up in the morning, so now I’m asking for six.
This is kind of working. I asked him to stay in bed, but told him he could read, and evidently no one taught this child the concept of an inside voice. Naturally, the baby wakes up and is so tired she falls asleep in the car before we can make it home for naptime.
Hello car nap. Also, hello whiny, crabby baby from about 4:00 until whenever I decide I can’t take it anymore and put her to bed.
So, what do I do? Seriously, tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.
Do I get up with him at 4:00 when he wakes up? Won’t this just train him to wake up at this hour?
Do we continue to just send him back to his room, knowing he’ll probably wake up the baby? He’s not being loud on purpose, our walls are just impossibly thin and sound carries in a quiet pre-dawn house. It’s really cute to listen to him “read” books he has memorized or make up stories based on the pictures, but it’s 4:00 am. IN THE MORNING.
Should I start playing some sort of white noise in Bubette’s room to drown out whatever other noise might wake her up?
We have tried laying down with him. We have tried letting him get into bed with us. Sometimes, but rarely, this works. Usually he’s so wired that he just sits there, eyes wide open, practically vibrating in place.
What do I doooo?