bedtime battles- i am going crazy!(5 Posts)
I need some advice on how to handle DS aged 3.6. Its an absolute battle getting him to bed in the evening- after a 5 minute warning that its bed time, followed by toilet teeth and story, I can put him into bed and then he is in and out for about an hour. He thinks its a great joke as he knows how to push our (DH and I ) buttons as we get progressively angrier each time he pops out of his room. His bedtime routine at 8 but he ends up going to sleep at 9. DS still has a sleep during the day for about an hour which we try to prevent. But the catch 22 at the moment is that he is so tired from late nights and early rising (6-630am) that he needs to sleep during the day. I am going mental. 9pm, even 830 is too late for a 3 year old to go to bed IMHO. I desparately need some time in the evening to myself, let alone the two of us (we also have a DD 1.6 who thankfully sleeps through anything- touch wood, so the days are action packed.) I'll stop offloading now but any ideas would be verrrryy welcome.
Does he have a bath? They really help relax them...my older DD was a bit like your DS...and I think you really need to tough it out and dump the nap.
Never mind what he needs...you need to get some peace in the evening. Tomorrow when it is coming to his usual nap time, start a physical or otherwise exciting actiity with him..keep him very active until about .700 then bath him, turn his light low and make sure his windows are blacked out....read him a story and lights off.
If hs room is proerly dark and he has had no nap you will see an improement. It may take a week...but it will work.
When he gets out of bed, don't talk to him even to tell him off...just look the other way and hurry him back to bed.
If he gets no reaction then he will soon tire of the getting up....but if he gets you all riled then it's more interesting than bed.
OK, a few thoughts.
Change bedtime a bit - bring it forward for starters, A) so he isn't massively overtired before you even start the routine and B) so he actually has time for a decent sleep before wake-up time and C) so you do get some evening. So start around 7pm.
Tweak it a bit - give a 10 minute warning, then 5, then 3 etc. And I would also have the TV off before you get to the 10 minute warning, if you don't anyway. Then maybe add in a quick bath so he's getting lots of attention and a last play. Then make sure the story is good - let him choose from the library, or we do 2 shorter ones instead some nights. Or chapters from a longer book - DS is a few months older and recently enjoyed George's Marvellous Medicine.
Pre-empt any stalling, eg we have a cup of fresh water by DS's bed at bedtime so he can't get back up asking for a drink.
Then say goodnight and leave.
Don't go running up if you hear him move about. Ignore. If he appears downstairs just return him very neutrally. Repeat ad nauseum.
If you both do this it will work eventually. But you have to be booooring. And offsetting it with making bedtime nicer/more fun will help too IMO.
I agree, no matter how hard it is and how shattered you are in the day, you need to try everything to stop the day time nap. It'll be a killer (for you!) for a week or so, but you're evening time to yourself is so valuable (plus these late nights are no good for him like you say), so it'll be worth it.
Also agree with giving him absolutely no reaction at all. Even if inside you are about to burst!
My ds2 is 23 months, absolute little monkey for bed and always has been, and I have had to start this already! I keep him as busy as possible all day, resorting to chocolate, walks, mowing the lawn, water fights in the rain!!! Anything and everything to keep him awake all day. Then absolutely no reaction when he starts playing up at bed time. And it's working Just 5 minutes tonight and he was fast asleep!
The nice glass of wine when he's gone off helps too!!
What happens in the hour before bed? Does he get lots of outside play during the day?
I would start bedtime routine at 5.45/ 6 and get him into bed at 6.45. Ban the nap- maybe 5/10 minutes in the car/sofa if you can't avoid it but no proper nap time.
Did you have a bedtime routine that went wrong somewhere along the line? Maybe change things round and start a new one- then stick to it. We do bath every night as this really helps them chill out. They are 2.5 and 4.5 and generally the 2.5 doesn't nap during the day now (odd one!) and 4.5 year old is very busy so they are very ready for bed at 6.45. Have to say getting evening to self is VERY IMPORTANT- def worth sorting out- don't take no for an answer!!!
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