Why why WHY do my kids do this?!!

(146 Posts)
NoCapes Mon 08-Feb-16 21:45:14

And how do I make it stop?!

Every single BASTARDING night we have this!

They're 4 & 6, bedtime has always been a nightmare, particularly the 6 year old. In the past I've been known to still be sitting on his bedroom floor at 2am (from 7pm) sometimes with him still awake.
The 4 year old has on the whole been pretty good, but then of course started copying her brother.

Things got better for a while, then within the last 12/18 months or so we've been on a downward spiral and I'm about at breaking point.

They go to bed fine, 4 year old goes first; story, milk, kisses, goodnight. Then the same for the 6 year old, all lovely.
Then it begins.
Up, down, in and out of each other's bedrooms, shouting down the stairs oh God the shouting down the stairs - "they need water they need a wee they need a poo they need their in-haler they need a teddy they need a different teddy DS is shouting DD is shouting" and on and on and on...

But the worst part is - they need a response!
So it's "I'm going to the toilet!...Mum! I'm going to the toilet! Muuuuum I'm having a wee! Muuuuum! Mum! Mum! Mum!"
WHY!?!?!?! Just go to the fucking toilet!!!!! No-one cares!!!!!!!!! angryangryangry

We have a new baby and I'm constantly waking him up just shouting "shush" up the stairs! It is a fucking joke!!

I am seriously at the end of my tether and by about 9:20 tonight I was half way out of the door!
Someone please help me?!!

TannhauserGate Mon 08-Feb-16 21:52:46

They do grow out of it, honestly.
It's so wearing isn't it?
Congratulations on new baby thanks

I found the best solution was to stay upstairs, and 'potter' whilst they faffed, and went downstairs after they settled properly. Oh, and set all the clock 15 minutes early- you'll know, but they won't wink

Blu Mon 08-Feb-16 22:00:23

It's fun!
They are creating drama and attention seeking.
I would set up a pasta jar. Sit on the landing. Quite stern, totally ignoring them. The slightest peep and out goes a piece of pasta . After 2 nights the one with most pasta gets a really fabulous cake, or ice cream, or mini Lego . The other gets nothing. If both have empty jars YOU have a fab treat , they get nothing.

But you have to step right outside this game and stop participating by responding. 2am is crazy!

BertieBotts Mon 08-Feb-16 22:20:44

Oh it is wearing.

I remember once I specifically ignored DS when he was about 4 and he was doing the "Mummy. Mummy. Mummyyyyyy? Mummmmyyy! Mummy can I just ask you one thing? I just need to tell you one thing. Mummy, muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmyyyyyyy" (on and on and on)

I ignored him for 25 minutes (I was timing it), during which time he actually told me the thing that he wanted to say (it was something mundane, I've forgotten) but then apparently it wasn't good enough that he'd said it because I didn't respond so he carried on with the "I just need to tell you one thing". After 25 minutes of absolute torture because I am apparently shit at not replying when a question is asked of me, I think I broke and said "GO TO BED" which just made him repeat the same request. ARGH.

But no some practical suggestions which might have helped:
Give a set time where they can do some quiet messing around (but no bothering you) and any coming out during this time is met by instant lights out and the loss of the rest of the quiet time.

A scheme whereby any minutes not asleep (or not pretending to be asleep wink) after lights out are counted and bedtime is earlier by that amount the next night.

Give them each a pass which allows them ONE question/request per night. (You could start with more if you want to wean them down) Explain that this is for anything but once it's used once it's gone.

For the 6yo if he can write - give him a little torch and tell him to write down any burning questions and leave them and you'll promise to look at them and answer in the morning.

Try to pre-empt things like water, inhaler and teddies by putting them in the room or leaving them accessible. Remind every damn night of procedure for toilet - go quietly, don't wake your sister, don't talk to anybody.

Sacrifice an evening to invite DC down to see what's so exciting about a grown up evening. Since they can't sleep they might as well try it. Find the dullest most boring channel, something about stock markets maybe and put it on all night. Don't play any music. Eat some kind of food that they hate. Disallow all talking and giddiness, snacks, toys, anything and make occasional remarks to DH about whatever boring topic you've found on TV.

Story tape/CD allowed to play in bedroom but only if they don't disturb you.

