December 20, 2007,
A.H. asks from Bowling Green, KY on December 19, 2007
When Is a 'Normal' Bedtime for a Toddler?
I have an 18 month old daughter whose typical bedtime is around 7:30pm (Central time). We wake her up around 5:45am every morning in order to get her ready for daycare and us ready for work. She has had this routine with no major issues for quite some time now. However, for the last week or so, she has gone to bed as normal with no problems, only to wake up around 8:30 or 9pm wanting to get up after only being asleep for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Sometimes it even happens later in the night, like at 1 or 2am. She then cries her head off (that angry, shrill "I'm not getting my way" cry...I'm sure you Mothers know what I'm talking about) when we try to make her go back to sleep. I really don't know what is triggering this. I don't know if it is teething, separation anxiety, or just plain thinking she is missing out on something fun. My husband and I have tried letting her go to bed a little later, or letting her get up for 10-15 minutes when she does start crying, and even just letting her cry it out until she gets so tired and gives up and falls asleep (which we did last night and it took about 45 minutes). I'm wondering if we are putting her to bed too early now as compared to other toddlers her age...although when she goes to bed, she does seem tired and ready to sleep. We just can't get her to stay asleep as we used to.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for all of the responses. We are still struggling with her sleep, but she did better last night. I'm beginning to think her disruption is most likely due to a combination of teething and the anxiety from the impending Holidays. I hadn't even really thought about it, but after a few of you mentioned it, it makes sense to me that she is aware that something 'big' is going on (Christmas) and she just doesn't understand it yet. The decorations, trees, and activities at daycare may be causing her a little extra stress. The daycare teachers told me she hasn't been sleeping as well there either during the afternoon nap. We are just going to have to ride it out I guess and hopefully after the Holidays she will settle down.
K.S. answers from Texarkana on December 20, 2007
I have a 2 year old and a three year old and they go to bed between 7:30 and 8 because they have to get up at 5:30. At 18 months I would bet that she might be getting her 2 year molars...that is when both of mine started cutting theirs. Unfortunatly it seems to take forever but there are breaks in there.
M.A. answers from Lafayette on December 20, 2007
I have 4 kids & I was never strict on a toddler bedtime. I would try at around 9:00 or so, but a lot of times it's not until close to 10. Between the long night & then a nap at daycare, she may be getting too much sleep now. Their sleeping needs change from time to time. I would give her a test run at 8:30 & see how she does. It can't be any worse than what ur going thru now :)
It'll work itself out.
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M.G. answers from Oklahoma City on December 20, 2007
there is no "normal" bedtime for a toddler...but midnight is a bit unreasonable. (j/k) you can shoot for a goal of a ballpark time frame but honestly...don't count on making it. i have a 4 and half y/o and 10mo old and the only one that ever makes it to bed at around the same time every night is the 10mo old. and even most nights its late. as a single mom, i have no choice but to get them on my schedule. i started a routine, dinner, bath time, then some mommy time or reading a book (with the 4 y/o) and then bed...and oh no, the dreaded crutch of a single mom, i admit it...sometimes the tv puts her to sleep. you know, whatever works for you. i know i'll probably be criticized for the tv thing, but if it keeps her quiet till the baby is asleep then whatever works. although, now i'm wishing hadn't been such a push over momma the 1st time and started putting the oldest in bed and letting her fall asleep on her own. i would probably spend more time in my bed than hers. good luck! you'll find a routine that works for the two of you!
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E.G. answers from Shreveport on December 20, 2007
My daughter goes to bed around 9:30-9:45 pm central time. She has most of her 4 years of life. She gets up at about 7:15 am with me to get ready for daycare unless her daddy takes her, then she gets to sleep till about 9 or 9:30. She gets a 2 hour nap at school so I know she's not missing out on sleep. On the weekends, we will let her stay up late. She likes to sleep in with mom on Saturdays. She will wake up, come get in bed with me, turn on the cartoons and usually pass back out for an hour or so. My husband is a bartender and our schedule has been his since the day she was born so shes accusomed to it.
J.C. answers from Tuscaloosa on December 20, 2007
8:30 has always been my kids' bed time any earlier and they would get up and stay up for 3-4 more hours. We normally don't get home frmo work/school/daycare until between 5:30 and 6:00 and dinner is usually done by 7:00 pm so an 8:30 bedtime gives us time for baths bedtime stories, snuggles, and tooth brushing.
My kids are 5 and 3 now but 8:30 pm has been their bed time since they were babies. We also get up between 5:30-6:00 am to get ready for the day.
E.H. answers from Baton Rouge on December 20, 2007
My son is 2 and used to go to bed between 730 and 8 every night. We are currently going through changes so it's been whenever lately. But what I found was waking him up sometimes was that he had to go potty. Are you potty training her? Even if you are not, she may be becoming aware of when she has to go and it is quite possible to be waking her up!
H.E. answers from Knoxville on December 19, 2007
I know that toddler's bedtimes vary from child to child ... trust me, my friends and I all have very different bedtimes for our children (who are all around the same age)! ;) Personally, we've always let our children and their needs dictate bedtime (as long as it still stays early enough so they get enough sleep).
My daughter, who will be one the end of this month, is a terrible sleeper (especially right now). She has a hard time making it past 6 or 6:30 every night, and sleeps until about 6 or 7 the next morning. She doesn't nap well though, and is usually just dead tired by early in the evening. She's been teething terribly bad lately, and it's made sleeping (in the day and at night) a nightmare! ;)
My son, who will be 3 in February, has started staying up until about 8 or 8:30 p.m., but that's been a recent thing. He used to be in bed by 7 or 7:30. He'll sleep until 6:30 or 7:30 on average, as well. He also takes one nap a day (for about 2 hours on average).
So, they both get between 10-12 hours a sleep a night, with an hour or two naps during the day. I think children are unique though, and need different amounts of sleep. I found if I let my kids stay up too late, they end up getting up earlier in the morning and they are just cranky and sleepy all day! ;)
Good luck finding a bedtime that works for all of you. She may be going through something developmentally (with language, teething, etc.) that's throwing her off right now. Best of luck to you!
D.P. answers from Chattanooga on December 19, 2007
my dd is almost 21 mths and goes to bed between 7 and 730 most nights, some nights it's 8-830 but always sleeps for at least 12 hrs and her naps are pretty much non existent now b/c when I transitioned her bed she started waking at about 9-930 and on days she gets up earlier than 7 am i try to get her to nap because she just can't make it wihtout one on those days but once i adjusted to no naps on a general day she has slept through the night
S.M. answers from Shreveport on December 20, 2007
Hello I have to say it's entirely up to you, I have twins that are 20 months and they go through stages like that as well. And believe me it's no fun. Mine wake each other up so it's two screaming. But I could never figure out what it was teething nightmare ect... I just would have to let them scream it out and eventually they got back on a normal routine. Lately we have let them stay up a little later they go to bed between 8:00-8:30. I know it sucks to listen top that I am a stay at home mom so usually if they don't stop I have to get up with them so Daddy can sleep. It should get better but you have to stick to it. Don't go in there everytime cause they know you will from now on. Or that's what my ped. Dr said.