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How to make bedtime less stressful?

(5 Posts)
scissormister Mon 03-Apr-17 21:59:59

My 4 year old (nearly 5) has always found it hard to go to sleep until late. Before anyone says 'limit screen time', we don't have any of it, don't even have a TV. So I know it's not that. Currently​, we say 'tidy up time' at 7 pm, and the idea is he then brushes teeth and is in PJ's ready for stories in bed by 7.30. But it's such a struggle. He's resistant to everything. If you leave him to get his own PJ's on he will still be doing it half an hour later. If you give him a countdown or try to hurry him, he complains and gets angry. I finally get him done and into bed for stories. Lights go out at about 8 pm. IHe then gets up every 5 mins until about 9.45, 10 pm. (For the toilet, a drink, to tell me something random...) I'm going crazy by this point, not least because i have to work from home in the evenings. And he doesn't want his dad, he only wants me... Any tips on at least making the whole process smoother? Or getting him to stay in bed? It's every single evening.

Mamabear468 Wed 05-Apr-17 15:37:25

My little one is younger than yours so feel free to ignore these suggestions. Have you considered moving bedtime forward so he's got longer for doing things like his pyjamas? Or would that make him slow down further?
With regards to only wanting to you, have you tried going out of an evening so the only option is for your partner to deal with him? My dd daughter often only wants me, but actually the quicker way to settle her is to send dh in as she's not as interested in spending time with him.
Hope you make some headway soon smile

Phalarope Wed 05-Apr-17 21:08:31

Also have to work from home some evenings - I feel your pain. What if you back off more? We've had success (albeit with a 3 yr old) with just letting her look at books by herself until she either falls asleep or calls for us to turn her light off. She will faff and prevaricate for bloody hours over bath/PJs/teeth/anything involving our input, but seems to like the autonomy of choosing a couple of books to look at and pootling by herself to wind down.
Still do bath/story with us, with usual threats and negotiations and wailing, but then she's left to her own devices.

scissormister Sun 09-Apr-17 00:25:54

Thanks for the suggestions. We did actually move it back (used to be 7.30) but not sure it made much difference. Would love to go out every evening but think my husband might divorce me if I dump all the bedtimes on him! :D we do let him look at books after lights out with a torch... I think it's just that everything is such a battle that is really getting me down. Have to nag and nag for Everything from teeth brushing to pyjamas and it's so dull and depressing.

SmurfPants Sun 09-Apr-17 00:44:41

DC3 is like this. My feeling is that you don't let her pick which parent does it - we take it in turns.

We have 'jamas, teeth, book. And if she refuses 'jamas or teeth then no book. This is a strong motivator for her, but I appreciate that it might not be for everyone. She can go to bed wearing day clothes, it doesn't matter. <choosing battles>

Then when she gets in bed we have a night light like this: you charge it like a phone and she can fanny around with it or not. It's safe to have in bed, so a bit of autonomy like pp said.

My main thing is, 'you don't have to go to sleep'. Just lie there and rest. Not being able to sleep is not a good enough reason to get up. If she gets up she gets calmly walked back to bed saying, 'it's bed time now, night night.'

Or my DSs used to listen to CD books.

And after all that, consistency is the key. Decide on a plan and stick with it.

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