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How do you get your 2yr old up the stairs to bed, I'm losing the battle daily and struggling!!

(24 Posts)
Mrstumbletap Mon 28-Dec-15 20:00:30

I have a DS that is 2 and a half, he is a great sleeper once he goes to sleep, but in the last month he seems to have learned that he doesn't have to go up to bed. So when we say it's bed time he just says no, runs away, throws a tantrum and just wants to play with his toys. We have tried everything from "let's race up the stairs" to "which story do you want what about this one that one etc, or the "walk up or I will carry you up" or "I will count to three" etc, but they ALL end in a tantrum. And what was once a nice little routine of story, cuddle, teeth, bed is now bribe, cajole followed by tantrum and screaming fit for 5 minutes, wait for him to calm down then story and bed.

DH and I feel like we have tried everything, if you have any suggestions or ideas please help!! He is currently in the battle now with him upstairs while I write this.....

He still occasionally has a nap in the daytime but they are a battle too now, and sleeps 12-13 hours a night.

cece Mon 28-Dec-15 20:07:14


Build a routine and then stick to it rigidly. It is much harder for them to argue with routine. He is testing the boundaries. Do not give in. Keep calm - reduce the talking, reduce the emotion in your reaction. Keep to the routine. Eventually it will calm down.

Mrstumbletap Mon 28-Dec-15 22:06:35

But the routine starts once we are upstairs, such as pajamas, brush teeth etc, how can I do the routine if I can't even get him upstairs?

trilbydoll Mon 28-Dec-15 22:12:10

DH carried DD upstairs upside down tonight. Probably not a good long term approach!

DD has a bottle downstairs, could you introduce a story or something to signal the beginning of the end?!

DD has figured out bedtime delaying is much more effective if she's making us laugh. So there's a lot of good natured messing about. Any screaming or kicking / hitting means no story until she's apologised. I've done bath, teeth and put her to bed without saying a word before because she was being so revolting.

cece Mon 28-Dec-15 22:39:02

The routine needs to start downstairs and going up the stairs is part of the routine.

MigGril Mon 28-Dec-15 22:47:40

Start the routine downstairs, maybe by watching cbees bedtime story. A favourite TV programme or having a story downstairs first. Something along those lines, this is the start of him learning to assert himself. Welcome to the toddler years.

Mrstumbletap Mon 28-Dec-15 22:56:31

trilbydoll is that because she was kicking off or just for fun?

Its so hard, and a month ago it was fine, but this is the new battle. Puts a real sour end to the end of each day too, have a lovely day then I have a screaming (and it is blood curdling) toddler refusing to walk upstairs, or if you carry him he will just lay on his bedroom floor so angry and distraught it takes 10-15 minutes to calm him down. You also can't put a nappy or his pajamas on him as he just kicks his legs shouting No, no!!!

So do you just watch the CBeebies bedtime hour or read a story downstairs then you say "up to bed" and they say "ok" and trot upstairs??!

amysmummy12345 Mon 28-Dec-15 23:04:17

I usually feign the "I'm going to bed without you and I'm going to read Topsy n Tim/Elmer / the dictionary all by myself then, you can stay here all by yourself" I then loudly talk about all the parts in the book 27 month old DD loves as I start to go up the stairs. She usually cajoles me out of the way to get there first lol

TheHouseOnTheLane Tue 29-Dec-15 10:06:39

The routine can start downstairs. Some warning that bedtime is approaching can help. So having a tidy up time is the start of the routine for us...after that, mine have a story downstairs and then it's up for teeth etc. Then to bed and another story.

They know when tidy time comes around, that bedtime is coming.

Mrstumbletap Tue 29-Dec-15 17:59:10

I am going to try this tonight with lots of advance warning and then I'm going up to bed to read his stories.

trilbydoll Tue 29-Dec-15 18:43:39

I think it was looking like she was going to fight it so DH scooped her up before it all got nasty. Has the advantage of defusing the tantrum before it starts but doesn't address the underlying disobedience!

neolara Tue 29-Dec-15 18:49:09

Tell him he is absolutely not allowed to go upstairs to bed. If he does you will be very sad. No, don't go towards the stairs. No, definitely don't go up them. No!!!!!!! OK, your upstairs, but definitely no pyjamas. Don't put them back or mummy will cry. No!!!! Wah!!!! See, mummy is crying. etc. All 3 of my kids went through the "no" stage. This trick worked marvellously for months and months.

winchester1 Tue 29-Dec-15 18:58:08

We do our routine downstairs and ds is in this stage now. It normally ends with me pinning him down putting on his nappy and pjs, desperately trying to move a toothbrush round his mouth and then rugby ball carrying him upstairs. This is all usually accompanied by his one yr old sister screaming back at him throughout.

