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Bedtime hell, can anyone give me some good ideas?

(5 Posts)
BegoniaBigtoes Thu 15-Nov-12 09:31:13

Bedtime with my 2yo and 7yo is just a nightmare at the moment. DP is away (though even when he's here and we share it it's exhausting) and I just don't seem to be able to get them both asleep until after 9pm, at which point I'm so knackered I can't face doing any of the lovely me-time things I had planned and just collapse on the sofa.

2yo DD has a good bedtime routine with bath, pjs, milk, teeth, book and into bed. But she will do anything to string it out for as long as possible (eg insist on doing toothpaste lid and every other detail on her own, and screaming blue murder if I try and hurry things up - which I do, but it then degenerates into a screamathon). In bed, I either lie with her until she goes to sleep, taking up to an hour with numerous delaying tactics (asking for a drink, snack, wee, plaster etc etc - I'm firm and don't give into all this, but that results in more screaming), OR, I leave her in bed and have to deal with repeated getting out of bed, screaming and running around. However repeatedly I put her back in bed (a la supernanny) it has no effect until she wears herself out.

DS meanwhile is scared of being on his own. He will sometimes watch telly or play on the computer while I put DD to bed, but generally has to be nearby so he doesn't get scared, resulting in him distracting DD and keeping her awake longer. If I try to make make him be on his own he screams and cries because he's scared confused.

Finally when DD is asleep it's DS's bedtime, a bit of homework if he's awake enough, then his milk, book etc. This is quicker but then he too can't go to sleep alone because he's too scared, so it means sitting in his room for half an hour. If I leave him to go to sleep alone he freaks out, runs downstairs, wakes up DD by crashing about etc. and we're back to square 1.

I'm obviously doing something wrong but I can't crack it. Last night I was on the verge of saying OK don't go to bed then, and just letting them stay up and play so I can at least get something done.

What can I do, does anyone have a solution?

AlienRefluxovermypoppy Thu 15-Nov-12 09:36:33

Thing is, the super nanny way, has to be consistent, I had this with my DS when he was 3, would not go to bed and buggered about, anything to stall.

In the end we had to have a horrendous week of usual bedtime routine, trying to keep things calm, so start early if she insists on the details. Then story, sleep. She will get out, put her back. Yes, it's a nightmare, and takes real determination, it could well be the worst week of your life grin but it does work, and a the end you will be glad you stuck at it.

Your DS though, do you think he really is scared? or is that a handy excuse to get your attention and his own way?

BegoniaBigtoes Thu 15-Nov-12 09:39:53

Thanks Alien! Yes I could try it for a week completely consistently and see how that goes. <hides>

I think with DS it's a bit of both. He is very sensitive, has a very overactive imagination and does really seem to get himself worked up into a state about a shadow in the corner, etc. You can see he's genuinely terrified. OTOH, when DP is away they seem to compete to both get as much attention as possible and I think there's a lot of that going on as well.

AlienRefluxovermypoppy Thu 15-Nov-12 09:43:08

It must be hard, when you think he's really scared, does he go to bed much later than dd?

When your DP is home I guess it's easier as he can be putting him to bed while you are (wrestling) dealing with DD.

Maybe when he gets home, ring in the changes, tell both kids it's going to change, and get a concrete bedtime routine in place, so much easier said than done I know, and sympathise honestly!

BegoniaBigtoes Thu 15-Nov-12 09:51:29

He goes to bed later but as you say, when DP is home he can deal with that. When I'm on my own I can't do DS until DD's asleep.

I like your plan - a big announcement and new regime. Will try it.

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