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2.5 Year Old Hyper Excitability At Night and At Nap Time

by Ara Bee
(NB, Canada)

Our son has never been the greatest sleeper. Now that he is older we adhere to a very solid routine--in bed every night by 7pm and he is up at 6am. Naptime is everyday by 12 and he is in his room for 2 hours. The problem is that at night he will sometimes take 4-5 hours to fall asleep (like last night) or will wake after a few hours sleep and play for 5 hours in the dark in his bed.

Naptimes are a battle, he is exhausted and calm when put into his crib. Within five minutes of leaving the room he is partying for the next two hours and we have a very tired boy by supper time (at 5pm). This often results in not eating enough due to being distracted then waking up hungry.

I would estimate that he gets 11-13 hours of sleep a day about 40% of the time, the other days maybe 8 or 9 hours total. At least 2-3 times a week he pulls this play and squeal in bed routine for hours on end. I get pretty upset at the time knowing the results of such behaviour (a very long and challenging day after). He is happy and having fun in his room but I'm losing my marbles. Is the problem in my reaction? Or could he have a sleep disorder? My husband is a physician (internal medicine) and doesn't see it as an issue. I have no idea where to turn since my friends all have very routine children. And I don't think a doctor will be able to help.

Comments for 2.5 Year Old Hyper Excitability At Night and At Nap Time

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Mar 12, 2013
new routine
by: Lynn

At 2,5 years of age I had to cut out naps for all my children - they didn't need it anymore. If they had a nap, they would be up til 10 or 11 at night. So I had to develop a new routine. I had to have supper ready earlier, so they would eat before they were tired, then an interesting enough but not stimulating activity to keep them awake long enough to get them through supper, evening routine to bedtime. For my daughter it was giving her baby a bath in the little tub. It sounds to me like your son is in a very normal transition time and you need to develop a new routine that works for everyone. Good luck!

Apr 11, 2014
Delayes sleep phase syndrom NEW
by: Birgitte

Did you find out if he has Delayed sleep phase syndrom ? Sound very much like it, I have a son with this, and he was never tired to sleep at night, he could be tired the whole day, but in end of afternoon, early evening he would start to wake up. He alertness and awareness is optimal in the evening hours since he was a baby, and now he i 17 and also in the late night hours now. hard to adjust to school and society now a days. I figure he was meant to be one of the small groud guarding at night in the old days by the camp ot whatever, while others sleept tight. Hope the best.

Jun 21, 2015
mrs starling NEW
by: sleep deprived

hi all.goodness I got a medically need 2,5 year old she is a gastrostomy (feeding tube) tracheaostomy(tube in throat to help breathe) now the trachea is out shes healthy but refuses to sleep at night stays up like a full day hubby and I are going insane.feeling as if all this prehaps is trauma what you think? she plays all the time shes happy if cant get up she does a tatram.any advise please friends xxx

Feb 14, 2016
Did you ever find a solution? NEW
by: Candice

Hi there,
I am currently experiencing a very similar issue. My 2.5 year old son is extremely active and very rarely sits still. He was very bored as a baby and was constantly seeking stimulation. He is a very happy boy most of the time & is your typical toddler boy... except that he doesn't sleep. He never has. He wakes most nights and is up for 2-4 hours, in his crib, singing, laughing, giggling and playing. It keeps me awake and we are all exhausted. Currently he is on an all over schedule as this issue has been getting worse and more frequent. We just sleep when we can at this point. Any suggestions or info would be helpful. Maybe you've figured it out in the 2 years I'm late for this post lol.

Thanks for listening!!

Oct 03, 2016
toddler who aggressively fights sleep NEW
by: Madelyn

I have 2.5 year old twins, who now have their own rooms. My daughter will give us a challenge for about a half hour but not like my son. She just cries, meanwhile, he screams, kicks door, is aggressive, if I go in the room, he tries to bite me and so fourth. It's extremely challenging to deal with this behavior. His naps were removed and we start getting ready for bed by 8, with warm milk, bath, brush teeth, pray and off to bed by 8:45pm. He will scream and act up till 11pm. What can I do as a parent to insure he's getting proper rest?

Dec 01, 2016
help NEW
by: Anonymous

Where are the answers?

Mar 03, 2017
Sleeping with 2.5 year old twins NEW
by: Scully

Hi Madelyn your twins are so over tired, especially if they are going without a nap. Aren't you tired and irritable by 9pm too? Imagine how their little brains and bodies are feeling. Have you found the right advice yet? It takes 2 hours for a toddler to wind down. This should start at 5pm or as close to as possible. Dinner by 6pm, followed by bath, story books and lights out around 7pm (7.30pm at the latest). Yep, they'll play up for an hour but then they catch their sleep wave (which they are so badly missing with their current routine.) You have some quiet time for yourself to wind down before you go to bed.
It's hard to do at first. I'm a working mum. But now I prep dinner the day before (or buy a slow cooker and freeze some meals). While you're sorting dinner they can play quietly or watch quiet tv like Thomas the Tank or Shaun the Sheep but definitely nothing hyper, tv off at 5.45pm before washing hands and coming to the table.
Good luck! Sweet dreams.

Mar 23, 2017
They are over tired NEW
by: Anonymous

2 year olds need that nap. If your toddlers are hyper and crazy by bedtime then you know for sure they are in sleep debt and it will get worse the longer this goes on. Keep that nap. I am speaking from experience. My 2.4 year old is very active
Her sleep schedule is up at 7am. Nap at 1 to 3 and bed by 730. Smooth as pie until the days she won't nap due to not enough physical activity to wear her out. Then we have a crazy hyper loud wide awake baby that refuses to sleep until she finally passes out. I have to get her back on track takes a day sometime two days. Don't let them fool you. They need sleep, structured sleep times. Your sanity counts on it

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