Recently due to a pretty minor illness (that was sleep disrupting) I have a kid that is going to bed excessively early but then rising excessively early. So what I need him to do is to stay awake almost 4 hours longer than he currently is. I have tried to just keep him awake, but he becomes absolutely a mess, crying, ornery, and it ends up feeling incredibly cruel when he is so obviously tired & repeatedly asking if he can go to bed yet. Keeping him up an hour longer also didn't result in a later waking time sadly. He is cooperative in nature generally, so when I asked him to go back to bed, he did, but he didn't sleep. He just laid there politely waiting to be permitted to get up.

Would it be feasible that if I were to just suck it up & wake even earlier, so that I could wake him earlier than he has been waking up (like 2hrs earlier) in the hopes then that he would take a nap later? My hope would be that the nap would likely push back his bedtime for me.

My other kids are much easier & more pliable to work with on sleep routine, but this child is very different in that regard. I do know that when he has had to wake early (like if we are traveling) that early waking usually will lead to a nap later that can set him up to have a later bedtime. I am only leery of doing so now since we are already screwed up & I fear making it any worse as I am living on fumes as it is now. The one night he was sick I was awake all night really & since then I've had no more than 4hrs sleep in a night, often less. I would just ride it out longer, but I have other kids that are sleeping later & going to bed later & then by the time everyone is in bed I am beyond tired. In fact, I think I am so tired I can't even figure out for sure if my "waking him earlier" idea is a good idea or a dreadful one. I hardly know if I am coming or going.

1 Answer 1


When we mess up schedules we try to reset with a midday nap. (Adults too, but that seems to be more a dream than a policy)

I'm personally disinclined to wake sleeping children if it can be helped, so I would aim to tire him out rather than wake him up early. Extra high energy morning activities might help in getting a nap to work, and I find some light exorcise makes being awake at unreasonable times less painful.

If I was going to wake him I would treat his early bedtime as a nap, and wake him after an hour or so then have four hours or more before real bedtime rather than getting up earlier.

  • 1
    Oh that is so smart to wake him after he has gone down for the evening. That feels so much more doable for us both. THANK YOU for that. I hadn't even thought of it, but then again, without coffee I am hardly doing more than drooling on myself currently. <3
    – threetimes
    Jul 6, 2017 at 18:14
  • I wanted to let you know this did work. It took me a few days as I had to figure out when he was willing to wake up without just rolling over & ignoring me, but I figured out about 90mins into it was a good point & we did that for 2 days & by the 3rd he was able to go back to his old routine very easy. I will definitely do this again when sickness hits as I am sure it will. Thanks!
    – threetimes
    Jul 16, 2017 at 2:30

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