27 answers

Sleeping While Kids/toddler Is Awake

On facebook I saw a post from a friend about how her preschool age child had dismantled something while she was sleeping. Thinking back I can remember other friends and family members talking about the trouble their kids get into when the parent is sleeping. Right now my son is still in a crib, so he can't just get out of bed when I'm sleeping and get into trouble...but I think I would want to be awake whenever my son is. At some point though I will have to trust him, and know that he knows right from wrong, good behavior from bad, and in general what he's allowed to do.

At what age did you allow your kids to be awake with you still sleeping? Allow is probably the wrong word to use...but right now I can't think of a better one.

Any funny stories of the trouble your kids got into when you sleeping?

Any advice to avoid possible catastrophies?

ADDED: I just want to add...in general I'm totally against this...I'm not a napper myself and also an early riser...couldn't imagine leaving him alone.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

After reading these posts I can't help but think my what healthy people you are. Although I would never plan a nap when my kids were younger and awake there were times when I would fall asleep when they were awake. Mostly if I had some nasty flu or virus. I would try to stay awake until they took their naps but dammed if those buggers knew if they could just hold on a little longer..

Once with my oldest I drug him into bed and said we will nap together. We laid down and I put my arm over him so if he got up it would wake me up. I was woken to my ex (well not ex then) coming home and my son saying shhhh mom is sleeping. :) Still under my arm.

3 moms found this helpful

Interesting how many people are adamantly against this. I can't really nap when kids are up because I'm such a light sleeper that anything wakes me. And I do mean "anything". When I put the baby to sleep I go in with him and shut the door, leaving my two toddlers in the rest of the house playing. I often doze for a few minutes, but really I just can't sleep more because I'm too light of a sleeper.

My kids get in trouble when I'm actively watching them, so I'm not really worried about trouble when I can't see. I know it's inevitable so I just try to keep the important stuff out of sight. Mostly they just get into the stuff they can see. :)

2 moms found this helpful

I don't understand why the parent would be sleeping - just don't feel comfortable at almost any age. However, I'm not much of a napper at all either. For small kids - NO WAY. Irresponsible parenting in my opinion.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I'm a light sleeper. I don't nap anymore, but when I did- I took a nap on the couch, and on the couch, between me and the back of the couch I would put the awake toddler. Picture laying on your side, back against the back of the couch, knees bent, feet against the back of the couch, and there's that little triangular empty spot between your legs and the couch- that is where said toddler would be placed- basically trapped:) I put a movie on (low volume) for them. They almost ALWAYS stayed there, if they moved, I immediately woke up.

They have always been pretty quiet and respectful during nap time. I just explain that I need a nap and I will feel really bad if I don't get a nap and that we wont have as much fun that day cause I would be too tired, and I ask them what they want to watch, give them a toy and then it works!

4 moms found this helpful

I have an 8 month old who has yet to sleep all night, and am pregnant, my big kids are homeschooled, and regardless it's summer, at 11, 10 and 8, they let me nap on the couch for an hour while the baby sleeps. I turn on the baby monitor just like if it were night and the baby was down and my internal alarm clock is great. Even if the baby stays asleep I'm up within an hour. I don't see anything wrong with it, it's after lunch time and before snack time and my boys use it as their video game window. If I can't trust them to behave with me sleeping on the couch at their ages, how can I trust them when I sleep at night, or take a shower, or go to another floor in the house to clean or work in the yard?

3 moms found this helpful

After reading these posts I can't help but think my what healthy people you are. Although I would never plan a nap when my kids were younger and awake there were times when I would fall asleep when they were awake. Mostly if I had some nasty flu or virus. I would try to stay awake until they took their naps but dammed if those buggers knew if they could just hold on a little longer..

Once with my oldest I drug him into bed and said we will nap together. We laid down and I put my arm over him so if he got up it would wake me up. I was woken to my ex (well not ex then) coming home and my son saying shhhh mom is sleeping. :) Still under my arm.

