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Bedtime Drama with 2.5 year old

(6 Posts)
NKffffffffe749edcfX11d6d7397af Sat 13-Aug-11 22:30:37

My 2.5 year old DS has recently realised he can get out of bed and is starting to play up at bedtime. Tonight things reached a new level and I could do with some advice or encouragement if the approach I took tonight has worked for anyone else?

We have a longstanding bedtime routine (bath/milk/stories/song). The trouble starts when I leave the room and go downstairs. The first time he got out of his room, I gave him an almighty telling off. That had no effect on him. From then on, I set about ignoring him. Every time he came out of his room, I said nothing and put him back to bed. But this soon became a game and he enjoyed the power of getting me upstairs (he would run straight back to bed once he saw me).

Closing the door had no effect - usually that makes him scream. So I closed the upstairs stairgate and continued to ignore his behaviour, but he became so noisy he woke up my DD (6months).

It wasn't until he bumped himself running around that he calmed down and stayed in his room. I left him crying in there while I settled DD and after a while went in and told him what I'd been saying all along. Go to sleep in your room.

I am so upset about this. On the one hand I am frustrated that telling him off had no effect. I also feel that by ignoring him, I passively allowed him to disrespect me. I don't know what he learned from tonight, or what to expect tomorrow night. Also I am so upset not to have finished bedtime off with a kiss and cuddle as we usually do. I was very stern with him just before he finally got into bed as I did not want to reward his behaviour.

Has anyone been through something similar with a spirited toddler that is fearlessly testing his boundaries? My DH is working a night shift tonight so perhaps if he was home things would have gone differently.

Thanks in advance...

wigglemama Sun 14-Aug-11 08:24:46

I think you did absolutely the right thing. You were not allowing him to disrespect you, you were standing your ground and letting him know that you mean what you say. It is hard when they don't go to sleep on a positive note, but I can assure you he will wake up today and still love you as much as he did yesterday! He will learn that he gets cuddles, kisses and praise from you when he stays in bed. He is testing the boundaries like all children this age do! Stick to your guns, it'll mean repeating what you did last night, but he will get the message. You are doing a wonderful job, especially with a 6 month old to contend with. I have the same age gap between my ds and dd (now almost 4 and almost 2!) and I know it is hard work, even with a chilled out baby! Let me know how you get on xxx

Octaviapink Sun 14-Aug-11 12:01:33

I've responded on your other thread, but I don't really see why getting out of bed is a problem - I'd save the artillery for the fights that need fighting.

NKffffffffe749edcfX11d6d7397af Sun 14-Aug-11 20:19:21

Thanks for your responses and your kind encouragement. Bedtime tonight's already more chilled than last night, so you never know, he may be starting to get the message! We'll see....

hiltontribe Sun 14-Aug-11 21:06:50

If he enjoys the thrill of 'getting mummy to come upstairs' beat him at his own game.

First time he comes out say 'It's nightime now, back to bed' and tuck him into his bed.

Wait outside the room in the hall for him to come out (which you know he is going to do!)

Second time say 'It's bedtime' in a more stern voice and put him back to bed, no eye contact (focus on his belly button)

Third time he gets out of bed and every time after this don't say anything. just take him back to his room and get him into bed. If he starts to play up and cries (which he probably will do as he is not winning at his new game) wait outside the room for 2 mins. After 2 mins go in and place him back in bed, no talking. Then double up the time (e.g wait 4 mins, then 8, then 16 etc) he will soon get the point.

I know it is really hard to not scream and shout but if you do he has won- he's got all your attention, he doesn't care if its good or bad.

I have used this technique personally and I also use this advice with my job. (I work with parents who need advice on parenting techniques.)

It can, and does, get harder beofre it gets easier, but perseverance is the key.

bacon Tue 16-Aug-11 11:44:48

Exactly why both boys have stayed in their cot until they are 3. All my friends have had the same problem but I didnt risk it. DS2 is a devil and will shout and throw all the toys and blankets out of his cot so deciding to stay in the cot has been a blessing plus early awakenings - if he was in a bed he'd be out and gone!

I feel safe with the cot - have dropped it right down to floor level with more screws. Perhaps you could threaten him with buying a new cot for him?

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