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How to get DS to stay in bed at bedtime-Help!!

(49 Posts)
Phil75 Thu 24-Jul-08 10:18:09

I mentioned this on another thread but don't want to hijack that one, so here goes... any advice/suggestions welcome!

My DS will be 4 in September and is generally a really good little boy. He's currently prone to a bit of defiance but nothing unusual in my limited experience. The problem is when we put him to bed, he won't stay in there. Nothing has changed in his bedtime routine... it's now just become a habit to kick up a stink as soon as we've tucked him up. He says he's not tired, but I know he is as he's on the go from about 6.30am all day with no naps and I know it's just that he's realised that life goes on when he's in bed and he can't bear to miss out. He's a very demanding little chap.. always has to be talking and centre of attention, so it's not that surprising.

He's always been a bit reluctant to go to bed but before he responded to having one of this 3 stories taken away the next night. Then no TV the next day. However no threat works now and even getting cross just doesn't bother him. being nice and reassuring is fine until the moment you leave the room. We even put a baby gate over his doorway so he couldn't come out, but then he screams and screams and keeps his little brother awake.

I'm nearly at my wits end with it as it means we're all so tired all the time. This in turn makes his behaviour in the day worse. Basically we're all very irritable and desperately need to sort it out!


justaphase Thu 24-Jul-08 10:26:18

We moved oour 3-year-old into a proper big bed with some character bedding which he loves. Also lots of new story CDs which he falls asleep while listening to. Probably only a temporary solution but has kept him in bed for the last two weeks.

anotherdayyetanothernickame Thu 24-Jul-08 12:34:35

Phil - you've made me laugh as I'm reassured I'm not the only one doing not 1 but 3 stories at bedtime!! I threaten to reduce to 2 and then 1 and then 0 if he's being silly before bedtime but haven't tried that to get him to stop calling down for me after he's actually in bed.

I have a similar problem although he doesn't actually get out of bed. Just stays there calling for me to come and get him something or other until I do and won't stop for ages.

Last night I tried threatening to take fave toy away if he didn't stop it which worked (for now).

I know how annoying it is - you have my sympathies - ds doesn't go to sleep until 9 at the moment.

Looking forward to hearing others' ideas.

mumfor1standmaybe2ndtime Thu 24-Jul-08 12:41:11

Does he have lots of toys he is playing with, or is he just getting up to get your attention?
I would hide toys in a cupboard or remove from the room if they are the problem. If it is calling you/making noises etc to get your attention I would do my very best to ignore it all. Just turn up the tv!
If he is coming downstairs or out of his room, just keep putting him back and say good night over and over.

Ds (3.5) went through this phase too.

lilQuidditchKel Thu 24-Jul-08 19:18:01

with my DS (2.4) whenever he kicks up a fuss after being put into bed for some silly reason, we tell him first it's bedtime and he should go to sleep now. Second time repeat above instruction, adding, go to sleep nicely or we go on the naughty spot. Third time we pick him up, put him on naughty spot, and ignore (he's normally crying by now). Ignore, ignore, ignore. He gets up when he's ready to go to bed and is tired of tantruming - normally 1-2 minutes.

Might sound harsh but for my DS, coddling just makes it worse.

juuule Thu 24-Jul-08 19:43:45

We let ours lie on the settee as long as they are quiet. If they are tired, they usually fall asleep quite quickly and then we can carry them up to bed.
Saves on the tears (ours and theirs).

mumfor1standmaybe2ndtime Fri 25-Jul-08 11:20:26

Asking for trouble letting kids fall asleep on the sofa imo! Years of arguments lay ahead!
Bedtime in our house is being put to bed with a story, milk, and shut the door.

juuule Fri 25-Jul-08 11:39:45

Never caused a problem with any of my 9

Phil75 Fri 25-Jul-08 11:46:51

I think it totally depends on the child. With my DS, it's very much give an inch and he takes a mile. He can make himself stay awake at whatever cost so would never nod off anywhere unless the whole house is asleep and he's sure he's not missing out on anything! I envy you being able to sort it out by them sleeping on the sofa! Thanks for the comments so far...

juuule Fri 25-Jul-08 13:05:20

What we say is, if you want to stay downstairs then you must lie down and be quiet and close your eyes otherwise you must go to bed. If they are tired this is usually enough for them to go to sleep(sometimes with a couple of reminders). We do dim the lighting. Having said that we are not particularly strict about bedtimes so it could be quite latish before they settle down anyway.

I suppose it does depend on each family's own circumstances and expectations.

Phil75 Fri 25-Jul-08 13:57:36

I let him stay up the other night when my husband was out. He was being really awkward, so I told him he could come downstairs and see what happens in the evening, to see what he's missing out on. So he sat and watched me work for 2 and a half hours until I went to bed at 11.30pm! 10 out of 10 for stamina eh?!

juuule Fri 25-Jul-08 14:18:53

But did he sleep without any problem once he went to bed?

Did he lie down while he was up?

If we didn't insist that they lay down then they would follow us around with the possibility of getting tired and cranky.

And yes, some do seem to have unlimited supplies of stamina
I think they drain it out of their parents -or at least that's how it feels sometimes.

mumfor1standmaybe2ndtime Fri 25-Jul-08 15:28:08

I guess it does depend on the family! Each to their own. I guess I enjoy my adult evening time too much. I usually leave ds in bed with a small light on and some books if he won't sleep, rather than downstairs with us.
I have got images of older children kicking up a fuss about going to bed and thinking they have the upper hand.