3 moms found this helpful

Interesting how many people are adamantly against this. I can't really nap when kids are up because I'm such a light sleeper that anything wakes me. And I do mean "anything". When I put the baby to sleep I go in with him and shut the door, leaving my two toddlers in the rest of the house playing. I often doze for a few minutes, but really I just can't sleep more because I'm too light of a sleeper.

My kids get in trouble when I'm actively watching them, so I'm not really worried about trouble when I can't see. I know it's inevitable so I just try to keep the important stuff out of sight. Mostly they just get into the stuff they can see. :)

2 moms found this helpful

I don't understand why the parent would be sleeping - just don't feel comfortable at almost any age. However, I'm not much of a napper at all either. For small kids - NO WAY. Irresponsible parenting in my opinion.

2 moms found this helpful

In my experience, when they get older and are no longer in a crib they are usually also not napping anymore. You schedules will be more aligned and you will not be napping when he is up.

2 moms found this helpful

We get sitters for our kids ten and under in most scenarios... we would never leave a six year old home alone while we ran a few errands even for an hour... what is the difference? Sure if a loud noise happened or they need us... we are there but I can't remember ever sleeping when my kids were still awake.
I have migraines too and did a lot worse when I was younger. Still don't know how parents can possibly feel reasonable about planning to nap knowing their child won't be... napping that is!

2 moms found this helpful

We still don't like our 11 year old to be awake when one of us isn't near. She could watch bad tv, spend too much time just sitting around and eating, and it's just not necessary. I don't think a toddler should be awake when mom is sleeping. But I know some parents work until 1 or 2 am or even overnight and don't have anyone to help them. I've had this issue in my daycare quite often. I've had to counsel moms how to do it safely. I always tell them that if they are sleeping to have them in the room with them, a room that is safe as possible, high windows or windows barred, locks on the door, potty chair, sippy cup with water, but no toys that are likely to fall apart, change, or other small things they can choke on. Tv with most channels blocked or dvd player and the child knows how to start the videos. Some moms have NO CHOICE.

But if a parent is just to dang lazy to get themselves out of bed and they like to stay up until all hours for no good reason, are not even working... SHAME on THEM.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm with you. It doesn't happen in our house. I would never just stay in bed or take a nap while my son was up...and he's 8! Yes, he's smart, capable, responsible and can always walk over and wake you up, but I cannot fathom WHY people feel it is OK to sleep while they're kids are up....maybe a tag-team mom/dad taking turns napping but...no.

2 moms found this helpful

I admit I have napped when my little girl has been awake. I have trouble sleeping at night so I have times when I get really tired during the happy time in the afternoon when the sun shines in our window. Most of the time she sits next to me and watches a show, or plays on the floor next to me. I also am a very light sleeper, so I will hear anything and I am on the couch in the main room. Now she is older ( 8) she gets up in the morning get some cereal, yogurt or PopTart and will read, play her DS or watch a few cartoons and I will sleep for an hour more. She is a morning child and I have never been able to function before 8. She is very trust worthy and will get me if I am needed. During school though I get up with her so she makes it to the bus on time.

On a funny note, I know what damage she can do. She was 3 almost 4 and would go down for quiet time in the afternoon. I would sneak in a nap because I was working nights. After she would get up she would come in my room and cuddle and wake me up. So one afternoon she woke me up like always and was loving on me and giving me hugs. I was thinking this is the life, my girl is the sweetest thing that ever is. Then I petted Rockie, our dog and noticed she was sticky, in fact there was pink yougert in her fur. I become a bit concerned.
"Honey did you go downstairs while mommy was asleep."
"No," big hug given to me.
"How come Rockie has pink yougert in her fur" I was hopeing it was from lunch. When I wasnt looking.
"blank sweet look" from my daughter.
I was becoming alarmed now and had jumped out of bed and heading downstairs.
" We dont lie to mommy did you go into the refrigerator during quiet time, you will get in trouble if you lie"
"I didnt"
I've rounded the cornor to the kicten and there before me was a sight. A destruction that would make a twister proud. The refrigerator door was wide open making sure the kichen stayed nice and cool. Again the yougert( I now hate TRIX pink and blue) was everywhere. There was yougert artwork on the dishwasher, the island counter sides and a trail of italian dressing going around it. Butter was added to this organic art on the dishwasher. Then looking to the heavens to pray for patience(have you ever seen the Simpsons with Homer strangling Bart) I see PINK and BLUE spots all over the ceiling. THE CEILING!!! In closer inspection I find that yougert has been thrown all over. I found that stuff everywhere in places I'm not sure how it got there. For weeks after I found pink or blue dots. Our ceiling bared those marks for several years as it wouldnt wipe off without taking the 1 layer of paint. I had to paint over the spots.

