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I'm at the end of my tether, dd's bedtimes are just getting worse and worse and I feel such a failure

(53 Posts)
northender Sun 19-Jul-09 20:10:18

I'm sobbing into the keyboard, I really am at my wits end. dd is 4 and has only recently started to sleep through consistently (prior to that she would wake in the night at least a couple of times a week). Bedtime though is another matter entirely. Tonight I almost lost it with her and have frightened myself. She is strong willed and we have to deal with her a bit differently because of that (trying to avoid continual confrontation). We have always been consistent with bedtime ie wind down, bath, story, bed. Our problems now start at wind down time when she refuses to do anything she's asked and then goes on to do exactly the opposite. Everything then escalates. I managed to defuse things successfully tonight, get her into bed and read the story. The calm didn't last, she wouldn't stay in bed, hit me, tried to bite me and I lost the plot. dh is upstairs at the moment and all is quiet. We can't carry on like this, it's getting worse and I have no idea what to do to help her.

bellavita Sun 19-Jul-09 20:13:09

I am not sure what to say.. but poor you sad it sounds like it is torture for all of you.

Hopefully someone will be along who have had similar problems and know what to do.

<< gives northender a unmn hug >>

AgentCodyBanks Sun 19-Jul-09 20:14:17

you have left it too late - she is tired.
ignore anything she says
if she hits you you walk out esplinaing why

AgentCodyBanks Sun 19-Jul-09 20:14:38

( and yes hug)
brin it forward half an hour

canttouchthis Sun 19-Jul-09 20:15:33

I'm sorry you are having a tough time with your DD. ((hugs))

Try and ignore the behaviour, don't talk to her once the routine is complete. Does she have a stairgate over her bedroom door?

If you respond to the bad behaviour it will just fuel her need to do the opposite of what you say.

I had this with DS (who is 2yo) and just said 'bed' and walked away. I had to keep taking him back to bed. saying nothing, but kept doing it until he got the message loud and clear through my actions of being calm and in control.

The thing I've noticed is if you let them see it's getting to you, then they play up all the more.

Hope someone else can give some advice too. I'm just going by what has worked for me, but if there are other ways of handling it, would be good to know aswell from other posters.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

potxola Sun 19-Jul-09 20:15:40

First of all you are not a failure. I am conviced you are a great mum. I also have a 4 yr old and sometimes I almost lost it too for different reasons. It happens. You are Ok
Have you tried getting her to choose a new dolly to take to bed with her?

Aranea Sun 19-Jul-09 20:16:18

Would bribery help, do you think?

AgentCodyBanks Sun 19-Jul-09 20:16:34

Yes ds sometimes gets all contrary saying he doesnt like things he does like etc
i nod and agree and shut the door. its tiredness turnign into attention seeking.

canttouchthis Sun 19-Jul-09 20:17:58

I agree, infact, it's almost indicative of overtiredness (your DD may need an earlier bedtime).

CarGirl Sun 19-Jul-09 20:18:32

Have you tried implementing a simple rule, if she is badly behaved, just walk out and shut the door behind you? Go back after 5 minutes and ask if she is ready to behave, if not repear ad finitum?

You may need to do the door trick so she can't get out.

I would imagine that there would be some room trashing etc the first few times. It would also take some time & commitment to work?

northender Sun 19-Jul-09 20:19:19

Thanks. We have experimented with bed time, generally between 7 and half past but tonight was 7 because we knew she was tired. The hitting and biting isn't confined to when she's tired. She doesn't do it at nursery or with anyone other than me or dh. Again we're consistent when it happens and do time out with her which works in the short term but doesn't seem to make any odds in the long term.

Dineysor Sun 19-Jul-09 20:19:34

no dont go back fgs
she needs to sleep.

she is4 - she is too odl to trash i think
also YOu try to focus just on her at bedtime, do a plinky plonky voice.

bellavita Sun 19-Jul-09 20:21:11

Hope you didn't mind, but I looked at your profile and notice you have an older child.. do they go to bed at the same time? If not, I am just wondering if this is why she doesn't want to go (I am not suggesting that she does go at the same time). Sometimes my DS2 moans that he has to go earlier than DS1.

fishie Sun 19-Jul-09 20:21:14

yes earlier, i start at 7 for asleep at 8pm. that means ds (also 4) gets up at 6am but any later to bed and it is nightmare.

tell her that you are there to put her to bed / help her go to sleep and if she isn't doing that then you aren't staying. hold door shut while she screams a bit (1 min?) then reappear and offer to settle. get the bath done much earlier if that is a big prob.

Aranea Sun 19-Jul-09 20:21:31

I think if it was me I'd try having a calm conversation about it in the morning when she's feeling more amenable. And then maybe set up some kind of reward system in return for sensible bedtimes. Do you think your dd might go for that? For me, the carrot is easier to implement than the stick as a first line of attack!

raspberrytart Sun 19-Jul-09 20:22:04

We have been having a rough time getting ds(3)to settle too,if left he would just ransack his room, break his bed etc etc till late into the night so we decided to sit with him but not to say anything just pretend we were asleep, this methed kept him in bed but we were up there for ages,what has worked for us is making sure he's really tired, telling him what's going to happen next then after story, cuddle and kiss and leave the room. He obv didnt like this but would put him back without saying anything, we also found that a blackout blind in his room and on the landing has helped.
Sorry to rant and I'm sure you've tried all this but hope that things get better for you all soon.

northender Sun 19-Jul-09 20:22:42

I completely agree with the not going back in but without fixing a bolt on the door we can't keep her in, I thought of a stair gate but she'd climb over!

northender Sun 19-Jul-09 20:26:41

Our ds does go to bed later than her which she obviously isn't happy about but isn't a major issue I don't think. ds goes to bed, lies awake for a time and then drifts off to sleep and doesn't ever get up until morning.

fishie Sun 19-Jul-09 20:27:48

i have found with ds he is so horrified when i go out of room that have only had to do it about 3 times in two years, holding door handle for a few mins is sufficient. my brother has tied door for his dd but i think that's a bit strong, if not dangerous for all night.

last time was a few weeks ago, we had an unfortunate incident and were angry with each other, he refused to have me back and put himself to bed instead. we both felt rather bad in the morning though as bedtime is generally quite nice since we have got some rules.

Dineysor Sun 19-Jul-09 20:29:44

Agree withe Areana
in teh day reinforce the ruels in a nice way and maybe even gently tease her about her tantrum

jelliebelly Sun 19-Jul-09 20:32:57

When you say bedtime 7pm is that when you start the routine or is that "lights out?". It really does sound like overtiredness - ds is nearly 4 and we have this on occasion but have now managed to recognise the signs. On days like this he can be in bed having stories before 6.30pm as we have suffered the consequences in the past.

Does she wake during the night? what time does she wake up in the morning?

jelliebelly Sun 19-Jul-09 20:34:58

Another thought - is her room really light on these summer evenings? if so, a black out blind/curtains might help her to forget that it is still light outside.

northender Sun 19-Jul-09 20:37:01

Sorry I'm not responding to these posts in any particular order, my mind is all over the place! We have tried bribery but the trouble is that once she gets into her angry zone at any level, nothing matters to her. It works in theory when she's calm and I talk about it to her then but it just goes out of the window when her mood changes.

Dineysor Sun 19-Jul-09 20:39:18

also ONE of you do it
not both of you.

adn you need to be firm that her sister is up later as she is older.

dotn take any crap there

Dineysor Sun 19-Jul-09 20:39:45


she is 4 and BITING you? even when not tired?
that is not ok.

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