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bedtime is a nightmare! DS1 just wont go to bed

(5 Posts)
coffeechat Wed 05-Aug-09 08:31:49

my ds1 is 4 and has always been very difficult getting to bed. We seemed to be getting somewhere when i fell pregnant again and was really ill during pg and then afetr the birth - my dh works every evening so i was taking ds1 into bed with me just so we could all get some sleep well now of course he absoultely will not go in his own bed at all and dh has to sleep in spare room every night! Tried everything - reward charts etc but i am so knackered at the end of the day i just bring him in with me so he will sleep. Please dont say just to shut him in his room and let him cry as i just wont be able to do that. Advise desperatelt needed!

HecatesTwopenceworth Wed 05-Aug-09 08:40:36

Have you got a good, consistent bedtime routine?

for example, does he know what time bedtime is? To prepare mine, I used to have a picture of a clock with the hands at the time of whatever - bedtime, mealtime etc, which they could then compare with the clock, iyswim.

Also they'd get warnings, a countdown if you like. "Time for bath, story and bed" "story then bed" "bedtime in 15 minutes" etc etc, so that bedtime wasn't a shock! grin

Same thing at same time every night - quiet time, where no toys allowed, to let him calm down. have a bath, read a story, have a drink, have a cuddle - always the same and always leading to bedtime at the end of it.

You can - and this means LESS sleep in the short term, but there isn't always an easy, pain free option in parenting, sadly!! - go in, settle him, leave the room, wait for him to cry, go back in, tuck him in, leave the room, let him call for 5 minutes, go back in etc etc. This does work, but it takes several days.

I know you said you don't want him to cry, and I understand that, you are feeling fragile, but you have to know that it isn't always possible to avoid crying, tantrums etc. And it's actually not good to try because in order to keep your child happy all the time, you have to make the world revolve around them and give them everything they want all the time. trust me when I say that no good can come from that!!

coffeechat Thu 06-Aug-09 07:30:09

Thanks for the advice. i do try to have a bedtime routine but the baby (6 wks) is still so unpredictable that its quite difficult. Maybe i need the baby to be in a routine before i try and tackle the older one! the evenings are just so exhausting but i know it has to be done. i'm aiming to have it sorted by september as he starts school. you are right about not making the world revolve around them though!

WoTmania Thu 06-Aug-09 09:11:30

It's difficult isn't it. Maybe go easy on him as a new baby is a big shock.
DS1 (3.7) now goes to bed okay while I lay on DS2's bed and we all go to sleep. This took age to get to though and all 'routine' went to pot when DD was born 5 months ago.
DS1 in particular likes cotact and him going to sleep without cuddling is a big deal.
Could you try laying in his bed with him to get him to sleep. This way he gets the security and comfort of contact and you get to rest while he's dropping off and then climb out once he's asleep.
(I did this. I would feed DD while lying on the bed so she didn't squeak)
He won't still be climbing into bed with you when he's 10 or so and it's such a short time and he is quite little.
I hope you sort it out though as it feels never-ending when you are there.

Kbear Thu 06-Aug-09 09:19:23

When he starts school it might become easier because he will be exhausted for the first few months.

How about buying him a special new Bed Ted and tell him that Bed Ted loves his bed and wants to cuddle him in bed now (etc etc lay it on thick) - then make a big change to your bedtime routine.

Explain that this is how big boys that go to school go to bed, so he will be like his friends etc etc if he goes to bed with his teddy. Let him listen to a story CD in bed (free from the library), leave a lamp on, and make his room cosy and warm.

Tell him that the baby is going to bed too once you've settled him (so he doesn't think the baby is down stairs getting cuddled when he is in bed) and if he calls, go to him and settle him but don't let him come back downstairs. Give him a small drink in a bottle so he can't use the "I need a drink" line either.

I hope some of this helps. Routines like you describe need some effort to break but you will be glad you did and so will your son once he realises what a lovely time bedtime can be.

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