My only advice is lock the refrigerator. :-)

2 moms found this helpful

I also have a DD who is 3 going on 4 next month. I too will "rest" my eyes while she is up. She gets up multiple times a night so I get only 2 hrs stretches at a time. In the early morning since she isn't in preschool for another month I put a movie in her little movie player and have her play in her room for a bit while I lay on the couch. I am a light sleeper so everytime she opens her door I hear it. She may destroy her room but nothing else so I am okay with that lol!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sure my daughter was 8 before I even slept a 1/2 hour while she was awake. I never felt this was a safe thing to do, and she would never let me sleep :-)

1 mom found this helpful

8y. He was allowed to come tell me he was awake and then go downstairs to watch tv. I usually followed within minutes. I don't agree with sleeping for more than 10m when a kid is awake and on their own.

M.

1 mom found this helpful

During times of illness (me) while my husband worked during the day, I've napped while I've let our daughter watch TV when she was 5 years and up. Our house is small, single story and my bedroom is next door to the living room where she was. But frankly, I really didn't sleep, just rested and laid there in bed. Pretty hard for me to completely sleep knowing that it was ultimately my responsibility to make sure all was well.

1 mom found this helpful

I have migraines and sometimes I need to rest but I always station my 2 year old in the room with toys and a snack on the table and I don't actually sleep. I usually will set the alarm on my phone for about 30-45 minutes so if I do drift off it's for only a few minutes since I don't generally doze off until 20-30 minutes into these little "rests". He will hang out and play happily. If you have a mischievous little one, though, I don't recommend it. The room we hang out in is totally kid proof, and there's nothing he can get into that is dangerous. These rest times aren't the problem, it's generally when I'm in the bathroom that he gets into things he shouldn't.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't sleep when my daughter is awake...however there have been times that I thought she was sleeping when she wasn't. Just recently we were visiting my parents. Four adults in the house, none of us heard her climb out of the crib open a drawer and get out a family size tub of Vaseline. Only when she was trying to wipe it off her hands onto the wall did we realize something was up. My husband went in and there is my daughter covered head to toe in Vaseline. Guess what? Vaseline doesn't come out, after several different remedies that failed we just had to let it wash out over time.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't nap when my kids are little, unless I'm prego and the fatigue gets me! I also have a baby to take care of while I'm prego, which wears me out more (especially not getting enough sleep at night). So, sometimes sleep is a necessity for some people. I won't nap if my baby is awake. When she is down for her nap, I do trust my 4 and 8 year old to be "good". Then my 3 year old, I have her come in the room with me and sit on the bed watching a movie while I sleep. The others can come in too if they want. So, it's not the most restful sleep, but it's enough until the baby wakes up. I haven't had anything crazy happen like some people have!

1 mom found this helpful

I have an oddly mature girl who is incredible self motivated. She's 4.5. I sleep in the mornings, she can tell time and she wakes me up. She eats her O's, works on her art or writing, or reads. She just doesn't look for trouble. EVER. She has a hightened sense of what is right and wrong. I rarely scold, and she likes feeling a sense of competancy. So yeah, I sleep while my daughter is awake. Any other kid, no way!

1 mom found this helpful

Around 4, I let my daughter start going downstairs to play so I could wake up slowly in the mornings. She was permitted to get a yogurt if she was really hungry. This was a weekend treat to her (and us).

She is now 7, and I have a 3 year old. I have never let them roam the house while I slept. However, I have to admit to napping when I had morning sickness while my daughter sat next to me and watched Sesame Street.

