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My 3 year old won't stay in his bed...

(18 Posts)
hovemama Tue 28-Jun-11 14:42:56

Help! I am mum to a lovely, active 3 year old. We went from cot to bed 6 months ago, and he was initially fine, but in the last 3 months he won't stay in bed. We initially tried telling him off, then putting him back in bed, then naughty step, then sticker charts, and most recently silently putting him back in bed. Things are escalating, and last night he took 3 hours to settle. He seems to think it is a game, and looks excited to be put back to bed, and will only stay in bed when my husband shouts at him... We feel completely defeated, and are missing our evenings. Help please...

SenoritaViva Tue 28-Jun-11 14:51:15

It is hellish.

Can you take away a treat the next day. No television / swimming etc. unelss you stay in your bed. Three counts then we get mean.

(We also have a sleep procrastinator).

Have you tried putting him to bed later? (doesn't work with ours but might with yours).

moonbells Tue 28-Jun-11 14:54:31

We are almost at giving up stage. We'll get 4-5 nights at 9pm+ (getting up at 6.30) and then the following he'll be so exhausted he'll drop off in the car at about 5pm when we are on our way home and sleep till the following morning.

Drives us nuts. We now just leave him to it.

oldmum42 Tue 28-Jun-11 14:56:21

After raising 3 very active boys, I'd say put a child gate across the bedroom doorway - Ds will be able to call to you if he needs a wee, but will not be able to leave the room. You can open the gate once he's asleep.

hovemama Tue 28-Jun-11 15:09:42

thankyou! I have been trying not to use treats etc, but have withdrawn minimilk privileges today, which caused tears, but yet to see if effective.
to oldmum42- he can climb over a childgate, and we haven't got a lock for his door
to moonbells- what do you mean, leave him to it? does he just play/come downstairs etc until he wants to sleep?
it helps to know others are going through it too...

SenoritaViva Tue 28-Jun-11 15:23:42

I call DD a bedtime procrastinator (I have to be one step ahead of her and think of everything that she might ask for so that she has no excuses). But I find it goes in cycles, you fix it, it gets better then summer comes and it gets worse again.

moonbells Tue 28-Jun-11 15:30:52

We have a gate over the stairs, and tiny bolts at the top of a couple of bedroom doors. So he can get to the bathroom if necessary but not wander downstairs or bounce on any other bed. He tends to stand at the top and holler. Eventually he gives up and goes and plays with his books, and then falls asleep. Last night we put a fan on and he went to sleep underneath it, hugging a book.

We probably have way too many distractions in his room, which was (and still is) my bookroom. Most of mine are now on shelves round the ceiling, but he has two shelves and an underbed boxful. And he wants to read nonstop (or more to the point wants me to read nonstop). I so yearn for the day when he can finally read to himself!

hovemama Tue 28-Jun-11 17:12:06

Senoritaviva, how old is DD? How long is normal for a 3 year old to sleep? My older daughter who is 5 goes to sleep at 7pm, sleeps until 6.30, and has never had any problems. I feel entirely defeated, and as though it is never going to get better.
Things extending into his behaviour with me generally- not getting dressed, hitting etc... am I too soft, should I not go to work, am I going to end up with an ASBO teenager?

JumpJockey Tue 28-Jun-11 20:14:15

DD1 has just started this in the last couple of weeks and it's getting worse and worse. After DH puts her down, sleepy and stories and music etc, she immediately jumps up and shouts daddy cuddle. If we go up once, she just asks again and again and is currently wailing and has been for the last 10 minutes - DH has to hold the bedroom door closed as otherwise she wakes DD2 who is still in our room. I can't take much more of the wailing and I have no idea why it's suddenyl got so appallingly bad. It's not even as if she's just quietly chattering - I offered her a book as a prize for staying in b ed every night til the end of the week, she was jumping out of bed even as I walked to the door.

c0vb1rd Tue 28-Jun-11 20:53:38

We have the same problem and it's driving us mad, we have a gate have tried dream catcher, explained no monsters and have resorted to buying a reward chart that should be delivered in the next few days... sad

marytuda Tue 28-Jun-11 21:29:58

Yes, what is normal sleep for 3-4 year old? My DS now 3.10 has never been a great sleeper & to a certain extent I have resigned myself to irregular, often non-existent evenings. The only thing which gets him willingly into bed is exhaustion, & if I want it to happen at reasonable hour then I must ensure that a) he has had no sleep during the day and b) he has had plenty of physical exercise. He always wants me to stay in the room until he sleeps, reading stories or just sitting in the dark, which, not having other DCs, I generally do. It usually happens around 8.30pm . . . but much later if he has managed to grab an afternoon nap. He is up at 7 - 7.30. I'm just waiting for the regular school day to sort him out for once & for all.

Seska Wed 29-Jun-11 08:21:39

It's worse for me as I have 3 year old TWINS! A boy and a girl!

