I thought we had a deal, you and me. You’d manage ten hours at night and top up with a hearty daytime nap. Yet what do we have now but ever earlier waking and signs of dropping your nap. Now you’ve left me second-guessing our routine and we both know that one false move will see it all come crashing down around our ears.
Sleep and small children is an ongoing challenge of moving goalposts. The early months are all over the place and just as you detect something of a routine the latest round of sleep regression will knock all your hard work for six. Later, dreams and night terrors make themselves known and lest we forget seasonal challenges and the unpredictable relationship between naps and night sleeping.
We were doing well. The introduction of the Gro Clock had kept morning waking times after 6am for several months. However a couple of weeks ago that changed. Suddenly Tilly began waking a half hour before her clock and it’s been getting progressively earlier ever since.
This has all sent different ideas racing through my head as to the cause. Some days if she doesn’t fall asleep in the pram she can keep going into the afternoon but then looks tired. Perhaps she’s trying to drop her nap? Yet she has been a heavy napper, typically sleeping for 2-3 hours. Could this now be too long? Or could it be the season? We have blackout blinds in place but perhaps something – the morning chorus perhaps – is causing disturbance?
Fortunately the clocks going forward and Easter holidays are just a few days away, allowing I hope the opportunity to reset Tilly’s sleep cycle and restore waking at a more reasonable hour.
Incentivising staying in bed until the sun comes up on the Gro Clock is another idea. I don’t want us to get into bad habits by I’m acutely aware that Tilly can be a lot more cooperative when something is in her interest. It feels like she needs something more tangible than ‘not feeling tired during the day’. Trying to resettle once she’s wide awake is a non-starter and will only lead to lots of screaming and her being in a foul mood all day.
Plan A is to hold on until the clocks change and use an altered routine to hopefully reset things. Failing that we might need to take more drastic action. What I do know is that waking at 5am is not a long-term option!
What have been your experiences with managing a toddler’s sleep? Leave thoughts and ideas in the comments section.