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bedtime is HELL in this house, what to do....

(22 Posts)
exasperatedmummy Tue 07-Oct-08 10:37:49

So,heres the thing, DD is STILL in our room at three years old. We are just sorting her room out, will probably be done next week. She doesn't want to go to bed, doing the whole delaying tactics etc. Her Dad, or me if he is out, has to lay with her on our bed until she goes to sleep, then she goes in her cot. But last night was awful, she screamed to come back downstairs, in the end, DP gave in. Took her downstairs, played with her for a bit and she was OK, went back to bed (this was at 10 o clock shock

We had a big row because i think he is too soft, but he thinks i am too harsh and make the situation worse. He is probably right that if i hadn't of dug my heels in last night she would have gone to bed more easily. I am never going to change his attitude, we are both pig headed, im right, hes right, to extents.

I want to get to the stage when DD goes to bed willingly ON HER OWN and we get our evenings back. I am hoping that we will achieve this when she has her own room (yes, this has been too long in coming but practical reasons stopped us from being able to do it).

So, what i am looking for is a relatively painfree way to persuade DD to go to her own bed, and STAY there. Last night she ended up in our bed and we got no sleep - this often happens if she gets upset at bedtime.

I feel more shattered now than when DD was a baby. She is also tantruming more, generally crying and whinging more - DP says it is because she doesnt do enough during the day. But i do loads with her. Admittedly there are no M&T things for her to do so we have been left to our own devices pretty much. Swing park, beach. soft play.

She starts playschool on Thurdsay (yippeee) but its only 2.5 hours. She never seems tired in the evenings, is she just the sort of child that doesnt need a lot of sleep, will this sort itself out once she starts playschool?

Right now i am a very tired, extremely exasperated mummy.

exasperatedmummy Tue 07-Oct-08 10:55:49


WeirdCod Tue 07-Oct-08 10:57:37

Message withdrawn

Tortington Tue 07-Oct-08 10:58:59

stick in room and ignore - repeat

Dottoressa Tue 07-Oct-08 11:04:07

Sorry - I don't think your DD has the problem. It sounds as if it's your DP with the problem. What makes him think your DD doesn't do enough during the day?

Your DD will only go to bed willingly and happily if you and DP agree that it's what you both want. It sounds as if you do want it, and that you're trying in the right way to go about it - but he is scuppering any chance of it working. While he is lying with her and bringing her downstairs, she will never go to bed on her own.

I feel for you. It sounds as if you'd be able to do it if it weren't for his input. Can you persuade him to try it your way for, say, a week once your DD has her own room? He would just have to agree to back you up 100 percent, and if it didn't work, you could try it his way.

You'd have to keep taking her back to bed with no conversation. I gather this can take a while!

Good luck...

exasperatedmummy Tue 07-Oct-08 11:08:43

When he is out, i have no problem putting her to bed - i have to lie with her, but she is asleep withing 15 minutes and its quite nice to have a cuddle. When he does it, and she will only have him do it, he is up there for hours!!

I have tried so hard to make him see that he isnt doing her any favours but he just thinks im trying to be a control freak. He argues with me about it in front of her, so rather than let her see this, i give him his way.

Im quite happy to take the softly softly approach, if it works, but he just wont try anything structured.

Our differences in parenting are stark and it is damaging our relationship.

sitdownpleasegeorge Tue 07-Oct-08 11:09:42

Well, I'm in favour of bribery and sneaky tactics.

You need a routine and to follow it as religiously as possible for a while until it becomes established then you can vary the timing of it a bit providing the basic routine isn't abandoned all together.

Is there a toy that your dd would really really really like to have ? If so, start a star chart with stickers for each bit of the routine achieved and set a target for her to work up to getting this toy. You could give stickers for going up to have a bath on time (different bath toys regularly help here, we found bath crayons a real lure and the odd second hand bath activity centre from ebay also worked well). Teethcleaning could be another sticker, racing mummy/daddy from bathroom to bedroom and winning, another sticker. We have a no going downstairs after bathtime rule so we do storytime in bed straight after bath/teeth. At bathtime our house goes into "night-time mode" and I use only nightlights and dimmed lamps and turn off the television and main hall/stairs lights downstairs to make it unappealing for the ds's to try and go back downstairs. Once they are asleep things go back to normal for us but they are both fast asleep by 8.00pm anyway.

Taking child back to bed with minimal talking apart from repeating "it's bedtime now" does eventually work as shown on various TV programmes about problems at bed-time. Start dd's day at a reasonable time (7am or whatever you are comfortable with) but no lie ins for dd if she was up late the previous night as this just skews the start and end times to her day.

Outdoor exercise in mid afternoon works well, whatever the weather, and instead of just playing on swings etc I invent reasons to run from A to B in the park or lots of step climbing or climbing on and off a bench or something.

Stick with the new bedtine routine despite the tears and it will get better. If it's really hard to start with, start later and gradually bring bed-time forward every few days until it is when you want it to be.

You will hopefully get it sorted in plenty of time for when school starts as they really need a good 10-12 hours once they have to concentrate and keep up with 20+ other children.

Good Luck

exasperatedmummy Tue 07-Oct-08 11:15:54

Thankyou for your replies, sitdown george, that does sound like something that DP might warm too. Honestly, its like i am in a battle with the both of them sometimes. But i dont want to be a horrible strict mummy either. But i also don't want DD up too late as it is bad for her (she didnt wake til nine today and i was so shattered i didnt either).

I guess i should swallow things as they are until the room is done, then talk to DP about establishing a routine.

sitdownpleasegeorge Tue 07-Oct-08 12:17:36

If your dd was so tired that she slept in until 9 am, then if you had woken her at 7 and started the day, I'd bet good money that you could get her into bed nad asleep at a very reasonable time tonight and start a new pattern for her body clock to follow. It's a good sign that you will be able to do it in the future even if the start date is a bit delayed.

