Get Quiet Nights

Tracy Spackman | Infant & Toddler Sleep Coach

Great Question:
Stephanie Nielsen asked:
“Hi Tracy, I have a quick question! I have done sleep training with my 16 month old son since he was around 5 months old and he’s doing great. However, two weeks ago I had the flu and didn’t see him in the day like normal so he wouldn’t go to bed that night. Since then, he has been staying up until 10-11:30 at night and wanting to sleep in until 9 or laterĀ if I let him. His naps have stayed completely intact.
His usual schedule is:
– wake-up 8 and 8:30
– Nap 12:30 (for 2-3 hours) (I lay him in his bed and walk out right away and he goes to sleep on his own with no crying)
– bedtime 8:15-8:30 with a routine.
He doesn’t have any sleep crutches that I am aware of at bedtime and I don’t think anything has changed to cause a difference in his bedtime. But he is wired and will not go to sleep. My only thought is maybe the gap between bedtime and nap time is too big? I have been waking him up at 8:30am to help get things back on track but its not working. I also tried putting him to bed at 9 one night to slowly move it bedtime back and he woke up at 10 and stayed up until 2am. I think I am missing something! Thanks!”
My Answer:
You nailed it. It looks like the wakeful window between the end of the nap and the bedtime is too long. Typically it’s just 4 hours. Can you push the nap later so you have a 4 hour window at the end of the day? This will change again around 2 years old. Having a consistent wake up time is a good idea to get things on track. Consistency is key here. When he wakes an hour or so (or less) after being put to bed, he probably was overtired and that makes the first sleep transition harder. So if he has trouble going back to sleep, be consistent about treating it like a middle of the night wake up. Does that help?
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