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Help with 2 children who keep coming downstairs in evening.

(18 Posts)
WalkingThePlank Mon 24-Nov-14 21:06:16

We have a DD aged 8 and DS aged 6. DD has lights-out at 8pm (was 8.20 but she was thoroughly exhausted the following morning) and DS has lights-out at 7.30. We then have at least an hour of them coming down for various mostly spurious reasons.

I don't want to be selfish but I would like an uninterrupted meal with DH or to have a conversation with him.

I don't want them to think that they can't come down if they need too. To put it in context when I was a child there were at least 2 occasions when I vomited in my bed and was so afraid to interrupt my parents that I stayed awake all night and only told them when my mum came in in the morning. I don't want my DCs to be afraid like that.

So I'm looking for ways to help DCs understand that bedtime=bedtime but they can come down if necessary.

Any ideas?

GoingToBedfordshire Mon 24-Nov-14 21:20:09

I have dds aged 6 and nearly 8.

Bedtime is usually ok, I read to dd2 from roughly 7-7.30. She then turns her own light out. If she says she isn't tired, I leave her to it with a book. She usually turns it out within 10 mins. I then sit in dd1's room reading the paper or my kindle while she reads or listens to her audio book. I go at about 8 and tell her to turn her light out when she has finished her chapter. She usually does the same, light out just after 8.

It takes a while, but I think the time spent with them on their own really helps them settle. Letting them turn their own light out avoids the last minute moaning that we used to get at bedtime.

Would something like this work for you? Hope I don't sound smug, they can be utter pains at other points in the day and it is just good to able to enjoy bedtime at last!

GoingToBedfordshire Mon 24-Nov-14 21:22:15

Meant to add, dd1 used to come down a lot more with random thoughts, questions or complaints when I didn't spend as long over bedtime with her. I think they both know they can still come down if they need to for whatever reason. Feel sad for the child you!

bobs123 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:27:09

I think you have to pre-empt any spurious reasons they may have for coming downstairs, set boundaries and just be consistent in their only coming downstairs under certain circumstances which you set out to them.

If they do come down for something unimportant do not engage them in conversation. Just tell them you will deal with it tomorrow and goodnight.

Sorry but sometimes you just have to be strict for your own sanity smile

WalkingThePlank Mon 24-Nov-14 21:47:59

GoingtoBedfordshire, we do have a fairly similar bedtime routine to you. DH and I spend about half an hour with each child reading a book and chatting about their day. We did try letting them turn their lights off but they left it so late and were tired and grumpy in the morning.

WalkingThePlank Mon 24-Nov-14 21:49:23

And thanks for the comment re the child me.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 24-Nov-14 21:52:47

Can you just not allow it?
The only time mine were ever allowed downstairs after bed was an emergency or could shout down and tell us if they were unwell.
You could be shagging.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 24-Nov-14 21:56:08

Arrgghh! Marking place as ours are so bad at finding ridiculous reasons to be out of bed...

marnia68 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:57:10

slapped bottom and back to bed without a word

GoingToBedfordshire Mon 24-Nov-14 22:00:37

Fair enough - choose to ignore the grumpiness for a few days and see if they make the connection themselves?

BellaBearisWideAwake Mon 24-Nov-14 22:04:46

My 6yo does this. I've told him that in an emergency it's ok, but it's usually because he isn't falling asleep and is bored. What helps is not then spending more time with him, as that it what he wants and stops him going to sleep. So if it's DH around and not me, he will take him back upstairs, sit with him for 5 mins and then leave again. And the DS will do it again. And again.
If it's me, I hear him coming and call out 'Back to bed!' and he doesn't get the chance for more chat and gets the message.

CMOTDibbler Mon 24-Nov-14 22:07:42

I think just be very clear on what constitutes a good reason for coming down is. Ie vomiting, feeling really ill, genuinely scared. Nothing else gets more than being turned round and taken back to bed - no food/drink/discussion etc.

I feel for you as a child, but I'm guessing you weren't just scared that far over firm boundaries at bedtime.

AliMonkey Mon 24-Nov-14 22:08:13

Agree with PP re rules eg they can come downstairs if not well or eg have wet the bed, can get out of bed (but not come down) to go to toilet. Otherwise stay in bed. Having said that we have occasional nights where one or other finds constant reasons to call for us to go up.

Other point is whether you are trying to get them to bed too early so they can't sleep (eg my 7 year old has lights out about 8.30) but given your grumpiness comment maybe not.

BlueGreenHazelGreen Mon 24-Nov-14 22:12:56

Why not sit down with them and get them to make up an explicit set of rules together?


You may come down if you are sick/bleeding/in pain but there are agreed sanctions for faking.

You will go to bed at x time

No food or drinks etc after lights out

One big kiss and hug and that's it (my DS would call for 100 kisses if allowed!)

Etc etc

One thing to think about - are they scared? My DS needs a wee night light to sleep and needs to understand in advance if there's going to be funny noises (eg the doorbell going with the curry delivery or a visitor arriving.

FelixTitling Mon 24-Nov-14 22:13:02

marnia that seems a little harsh.

walking my two used to do this. We just took stuff of them. I.e. No telly or no treats or whatever the next day if they don't go to bed nicely.

Sit them down, tell them what will happen and stick to it.

simpson Mon 24-Nov-14 22:13:47

My DC are a nightmare at bed time.

DD (6) was supposed to be in bed at 8.00 & she has only just gone to sleep now.

DS (9) is finally dropping off. Tbh it is DD that is the real nightmare as she is grumpy every morning & needs to be woken.

DS bounds out of bed at 7.00am every morning and is full of beans <<sigh>>

(Note to self: am cracking down as of tomorrow!)

FelixTitling Mon 24-Nov-14 22:14:21

bluegreen has put it better than me.

Starlightbright1 Mon 24-Nov-14 22:19:19

At this age they are old enough to understand what they can get up for. My DS (7) knows once it is bed he can come down if unwell or has a proper bad dream( otherwise I get vaguely bad dreams /day dream as he hasn't had time to go to sleep)

He does go up at about 7ish and reads for half an hour. in that time I let him get up and down with all the stuff he hasn't told me because he has forgotten or been more interested in watching TV. I then go up settle him down, ask him if there is anything he wants to tell me which he will think of something to delay bedtime.

Also anything after that time does not result in me doing anything ( unless ill etc. ) He asked me to put his DS on to charge last night 10 minutes after lights out so I said no and didn't do it till tonight. I feel very petty but it really reduces the demands.

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