I've tried reverse psychology but unfortunately he already kind of uses that on his sister so he didn't fall for it.

scarednoob Wed 30-Dec-15 05:32:24

I had this when I was babysitting as a teenager. Eventually I worked out that the little boy I was minding hated being left alone. So I said I was going up to bed anyway (I then watched him like a hawk from the bottom step; of course I didn't actually leave him!) - he would sit for a minute or so, then shoot after me to catch me up for a story etc. Maybe you could try that?

FreeButtonBee Wed 30-Dec-15 06:53:33

We do bath then downstairs for small amount of bedtime tv (a strict rota of three short programmes which have been prerecorded) then up for stories and bed. Means that there is an incentive to get into bath and pjs but nothing much to fight after tv done. I am often a dinosaur or monster in the stairs or a tunnel for the train to go through. Otherwise turning off all the lights downstairs and only having t he landing light on is very effective - if mean.

nephrofox Wed 30-Dec-15 07:13:27

Upstairs for bath straight after dinner. Doesn't come back down again.
Bath (usually), pj's, 2 stories, bed normally takes 45 mins ish

JustPoppingIn Wed 30-Dec-15 07:20:20

We have moved all of DS cars upstairs, so he plays upstairs with his cars for about 15 to 20 mins before bath, book and bedtime begins. It is essentially chill out time for him and sort out the washing time for me.

museumum Wed 30-Dec-15 07:23:04

If my 2yr old doesn't want to come up for bath I go up to run it anyway leaving the gate open and he pretty much always follows me up before its run.
If dh is doing bath and I'm downstairs there's onl a 50/50 chance of him going up nicely but dh will pre-run the bath and soon as he sees it he's fine.

bimandbam Wed 30-Dec-15 07:31:06

Ds is just 2.

We do tea, bath, teeth after bath and then pjs. This usually takes us to 5.30-6pm.

Then he can chose what he wants to have on the tv. We play and chat until 6.30pm then I put night garden on which means bedtime is approaching. We pack everything away while this is on. He sits on my lap with our own book while the bedtime story is on. Then once the bedtime song has been sung (by all of us!) It's a round of kisses and I carry him ul with his sippy cup of water and whatever toy he has picked up as we go out the door. Pop him in his cot, tuck him in and that's us done.

We once missed that final 30 minutes and it took a fucking hour to get him down. I have pre-recorded bedtime hours now.

BathshebaDarkstone Wed 30-Dec-15 07:35:12

Our routine starts at teatime. Pyjamas on, tea and bedtime hour, last wee, teeth and wash, bed with story, water, night night.

JustPoppingIn Wed 30-Dec-15 07:37:39

I just wanted to add, my DS is almost 3 and this routine still sometimes ends in tantrums, but, I think the gradual build up from upstairs does help.

Mrstumbletap Fri 01-Jan-16 20:23:51

I am not alone! I love that you are doing these things too. I turn all the lights off downstairs and just the landing light, so it's not just you being mean. :-)

We have now started (the last few days) telling him it's bedtime 10 minutes before then 5 and has helped a lot. The battle is now getting pajamas on as he just buggars about, usually giggling etc but it then gets annoying after 5 mins of come on put your blooming leg in the hole!!

I am going to do that reverse psychology thing and say don't you dare go up those stairs, ok but definitely into your room, then not pajamas etc, I think that's a great tip he will probably like that for a little while. It works for food, like I say to him definitely don't eat that tuna when I turn around (while I'm preparing dinner) and he gobbles it down, don't know why I haven't thought of applying that logic to bedtime.

I think from what the majority of you have said is that I need to get him ready for bed earlier too, upstairs or pajamas earlier right after tea. You are all very sensible, how do you know these things?!?

Pipistrella Fri 01-Jan-16 20:26:39

Mine just sleeps in my bed. I'm a bit lax about bedtimes. Sometimes he crawls onto my lap, wherever I am, has a feed and then nods off...perhaps I should try harder.

Other times we go together, I chase him round till he submits to teeth brushing, which I do on the bed (often sitting on him tbh) and then we might read a book or he just has milk and falls asleep

I'm then free to bugger off and do what I like, which is usually staying put and falling asleep too. ahem

5minutestobed Fri 01-Jan-16 20:28:37

We do pyjamas down stairs and then lots of warnings that its nearly bedtime, tidy up toys, supper etc. He still sometimes has a meltdown but he usually perks up once he picks his stories.

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