Phil75 Fri 25-Jul-08 18:58:44

Same here. That's why I'm desperate to nip it in the bud. Books and light worked well for the last few months, but need something new! I'm a bit of an old dragon once evening comes. I really feel I've given them my absolute all in the day and they've got to learn that evenings are for the grown-ups (especially as I need to get my work done). Will see how tonight goes, but this morning my husband got up for work at 6am and found him asleep outside our bedroom door.

theauthor Fri 25-Jul-08 19:16:48

Juule you must have a big sofa grin

itati Fri 25-Jul-08 19:18:28

My 3 year old has, this week, started being a problem going to bed and is now crying as Dh won't let him read.

VictorianSqualor Fri 25-Jul-08 19:30:39

Give him a book.
'ok, i understand you're not tired, but I need you to be in bed now because X, but you can read this book'
He'll fall asleep by himself.

LittleMissTickles Fri 25-Jul-08 19:31:05

Very simple here. Both DC are allowed to 'read' books in bed after bedtime (usually without a light on! blush) but if they get out of bed/call us for no reason they lose a privilege the next day eg no treats or no tv.

Good luck!

missmollymoo Fri 25-Jul-08 19:31:23

I'm old fashioned in that bedtime is bedtime whether tired or not. I need my adult time downstairs to drink my wine and watch age appropriate tv. I don't think they get quality sleep in the living room. 6.30pm bed for my 10 month old. Room pitch black and door shut. She babbles to sleep. 7.30pm bedtime on school nights for my 6 year old, tired or not. bedtime is bedtime, lights out and door shut. If he got up or came down when younger i just said, it's bedtime and refused to enter into any discussion about anything (not even possible recriminations). Even if you have to do it 50 times a night i promise you it will get better. ANY conversation be it positive or negative is attention to him. You could try a reward chart. Explain how it will work and that each morning if you have had to take him back to bed he will get a sad face. If he's good then a happy face. If he gets so many happy faces you will treat him at the weekend.
Good luck. Please don't relent and let him sleep on the sofa. Don't lose your grown up time, it's so important for your sanity!!!

juuule Fri 25-Jul-08 19:41:44

at the big sofa,theauthor.

Maybe over the years we've just got a bit soft and felt there wasn't a great deal of benefit making a young child go to bed when they are really not ready to go, causing upset all round and lots of running up and down stairs when just letting them be quiet downstairs took all the pressure out of the situation.
Once we had older and younger children it was the best option to let the younger child/ren fall asleep d/stairs rather than keeping the older children awake.
And it doesn't last that long really(unless you have more childrenwink ).

Now that the youngest is 5yo it's very rare that the younger ones don't go to bed when we say.(although that's not always early).

Only problem now is the teenagers wanting to be up all night.hmm

juuule Fri 25-Jul-08 19:53:11

"Please don't relent and let him sleep on the sofa."hmm

*missmollymoo" you don't know phil74 ds. Letting him sleep on the settee may or may not be the ideal thing for him and phil74. You phrase it as though it would be a dire choice. It has worked very well for our family.
With my eldest child we did lots of things that went against the grain and resulted in a lot of upset for our family due to people telling us 'you don't want to do that' along the lines of 'rod for your own back' advice. In the end we listened to our children and listened to others advice and made our own minds up. We decided whether the advice applied to us or not. The dire warnings of others ended up being nothing but hot air.

missmollymoo Fri 25-Jul-08 20:02:52

I was basing my comments on the fact that phil74 says she's " a bit of an old dragon once the evening comes" and that she's given her all in the day, and that she wants them to "learn that evenings are for the grown ups". I certainly did not mean to offend you. I do agree that what suits one family does not suit another and i'm all for doing what you please. My dh works away for 10 weeks at atime so my alone time at night is very precious to me and i consider it my reward. When dh is home my eldest stays up later. I simply wanted to give phil74 some support and encouragement to achieve what she (or he) seems to wants, to reassure her that it is achievable, and not what i think is best for her. It was not meant as " a dire warning" by any means.

juuule Fri 25-Jul-08 20:13:28

Fair enough.
I suppose it was the 'relent' that touched a nerve as it seemed to suggest a battle between parent and child that the parent must win and really I feel that it's better to take both sides into consideration to work out a compromise.
You have to feel some sympathy for a child that decamps to sleep outside the parent's bedroom door to be near them, surely. I know we did with our now 8yo when she did this aged 4yo.
Anyway, that was my suggestion based on our situation. Obviously it's up to others to work out what suits them and theirs.

missmollymoo Fri 25-Jul-08 20:19:38

Looking back "relent" does sound wrong! I am totally soft in so many other ways, but my nights have always been so important for me. With dh away i NEVER go out and my days are always spent with at least one child in tow as i have no help within the family. I would too be heartbroken to wake to find my child asleep on the floor, and luckily never had any battles, other than when ds moved to his big bed aged 2 and discovered to his delight he could venture downstairs. It only took 3 nights to sort so i suppose it's easy for me to say stick at it.
Sorry again for any offence, cos it wasn't intended.

juuule Fri 25-Jul-08 20:29:07

No offence taken missmolly I just didn't want the idea of falling asleep downstairs to be written off as a complete no-no. It might not be suitable now for phil74 but I've found it's a good idea to keep an open mind for future circumstances, maybe.
While my dh isn't away for the long periods you've mentioned (which obviously must be difficult for you)he does work away occassionally. To be honest on those weeks, sometimes I've liked the company of my little ones. For years we haven't gone out, either, due to no babysitters and with 9 children, I too, usually have a number of little ones in tow. So you have my sympathy there.
It can be hard work at times and the aim is definitely to survive with some sanity intactwink

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