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Bedtime - Somebody help me please!

(42 Posts)
FickleFairy Mon 25-May-09 20:09:58

Hi All,

My 26 month old has been causing myself and my husband a nightmare at bedtime for approx 4 months now. He has always been really good and we have never had to sit with him whilst he falls asleep, rock him etc, Just always lay him down in cot or bed, given him his dummy and comfort blanket, put his music on and walked away.

However, for about the last 4 months every single bed time is becoming so stressful. He just constantly gets out of his bed to play/strip off/stand at door crying and we have to put him back to bed around 20 - 30 times a night. I have tried to do it the Supernanny way since day 1 - 1st time put him back to bed with a cuddle and kiss, 2nd time just a cuddle and 3rd time onwards no speaking and no eye contact etc but it just isn't working. I think part of the problem is when he hears us coming he races to get into his bed and almost always gets in before we get there and thinks it's one big game. I have also tried just leaving him to get on with it but I swear he would play all night.

I am at my wits end and tonight resorted to taking his dummy and comfort blanket off him just to get a reaction, which upset him, and when I gave them him back and told him he could have them but he had to stay in bed he agreed but then within approx 2 mins was back out of bed. Now before you all say it, I know in my rational mind I cannot reason with a 2 year old and I also know the above was not a good thing to do, but like I say, I am at my wits end with it all and believe me rational has gone out of the window!

It just doesn't matter how tired he is, it is the same story every night.

Any advice would be sooooooo appreciated.


Slickbird Mon 25-May-09 20:45:17

Put a stair gate on the door if you can so he can't leave the room, make sure the room is safe as possible and just ignore it. Even if it means a few hellish nights. He WILL get bored and this is definitely a game to him.


My DD1 did a lot of this when she moved from her cot to a bed and got up - JUST BECAUSE SHE COULD - drove us mad until we tried the above and it did work.

Really wish you luck with it honey.

cruisemum1 Mon 25-May-09 20:54:06

my ds 2.hs just started doing this. it is horrendous. tonight he was screaming for over an hour. Really going mad. I returend him to bed at least 40 times and was gettting so furions i could have thrown him on te bed and told him to eff off. he kep saying he didn't like his radiator but it is not even on! to make matters worse he did this the last couple of nights and then has the audacity to wake me up at 5:45am. I was soooo livid this evening and utterly despairing. i feell for you but have no advice. i will watch this thread with interest

cruisemum1 Mon 25-May-09 20:57:50

slickbird - have just read your post. ds defo started playing up once he was ina bed. i rue the day i got rid of his cot sad. i have often threatened him with putting his gate on but if he does this again tomorrow i will definitely put it into action. so upsetting to see him so upset and so incredibly infuriating to not be able to control the situation without me getting angry.

TOK Mon 25-May-09 20:59:00

That must be really hard, especially if ds has been a great sleeper up until then! Typical, just when you think you've cracked it, they go and change their minds about co operating! I definitely agree with slickbird in that he clearly thinks its a game. Not sure I would use the stairgate incase it caused distress and you shouldn't really have to, it may make him resent going to bed at all.
Is he still having a daytime nap? COuld he possibly be sleeping too much in the day and just not tired enough at night? Just a thought. I would try the ignoring and just persist with it- if he's staying in his room whilst 'playing up'. If he is leaving the room then just put him straight back in with no interaction from the start. As slickbird said, you will prob have a few nightmare evenings but hopefully will be worth it in the end! I have my fingers crossed for you! xxx

FickleFairy Mon 25-May-09 20:59:38

CruiseMum1 - I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN!!!! My little boy is up anytime between 5.45 and 6.15am every day too and I am totally exhausted with it all.

Slickbird - Thanks for the advice, he has a gate on his room anyway but he does have some toys in there, which I have considered removing but the only thing is with him waking so early, sometimes the toys buy me an extra half hour in bed. I think tomorrow night I will try to totally ignore it and see how that goes, tonight he had emptied over half his wardrobe though whilst I was ignoring him!!!

Does someone have a magic wand?


gagarin Mon 25-May-09 20:59:51

stairgate on the door and leave him to potter - he'll crash out eventually

cruisemum1 Mon 25-May-09 21:04:57

ficklefairy - the confusing thing is my ds never usually wakes that early,. his nighttime shenanegans have coincided with his early rising. He is also waking in the night on occasion too. I feel so tired and frustrated. i totally feel for you

FickleFairy Mon 25-May-09 21:06:42

Thanks TOK - up until about 3 months ago he was still having a couple of hours in the day but I have cut it right back to an hour for his afternoon nap. Last week I did ask his nursery if all the children in his group still have a nap - thinking that if they said some didn't I would try dropping the nap altogether (although on the odd occasion I have done this I really do believe he still needs it) but his nursery assistant said that all the children in his group do still have a nap. So I don't really want him to be the only one not having them.

On the flip side, he is only at nursery 2 days a week and we go on holiday next week so I am thinking once we are back off hol I might just try and drop the nap and see if that does help. Although some nights I can just see he is soooo tired but just won't give in. He has bruises on his legs where he literally launches himself into bed when he hears me coming! It would make me giggle if it wasn't so infuriating! He just bursts out laughing as I walk away after I've tucked him in! Aaarrggghhh! Apart from this he is such a good little boy, so happy, good natured, eats well etc, everyone comments that he us just too good to be true, I just wish they could walk in my shoes at bed time!


