My 17-month old goes to daycare 3 days a week and stays at home with his grandma 2 days a week. We're getting into a pattern where he sleeps much better on nights after daycare -- nary a peep on those nights, but very restless and frequent wakings on grandma and weekend nights. I'm guessing they just do a very good job of wearing him out and getting him exercise.

Does anyone have any ideas for getting him worn out on the other days so he sleeps a bit better?

asked 28 Oct '10, 15:05

Anne's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%


+1 Good question!

(28 Oct '10, 15:50) Emi

Wow, I love this question-- in 3 months I will be doing the EXACT SAME THING! Three days a week at daycare and 2 days a week with my mother! I am positive my mom will do very little that is active with him- interesting about the sleep issues...

(31 Oct '10, 23:35) DazedandConfused

Well, he's since had a round of teething and a bad cold, so sleep's been out the window. I'll update you all as to what's worked, if/when things ever get back to normal. Thanks for all the great answers, it was hard to pick one!

(08 Nov '10, 13:03) Anne

My husband and I have a joke about tiring out our 17 month old. We call it 'running the baby.' :)

If we don't take him out and let him run around for a while each day, then we find he is really restless also.

Here is our usual strategy:

  • I take him out for a walk in the morning where I bring the stroller but don't put him in it until he is tired - usually about 20 minutes of walking, chasing birds, pushing the stroller himself, etc.
  • We then continue our walk with him in his stroller exploring the neighbourhood. We go to a cafe, playgroup, market or I take him on my errands most days.
  • My husband takes him out again after dinner with a soccer ball and they go to the playground and play with the ball. Our son LOVES to chase the ball (and it really tires him out). Then they climb up the play structure several times and take the slide down.

Hope some of these ideas help!


answered 30 Oct '10, 01:11

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%


I love this answer. You have put so much thought into it. I like the soccer ball after dinner idea! It's tricky though because if we do too many exciting things right before bed sleep seems to get much worse.

(01 Nov '10, 12:17) Anne

At daycare I'd gather he is also receiving a lot of stimulation from the other kids and the sheer amount of activity that is going on around him which is helping to tire him out. I would imagine that at home with Grandma probably isn't as hectic!

For days that he is home, you could try setting up little playdates with other children, going to a playarea at a local mall, or visiting a local playplace/coffee shop if you've got one near-by.


answered 28 Oct '10, 20:04

Kate's gravatar image

accept rate: 20%

+1 great suggestions

(28 Oct '10, 21:53) Emi

In my experience (having a 3.5+ year old who still naps) the secret at daycare is a) they have shorter naps and b) they go outside. Since you can't really control how long he sleeps (short of waking him up before he wakes on his own!), you might want to go with the go outside mantra. Even if it's just for 1/2 hour, walking, running, bug-hunting, leaf-collecting, sandcastle building in the sandbox... it doesn't have to be super creative, kids love being outside. Maybe some others will have further suggestions of things to do outdoors...


answered 28 Oct '10, 15:47

Melanie's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%


+1 I definitely agree with "going outside" and you've listed great ideas. Fresh air helps in my experience too, so if Grandma is able to do that you should encourage her to take him outdoors during the time your little one stays with him.

(28 Oct '10, 16:08) Emi

She does when the weather's good. Of course they stay inside at daycare, too, when the weather's bad. It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference, but I'll pay closer attention.

(28 Oct '10, 16:12) Anne

Oh and speaking of the weather: It doesn't matter what kind of weather (as long as it is warm enough, i.e. >= -12 ° C, not strong winds because of frostbite) it is. My mom used to go out with me every day regardless of the weather (she just loved going out with the stroller :)).

(28 Oct '10, 16:57) Alexander

Alexander, I agree with you, but unfortunately my mother-in-law and daycare do not.

(28 Oct '10, 19:32) Anne

We have baby-proofed the entire upstairs level of our house. Every night, about 45 minutes before his bath & bedtime routine, we let our 14-month old run around the entire upstairs in just his diaper.

We have a gate at the top of the stairs, rubber stoppers on all of the doors and locks on the bathroom cabinets. He LOVES to just go room to room and play (while we follow and just talk amongst ourselves). He never stays in one place longer than 30 seconds. Even if he finds a toy or book that interests him, he's taking it to another room or finding a new place for it.

We find this really wears him out before bedtime- especially on those slow, not-as-active days.


answered 31 Oct '10, 23:41

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%


Good idea. We put all our pillows in the spare room and go "jump in the pillow pile" for a little while before bed -- similar idea

(01 Nov '10, 12:15) Anne
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Asked: 28 Oct '10, 15:05

Seen: 6,886 times

Last updated: 05 Apr '11, 10:19