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Suitable punishment for a 3 year old at bedtime

(18 Posts)
fruitstick Sun 12-Jul-09 21:11:52

DS has never been great at going to bed and we have tried all sorts - sticker charts, rapid return, staying with him etc. The best strategy so far has been ignoring him and then putting him back in bed every 5 or 10 minutes.

Anyway, this evening he did not want to go to sleep and so completely trashed his room. Threw all his toys, broke some, took the top off his playtable, emptied the drawers and (somehow) managed to pull the doors of its hinges.

DH and I are furious, understandably, but how do we get through to him that this is REALLY not acceptable.

He is very clever and rationalises everything. If we take his toys away, he knows he will get them back eventually and so just plays with something else until he gets them back. How on earth do we take ALL of them away. And if we did, what the devil do I do with him?

The sticker chart never really worked because he just did it long enough to get the treat and then reverted once the treat had passed.

Please give me some suggestions. Chimneysweep sounds like an option at the moment angry

BlueBumedFly Sun 12-Jul-09 21:38:14

Chimneysweep would be up there for me too but just to play devils advocate does he have a night light? Could he be harbouring worries about the dark/being alone/ monsters? Could you pop him into bed with a night lightlight a book knowing you can move it once he a sleeping? That's what I do with dd. We have a barbapapa nightlight you can cuddle and she totally relies upon it. How about allowing him to listen to music or story cd in bed whilst he dozes off as long as he stays put in bed?

cornsilk Sun 12-Jul-09 21:41:49

Wow. He really doesn't like going to bed does he! Even if you take all of his toys away he will find something to do to wind you up if he really wants to. Is he going too early?

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 12-Jul-09 21:42:14

What is your bedtime routine?

DD is a bit like this right now, her sleep has gone completely to pot. we just let her stay up blush and when she became so tired in the day she fell asleep, we did not let her sleep yesterday and she took herself to bed at 6:30pm ! Slept til 7:30am. Then tired today as playing catchup but no nap so went to bed and slept from 7:45pm. I will not dare to say we have broken it as it can all change again tomorrow.

DDs sleep has been ok but she tends to have affected sleep when she is having a growth spurt or is coming down with something.

smellen Sun 12-Jul-09 21:47:20

I found sticker charts didn't work that well - if my DS wanted to do something he shouldn't, he was smart enough to know not to want a sticker/reward etc.

So, at one point I drew a chart on an A4 sheet with three little TVs on it (representing one Cbeebies programme each), three little books (representing bedtime stories that he has each night), and a little biscuit/chocolate (which he has after dinner). These were his daily "treats", and if he did something 'naughty', I'd draw a cross through one, and he wouldn't get it the next day. Because there were 7 little icons, it meant that when one of these privileges was withdrawn, he still had some things left to "be good" for. Otherwise, I found that if I just applied a sanction, he no longer had anything to aim for, and just misbehaved more.

Would something like that help?

Sorry to hear about the bedroom. I would say try not to show how p*ssed off you are about it - if he knows he's got a rise out of it, then he's more likely to try it again.

And try to bear in mind that they all go through phases of being right PITAs, and that your DS will probably be a saint again in a few months.

fruitstick Sun 12-Jul-09 21:52:14

smellen that might work. I like the sound of that. He's --an angel-- not bad during the day, but something happens after the last story of the night which sends him loopy. It's almost like there's a full moon.

The problem today was that he had a very energetic party and then fell asleep on our way out this afternoon so wasn't sufficiently tired I think.

Our bedtime routine has always been consistent but I think we probably need to look at it now he is getting older.

The main thing is how to teach him that being destructive is not an acceptable way to behave, whatever you want to do.

Horton Sun 12-Jul-09 22:10:51

I wonder if he could be overtired? Or alternatively not tired enough? I have a 2.9 year old DD and it's a weird kind of balancing act at the moment because if I put her to bed ten minutes too early or too late for her state of tiredness, she turns into a mad person.

Sorry, not very helpful, but maybe something to think about?

fruitstick Sun 12-Jul-09 22:28:57

Horton that is exactly the problem!

And when I perfect my invention that indicates which one it is, I shall be off to the Seychelles!

Horton Sun 12-Jul-09 22:34:21

Can I share the proceeds? As co-contributor?

It's bloody difficult, isn't it? I am like a hawk in the evenings at the moment watching for signs of being ready for bed or otherwise I get an hour of 'bring this toy, bring that toy, I want a drink, I want a wee, I want a blanket, I want the light on, I want the light off, I want to sleep in your bed, I want to sleep on the floor, I want to sleep in my OOOOOOWWWWNNN bed, I want another story, I want to hold your hand' etc etc etc. She never used to be like this. She just used to go to sleep when I put her to bed at the same time every night. I am assuming that it will get better eventually or I will have to run away.

So far she hasn't trashed anything because she's small and weedy and I don't think she actually could but she still manages to give me an hour of hell when I don't get it right. Much sympathy! But sadly, I have no solution.

smee Mon 13-Jul-09 11:17:14

Sounds either like it's a habit - ie it's bedtime so I play up, or that he's a bit afraid of being alone maybe? Either way I'd guess you need a complete change in pattern to solve it. Could you do a deal with him? Does he have enough language to do that? I said to my DS I'd sit and read outside his room, but only if he stayed in bed and didn't talk to me. The minute he moved or played up I went. He so loved me being there that it worked. Or you could let him maybe have an audio book or something, but only if he'll stay in bed. I know it sounds a bit odd as it's a reward, but maybe you need to stop thinking of punishments and go the other way on this one.

smee Mon 13-Jul-09 14:00:27

Meant to say, I worried about being stuck outside DS's room forever, but once he'd got used to it, it was easy to escape. I used to say I was sorting the washing or something, then by the time I got there he was asleep. After a few months, he'd forgotten I ever used to sit there.

fruitstick Mon 13-Jul-09 14:17:41

I have tried that and it woeked for a while but not these days.

Rapid return just becomes a game as he tries to see if he can run back to bed before I get there angry

This morning he was not happy that all his toys had gone and plainly told me he should be allowed the toys he hadn't thrown back and said 'well I'll get them all back tomorrow won't I' and promptly played with his toys downstairs.

Am tempted to make him earn 1 duplo brick at a time

BlueBumedFly Mon 13-Jul-09 20:21:21

LOL Fruitstick, one duplo brink at a time!! Any better tonight?

fruitstick Mon 13-Jul-09 20:57:01

Much better! Fast asleep by 8pm and no tantrums. Well there was nothing left to throw so that helped grin

I made him walk everywhere today to hopefully tire him out, and promised if he went to sleep nicely he could wear his lazytown outfit to mother and toddler tomorrow hmm

BlueBumedFly Mon 13-Jul-09 21:08:34

Good for you!

Horton Mon 13-Jul-09 22:51:55

Well done, fruitstick!

cornsilk Tue 14-Jul-09 06:57:02

Good news - LOL at lazytown outfit!

smee Tue 14-Jul-09 10:46:37

I love a bribe. He sounds v.cute if exhausting for you. Hope it continues.. grin

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