Good routine is essential, no tv, computer or such an hour before bedtime with a good wind down routine of bath, story, cuddle etc. That bedtime program on the tv recently was good for ideas and understanding sleep problems. In the holidays I would let mine stay up an hour or so later and a week before start of term I would bring it slowly back to usual bedtime by waking them up earlier and not letting them sleep in. Planning is really useful.
I've been having problems with my DD since last summer holidays. She was going to bed at 7.30pm but could not go to sleep, she would say she wasn't tired, that her brain was too busy, she couldn't relax etc and would end up in tears. I would go up and talk to her/calm her down but 20 mins later she would be crying again. This would continue til about 10pm.
Things improved when school restarted in Sept as she was more tired and also waking early (7am as opposed to 8ish in hols). We finally solved the problem in January through rewards for not crying and also letting her fall asleep when she was tired (usually around 9pm on a week night). We let her read, draw,write, colour, do fuzzy felt/puzzles, play with dolls, basically anything she can do quietly sitting in bed.
Things went down hill in the recent Easter holidays and I am now starting to dread the 6wk summer break. I just do not know where to go from here, she feels the things she can do are boring and my constant trips up and down the stairs are returning.