By far it's my DD that is the problem, DS would lie happily and look at books or play with his Spot The Dog and Diego toys but DD will get out of bed over and over and over again. She empties drawers all over the floor, climbs up onto the drawers and then cries because she can't get back down again, steals DS's toys which obviously makes HIM squeal his head off.

We too have tried everything, finding it a LOT worse now as it's so light at bedtime, even with a blackout blind etc... the room is still quite light as the curtain pole stands proud from the wall.

We put them to bed at about 6.30 pm and more often than not she is still pounding around at 9.30/10 pm. DS will be led by her initially and get out of bed and run around but after a while he will get back into bed and just fall asleep whilst she runs amok.

We don't have another room so we can't separate them, we can't stagger their bedtimes as she makes so much noise she would wake him if she went second and we would be putting him to bed at 10 pm if she went first.... it's a living HELL!

I am really at my wits end as I've got a lot going on in my life generally at the mo, I work part time and DH is about to go working in London for two weeks so it will be just me with them all the time, and the housework and working .... AAARRGH!

I am another one that's hoping that the start of pre-school in September will "balance" their days out. I am trying to run them ragged during the days I'm not working and trying to not let them sleep during the day (difficult when it's so hot and I make them come in for a while when it's hottest)... and I keep repeating the MumsNet Mantra, "This too shall pass... this too shall pass.."


moonbells Wed 29-Jun-11 09:46:13

Oh marytuda I know just what you mean! DS is 3.8 today. We had a 'drop off with exhaustion' night last night, so he was asleep at 5pm. Tonight we'll be fighting to get him to stay put at 8. ("It's still daytime Mummy!" I hate summer for that so my sympathy, Seska)

Trouble is, I have a laptop in the bedroom (which also doubles as my office should I have to work from home). I have to remember to remove it before trying to get him to sleep or he'll want to turn it on and watch iPlayer Cbeebies, the crafty little monkey. Amazing what they can do with tech at just 3...

Does have some advantages though. He didn't want to get up again this morning (so he's still tired) so I put a CD with Wheels on the bus on. That did the trick! Especially as I walked off with the PC... wink

We do find that if I go straight downstairs after reading and a goodnight kiss, and leave any yells (I WANT MUMMY!) to be dealt with by Daddy, he doesn't muck about nearly as much. So a lot of it for us is attention-seeking and Mummy manipulation.

bepi01 Wed 29-Jun-11 12:34:14

My sympathies but it is lovely to know it's not just my DD (2.5) being a pain in the evenings. We have a stair gate over the door and when either I or my DH leave the room after the regular bedtime routine she is up and out and yelling at the stair gate. She gets herself into a state. We take it in turns to go upstairs (every 10 - 15 mins or so), pick her up and put her back in bed (no eye contact and not saying anything). We were at it for an hour and a half yesterday. Can't say it's working. I also HATE the summer for very reason of excessive heat and light which I 'm sure doesn't help the situation.

Good luck smile

diddle Wed 29-Jun-11 12:51:42

My 3 year old went through that when he went into a bed. We used a gate which he used to use toys to climb over, until I fitted it differently. I didn't sit it on the floor, I fixed it higher but not so high he'd get under it and it did the trick. Have also had to sit by his door until he nodded off started next yo his bed and worked my way back to the door over a couple of weeks. Exhausting isn't it, but it will get better x

driedapricots Wed 29-Jun-11 16:27:36

i was you 3 months ago...we invented the 'bed fairy' she comes to check little children stay in their own bed all night. if they do they get a little far she's left feathers, a bit of fluff (it was from her 'skirt'!!) a plectrum (her surf board) and goodness knows what else..we're running out of ideas but it works 95% of nights so a nice problem to have!! (if only it worked on 10 month old babies too...sigh)

hovemama Wed 29-Jun-11 20:53:43

moonbells- that sounds familiar- I am at work this evening, and he has gone straight to bed with Daddy with no fuss at all! might be the combined effect of last night's 9.30 finish, a 6 am start, and my refusal to let him sleep in the day at all today, combined with "let's pretend we are Daddy in a marathon" at the park...
I'm exhausted, so glad to see he is. Not sure I can replicate it tomorrow though.
Seska, sounds nightmarish... mantra is a good thing... I'm sure it will pass. Thanks guys x

brokenmarrow Wed 29-Jun-11 22:04:08

Hi just wanted to give you some hope. We struggled with same issues plus ds coming into our bed earlier and earlier in the night.

We went with the 2 stories then we (one or the other)would stand just at the door. If he got out of bed he was instantly put back with no conversation or eyecontact.

It took several weeks and many tears but have now got to the stage where he will happily give us a hug and kiss and we can go into the next bedroom, usually 10-15mins later he is asleep.

He also hasnt been visiting during the night nearly as much and we are still working at a reward chart to try to help this.

He is 3 and 4 months.

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