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Toddler waking for milk at 3am

 

QUESTION

My 3.5yr old son wakes up at 3am every morning.  He wants milkshake (Purity Goodies) and then stays awake till 5am.  Thereafter he sleeps till 10am. He will go to bed at 20h30 at night.

I want to solve this problem as Dad needs to rest for work the next day. I am also worried that 2yr old girl will start it too.  She sleeps well at the moment and no problem with early hours wake up with her.

ANSWER
Firstly on a health level, a milkshake at 3am is very bad for your toddler.  The milk sugar will rot his teeth, may cause ear infections if he feeds lying down and is not healthy for his weight. Secondly it is causing a bad habit.

Over night, I would change it as follows:
1. When he calls, go to him and tell him the kitchen is closed and he cannot have the milkshake.
2. Leave the room and listen.
3. If he cries or gets up, go to him and offer him water only.
4. Establish boundaries: he can have water and he has to stay in his room. Be firm with these boundaries using the A-B-C method. To communicate this lovingly say:
a.  “I know you want milkshake” (Acknowledge him)
b.  “The kitchen is closed and you need to stay in your bed” (Boundary)
c.  “You can have water and if you stay in bed, mommy will sit with you” (Choice)
5. Follow through – if he stays in bed, you stay with him until he is asleep – no playing just sitting. If he gets out of bed, leave the room until be is back in bed.
6. Two nights of firm but loving boundaries and you will have it solved.