Sleeping in until 9am won't be an option when she starts school wink

Dottoressa Tue 07-Oct-08 12:19:04

"she will only have him do it"...

She obviously knows who's in charge when it comes to her and your DP - and it's not him!!!

Is that what he really wants?!

These kinds of differences can be really bad for a relationship. My DH and I disagree about various things to do with the DCs (not bedtime routines, thankfully!), and it can be horrible.

exasperatedmummy Tue 07-Oct-08 12:22:54

Yes, i should have woken her, but to do that, i needed to be awake too

witchandchips Tue 07-Oct-08 12:33:38

you are actually in a good position to compromise with your dp. (btw i am sure that you do enough with your dc during the day). You can say that you will commit to giving her at least an hour of fresh air + exercise each day if he
a) insists on the light being off when lying done with her after stories
b) commits to leaving the room if she starts playing or getting out of bed
c) does not play with her or engage with her when she comes downstairs after she has been put to bed

he can still lie with her til she falls asleep but the difference is that she just gets cuddles and love + not playing

btw once this has settled down + bed is no longer a battle you can easily move to the next stage of the wimpy parent getting to bed technique. This is simply to lie down and cuddle for 5mins + then leave the room for 5 mins. Return (so long as she is in bed + lying down) and repeat. Did this a few weeks ago with my son and he now goes to sleep on his own no problem

exasperatedmummy Tue 07-Oct-08 14:15:16

witch and chips, i am loving the wimpy parent going to bed routine - will give it a try. Thanks.

The thing is though, if i give her an hour a day fresh air and exercise, that would mean she would be getting less than she does already wink. Playschool on Thursday - can't wait.

ElenorRigby Tue 07-Oct-08 14:35:40

I with custardo on this one

BlueberryPancake Tue 07-Oct-08 17:53:17

My DS has never been a problem at bedtime except lately (last month or so) and on top of having a good bedtime routine (which we've always had - I don't know why he started playing up!) I put him to bed, and sing him TWO songs (not more) and I explain to him that I have to go downstairs to 'clear up' and I'll come back in 5 minutes. If he is still awake, but he HAS to stay in his bed, I sing him another two songs. Most nights I only have to go back once, and the second time I go up he is asleep. Might worth trying, I don't know if it would work for you though.

Smee Tue 07-Oct-08 20:39:07

I'd say you and DH most definitely need to agree to any changes. No point otherwise. Poor you though, sounds impossible.
Howabout as BPancake says, give her an incentive to get snuggled down in her new bed - a song, or something that she looks forward to. We make up a story. If DS gets into bed he gets the story, if he won't get in I walk away and tell him to call me when he's in there. He loves it so much that it always works. After the story he has to stay in bed.
I disagree with doing the no communication/ put back thing straight off, as it sounds like too big a leap. Also it sounds very anti what your DH wants, so he'd probably not agree to it in the first place. Maybe instead of lying with her, sit reading next to her bed. Tell her if she plays up you'll go and she'll be by herself. Make sure this is what you do! If she wails, say you'll come back if she's quiet and lets you read. You need lots of praise, plus maybe a sticker chart/ prize if she lets you do that for a week - all depends how stubborn she is, but I'd say praise don't punish and that'll get you through the change. Once she's got that, gradually retreat! Read in the doorway first, then after a while out in the corridor. Once she's got that, head off for a few minutes, and say you'll be back, but only if she's quiet. Continue for what seems like forever hmm.. It does work though, and though it takes a while it might be a kinder way through and also meet your DH halfway.
We also had the problem of DS yelping to come into bed with us. In the end I put a camp mattress in his room every night. If he cried out, one of us went and slept in there, as at least it meant we could all get a night's sleep. No matter what though, he never got to crawl into our bed. Only time that happens is early mornings or if he's sick. Gradually he slept better and now the mattress is long since gone and he rarely needs us in the night. I might be soft but it worked for us. Go slowly, and you'll get there. But most definitely be firm.. grin

exasperatedmummy Tue 07-Oct-08 23:18:42

Bedtime tonight was much easier. I had a bath with DD, we had stories, she was wanting to come downstairs and play with her beads, i just ignored the request and tried to enthuse her with stories. We had three stories, laid down, had a cuddle, a couple of songs and a cuddle and soundo, sleeping child, chilled out mummy grin

DP was at his saxophone lesson hmm! I predict a different story tomorrow.

Will implement some sort of change once we move her to her room, but of course want to be soft about it as it is a big change for her. I just NEED a good nights sleep.

I don't think i ever want to give up on the story as i enjoy reading to her and have little visions of reading "the lion the witch and the wardrobe" to her chapter by chapter, one day

witchandchips Wed 08-Oct-08 09:31:09

really sounds as if you've got it sorted, you just need to convice your dp that your dd needs to know that bedtime means bedtime.

p.s. am hoping that stories will last until at least 8 or 9

exasperatedmummy Wed 08-Oct-08 13:06:30

My eldest DD used to put herself to bed shock. I would read to her downstairs at about seven o clock, she would go up to bed and i would tuck her in. Was expecting similar this time around, eldest DD is 18 now so god knows what time she goes to bed grin

anniemac Wed 08-Oct-08 13:19:00

Message withdrawn

exasperatedmummy Wed 08-Oct-08 13:31:20

yes annie, we have bought some lovely things for her room - just a case of getting it finished. Taps feet and waits for DP

anniemac Wed 08-Oct-08 13:34:19

Message withdrawn

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