NoCapes Mon 08-Feb-16 22:37:20

Thank you all for the suggestions, and for not telling me to calm down ha
I actually feel a lot better after my angry rant and a little cry

I agree 2am is batshit! And to be fair that hasn't happened for a good 2/3 years, I just really thought my time of sitting on bedroom floors/landings was over I really did

A couple of suggestions we've already tried
They have water and in-halers accessible at all times, and both have a comfort teddy that lives on the bed always, and I make them go to the toilet before we get into bed, they're also asked again if they need it before I leave the room (they never do, but as soon as my arse hits the couch they're buuuurrrrsting hmm )

I've tried giving them a set time to have lights on/read/chat/generally dick about, but they still do it after lights out
I've tried the "it's bedtime I don't care what you do now as long as you don't talk to me/shout to me etc" doesn't work, they still shout down the stairs

If they just weren't going to sleep and were in their rooms being quiet or going to the toilet every now and again I wouldn't care, it's the shouting. And telling me everything, and wanting an 'OK' to everything. "Mum I'm filling my drink up" what the actual fuck are you telling me for?! Just do it!!! thats the part that makes me want to jump out of a window, and I've explained it to them roughly 7373526373948487 times...they just will.not.stop!

I really like the idea of giving them so many passes each night I'm going to try that one
And I also like the 'winner' of the pasta game getting a treat in front of the other one or me getting one if they both lose (although I'd feel so cruel doing this somethings got to be done) so I might try to incorporate that somewhere whilst desperately trying to avoid being back on the landing all night

Thank you all for the suggestions, and sympathy!

Bedsheets4knickers Mon 08-Feb-16 22:40:53

This sounds like an utter nightmare . I would come down hard and nip it in the bud . So lay out your plan . Make sure they have a drink to take to bed they wee/poo and if they dare get up . No TV /Ipad food treats the next day . Off course they will not get it nightt 1-3 but they'll get the gist after a few nights . Don't back down and good luck x

HairySubject Mon 08-Feb-16 22:46:37

My ds does this sometimes too, the only thing that works for him is standing in his room with a stern look and everytime he opens his mouth saying - it is bedtime and if you don't go to sleep I will be cross. Over and over. That is all I will say. If he gets out of bed I put him back in . No other talking. Always the stern look.

WalkingBlind Tue 09-Feb-16 05:05:03

I wouldn't sit in the rooms either if you can help it, stay in yours and tell them they aren't allowed in? The worst they can do is shout outside the door (which is bad enough as it is) but the less of a response they get, the less 'fun' it is to be awake.

I stay in my room next door until DD goes to sleep because if I go downstairs and she hears it, that's her thinking she's missing out on something and suddenly needs the toilet (but HAS to tell me) hmm

If she thinks I'm going to bed as well she doesn't feel like it's as unfair. I'd get a couple of stronger punishments when it gets to ridiculous hours (No sweets at all the next day/week, etc) so they know it's not just a little bit naughty but very very bad.

Hope you get some respite soon flowers

ICJump Tue 09-Feb-16 05:21:20

I've started using I'll come and check in five minutes. I started with one minute and went in and checked gradually building to 5 minutes. On a good night I can say ten minutes and he's asleep by then.
If it's a very tricky night I tend to say I really need you to stay awake until I get to check in on you.

He also has a story tape playing as he goes to sleep.

Granted some nights I do just want to scream for the love of good go to sleep do I can eat chocolate in peace

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 09-Feb-16 06:23:25

Mine are a little bit older but it might be adapted to work. Everytime they emerge now I say 'oh great, you can load the dishwasher/ empty the dishwasher/ clean the table/ tidy bathroom, it will save me from doing it, or of course you could just go straight back to bed.' Haven't managed to extract much help but they have learnt not to come down after bedtime!

Pollyputhtekettleon Wed 10-Feb-16 16:50:24

Firstly, after warning them that you will not respond to any calling....Do not respond! Ever. Total silence. Secondly, proper punishments for being out of bed. Warn them X is being taken away if they get out of bed. Then follow through no matter how painful. Here it's no evening TV. Usually works. Messing about also leads to the threat of all lights off and door being closed. He likes the hall light and bedroom light on and door open. If I turn the hall light off he always complies so I've never had to be so mean as turn off his room light. Be consistent and don't get into any discussions. After the first warning, carry out punishments in silence.

Pollyputhtekettleon Wed 10-Feb-16 16:54:10

It may sound harsh but it's for the good of everyone, not least the kids themselves who once they realise how bedtime works, they can relax knowing the boundary is there and go to sleep! I've never sat in a room, or pandered. As soon as I find myself repeatedly yelling up the stairs responses to crap I stop and say no more....and then I stop responding.

ewbank Wed 10-Feb-16 16:58:25

Oh I'm horrible - bedtime routine, allowed out of bed once each as there's usually a last wee or something which requires getting up, and after that I lose my rag and get cross.