I don't think I would be comfortable up in my bedroom sleeping while my kids roamed around, either of them. However, if I was sick or something, I could see setting us up in my room with tv, coloring books, etc. so I could sleep.

Mostly I guess I just see it as a waste of time to sleep when I could be with them..

1 mom found this helpful

It seems that most of these posts were from moms with daughters. I have 2 sons, 7 and 5. When the oldest was about 5 he figured out that he could get up in the morning earlier and if he was REALLY quiet he could get into mischief. He figured out that if he was quiet I probably wouldn't wake up. He would wake up his brother and they would usually just play nicely. Although one time they did get some popsicles and have a treat at 6 am. I've also found lots of strange contraband under his bed, probably taken when he got up before me.....candy wrappers, scotch tape, hammers, chips, the measuring tape, things that aren't toys that I usually don't let them play with unsupervised. I don't nap, and could never fall asleep when they are awake because I know what kind of trouble they could get into. But the morning is another question.....

1 mom found this helpful

I have never taken a nap or gone to bed while my kids are still up. When I was in my 3rd trimester with my 3rd pregnancy, I would lay down upstairs for brief periods because I had pre-term labor and had to rest a lot. Even then, I didn't sleep. I just laid down to take the pressure off. I can't imagine being comfortable enough knowing my kids were up and about to just lay down and go to sleep.

1 mom found this helpful

I would never sleep when my daughter is awake. Way to dangerous! She is 2 1/2 and has always been spirited. She gets in to everything, and even if she didn't you never know what can happen!

1 mom found this helpful

My son gave up naps very early. He turned 3 when I was pregnant with my second. I absolutely napped while he was awake. I would turn on a video, set him on the couch, and lie down right next to him and fall asleep for an hour. He never got into any trouble. Ever.

You gotta do what you gotta do and what you know your kids are capable of.

1 mom found this helpful

i am very guilty to admit that over the winter when i was down with a bad bad cold and me and my daughter were watching tv down stairs (stairs are baby gated so she cant get up and there is nothing that can hurt her at all down there) i dozed on n off while she was playing and watching tv

1 mom found this helpful

I see a few moms are critical about napping while the kiddo is up. I have napped while my son is awake. He is 6 and I am not a huge napper, but I have had my times when I just need it such as when I've been ill etc. I am a single mom, so there's not anyone to tag team with during a nap. If I'm going to lay down I lay down in the living room on the couch. He knows the rules about if someone comes to the door not to open it, wake me up. He knows not to cook anything etc. He has never done anything bad while I've been napping. I am also a pretty light sleeper, so if anything crazy happened I'm sure he'd wake up. Like Frometoz said on her post my house is pretty kid safe. I'll also admit I'll pop in a movie he likes or something if I'm going to take a little nap. We've never had a problem when I've drifted off.

1 mom found this helpful

Every kid is different, and you know yours best. Eventually you will get to the point where you trust that he will be okay. For some, it is 2 years, for some its 14 (or later :) ) Trust your instinct and you will know when its okay.

I have a friend who had a bad experience with this. Sorry, I know you asked for funny stories, but I think this is worth mentioning. She was painting her living room and left the back door slightly open overnight to help the paint dry faster. The next morning her 2 year old woke up and wandered outside before anyone else was awake. Luckily, he was ok, but the police found him and it took a while before they could locate the parents. My friend and her husband were charged with child neglect. I should mention that they are the LAST people on earth to neglect their children. The charge was eventually dropped after going to court, etc.

Bottom line: If you think you might doze off while your child is awake, make sure you do everything you can to keep the house safe.

Our bedrooms were upstairs and we put a childproof gate up at the top of the stairs. This prevented her from getting into the kitchen and downstairs where we couldn't hear her.

It is not the times when you "should" be awake when they will play. As your child grows they will have sleep disturbance. My daughter used this time to explore. Although I eventually woke up, she did get into a few things.

Now she's older and we're in a temporary apartment and she usually just puts the TV on, however I have been sleeping an she has emptied a roll of tape on various things around the house. You just can't prevent it. We still are sure to keep sharp knives, scissors and chemicals out of reach. This gives some peace of mind.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.