Slickbird Mon 25-May-09 21:07:13

Even if he does empty his wardrobe, or the like, if you can, just pretend it's not happening. God they can be wee b*stards sometimes..wink

Slickbird Mon 25-May-09 21:10:26

Cruise Just out of interest, does your LO have dark blinds or curtains? My DD2 has been waking earlier because I have been meaning to get round to puting up a dark blind, now that the lighter nights and mornings are here. Maybe that?

letswiggle Mon 25-May-09 21:12:03

When you're feeling really weak, remember that he'll grow out of it.

Maveta Mon 25-May-09 21:19:04

do you spend a lot of ´quality´ time with him before bed? not just in the routine of bath, teeth etc etc?

We have just gone through something similar to this with our 2yr old and it was getting very frustrating. With us he wouldn´t actually get out of bed but would lie there crying and crying til we went to him, over and over.

i have no idea if it sorted itself out by itself or if anything we did helped but we did try to be more focussed on him for the whole evening, if one of us has to get something done then the other HAS to be actively engaging with him in some way. I think it at least helped him feel like he´d had lots of mummy and daddy time as I am sure part of the problem was him feeling like we got home, whirlwind of activity doing boring everyday tasks and then - boom - bedtime.

I now give him loads of warning about bedtime coming up and remind him, "ok we´re going to play this game and then clean teeth, put pjs on, read stories and bedtime, ok?". He inevitably says ´no´ but goes along with it anyway. And as we go through the steps i remind him what´s left to do. I then read to him and then he asks for papa who goes in and does the final tucking in.

It does mean that a big part of our evening is now the bedtime routine but it´s made a smoother and calmer event of it.

Disclaimer: none of what we did probably had the slightest bit to do with it, they seem to change their routines at will just to keep us on our toes! grin

Slickbird Mon 25-May-09 21:26:47

Good thinking Maveta. smile

Maveta Mon 25-May-09 21:31:14

anything is worth a try, right?!

Also we´ve found that running through everything we´ve done that day really calms and distracts him if he starts to get into a ´BEDTIME NOOOO´ kind of mood. Focuses him on something else and, I don´t know, it seems to help.

Slickbird Mon 25-May-09 21:39:52

Lovin' your work! grin

Maveta Mon 25-May-09 21:46:43

LOL grin like i said, it all sounds great doesn´t it? but next week we´ll probably be back at square one so I am most definitely not sitting here feeling all smug like ´we´ve got this cracked´!! smile

FickleFairy Tue 26-May-09 07:26:39

Thanks Maveta, a lot of that sounds really interesting. We do spend a huge amount of time with him playing etc but you have now got me thinking and I do think he may be worse on the days he is at nursery as it is mad when we get in upto bedtime and also maybe when we have had visitors so he hasn't had full attention on him.

I will definitely track this more closely.


Slickbird Wed 27-May-09 11:27:55

How's things been the last couple of nights Fickle?

FickleFairy Wed 27-May-09 15:39:48

Well last night I went to see my friend in hospital who has just had a baby boy so my other friend babysat so we could go and he put DS to bed and he was snoring within 3 minutes apparently!!! I have told him he can come every night!!!

So, tonight will be the real test! I will update later.


Slickbird Wed 27-May-09 21:49:45

Wee bugger! wink Proof, if any were needed, that he's pushing the old buttons eh. Good luck tonight.

FickleFairy Fri 29-May-09 17:51:55

Last night was hell. I was up and down for two hours which is worse yet and I was having to deal with some phone calls from work too and in the end gave up and said to my friend (who had had success two nights earlier) to go up and please sort DS out. He went up, did exactly the same as what I had been doing and DS was asleep within 5 mins!!

I swear to god I just wish someone could tell me what to do that would work sad

littleboyblue Fri 29-May-09 17:55:56

My ds1 is 21 months and does the same. We've had to sit int he room with him while he goes to sleep or he gets so worked up that it starts to effect his breathing. He plays up alot more with me than his dad, so I let dp handle it, but we have different ideas of how to tackle this which doesn't help.
Hope it gets better for you soon.

cruisemum1 Fri 29-May-09 19:30:11

i feel so angry with ds right now that i want to scream and throw him in his bed and lock the door sad we have had a lovely day, park, outdoor pool, only him and i as dd out at friends and now he is refusing to let me leave his room. clinging on, screaming etc. i have left dh in there but he is not particularly responsive to dh at the best of times so we will see how this works out. He is still screaming and going beserk. I hate this, it makes me soooo angry. I tried everything tack, patience, reassurance, talkign about treats for tomorrow and still this. fecking ell!!!! angry

cruisemum1 Fri 29-May-09 19:35:17

Slickbird - yes we do have blackouts. doesn't make a blind bit of difference (pardon the pun). It is just a phase but i absolutely loathe it. funnily enough dd has gone up there and he is now quiet! shock

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