It works. No way am I spending my evening sat on the floor of the bedroom - fuck that!!

SilverGiraffe7 Wed 10-Feb-16 16:59:45

My two youngest were like this. I was at the end of my patience spending every evening sat on the floor in their room.
Then I decided I'd had enough and put a stack of pennies next to each child. Every time they shouted/argued/basically made me come up I took a penny. They didn't like that! At the end of the week they can spend their pennies. It worked very quickly to keep them in bed and not shouting for me!

mathanxiety Thu 11-Feb-16 16:55:18

Why are you sending them to bed at 7?

This seems really early to me. Keep them up til 9 pm. They can engage in quiet reading after they have got into pajamas, brushed teeth, etc,

Do not leave an inhaler in the room with children. Inhaler use should always be supervised by you and the inhaler should be kept out of reach.

gerbo Thu 11-Feb-16 17:34:03

Sorry to hear you're having such a tough time. It's not a major thing but I wouldn't and don't send mine to bed with drinks - perhaps that's why they wee etc so much after goodnights? In our house its no drinks after leaving the dinner table.

We find setting a five min timer after goodnights for quiet reading with lamp/messing with fave toy in bed works. After quiet goodnights from us both, timer on, then dh goes in when it beeps, to turn lights off really quietly.

Marble in the jar works a treat too. Positive reinforcement for good behaviour. If they manage to not call out at all, one big marble. When it's full, treat for everyone. No removing marbles for neg behaviour.

I def agree with the no interaction-no speaking thing too. They want a reaction.

I would sit them down with your dh and explain that you're going to make bedtimes calmer and happier for everyone. Set out your boundaries and the routine. Tell them about five mins and the marble jar. Tell them you will absolutely not be answering any shouts unles they're poorly/sick etc., they're too big for that behaviour now, etc.

Good luck! It's exhausting and I feel for you. Prob a good idea to try to sort it now though before they get older and being shattered at school is affecting them. Have a family meeting when things are calm and happy and lay out your plan. Firm boundaries and lots of positive rewards! All the best!!!!

lookoutitsapiano Thu 11-Feb-16 18:02:08

I know, it's a nightmare. Are they getting enough exercise? I had a problem with my 2nd eldest son when he was about 5/6, and I used to send him out in the garden before bedtime and get him running around for ages playing football or whatever to tire him out blush It worked!!

tattyteddy Thu 11-Feb-16 19:28:06

Oh poor you OP. I was just thinking do the older too play up a little because of the new baby?

I also do the stern look and say we can't do x,y,z if I you don't go to sleep as you'll be too tired.

I also use a gro clock?

RainbowSpiral Thu 11-Feb-16 20:21:24

Mine at that age had bunk beds and shared a room. They occupied themselves hanging duvets off the top bunk to make dens and other cooperative activities. Talking to teddy bears or each other. Playing with torches etc etc.

We ignored all of these bed type activites, but if they re-emerged from the room after 7.30 bedtime we definitely told them off and didn't take any nonsense.

We always had them go to sleep without us being in the room. Even as babies.

Gosh I sound really mean, but they are happy teens now and can get themselves to sleep straight off, but we do now let them stay up after 7.30!

looki Fri 12-Feb-16 00:34:14

I sympathise.

I have the same nonsense going on here. Bed starts at 8ish, then its up and down the stairs until at least 9.30/10pm. I can't get cross because she isn't yet four and gets genuinely upset if I get cross <sobs broken heartedly while repeatedly saying I'm sorry mummy, I just wanted a glass of water/to tell you I love you/>. I'd have to have a heart of stone to ignore said sobbing or want to cause it.

But all of that is before the bed swapping begins. First it is to the spare room as she doesn't like her duvet/curtains/colour of bedroom walls...... Then its to our room. Then its up and down the stairs wondering when I will go to bed. When I go to bed, I'm woken repeatedly with requests for cuddles, water, help with going to the toilet. At this point DH moves to spare room as he has to get up for a very early train. This move results in her wandering from his bed to mine and sometimes back to her own, taking care to wake me to inform me what she is going to bed and to say goodbye as she wanders off.

It is frustrating. Its exhausting. There are nights I don't get a single unbroken hour of sleep. I'm hoping she will grow out of it. Until then I have no idea how to stop it <unhelpful>

Bree85 Fri 12-Feb-16 09:36:13

Yeah, it can be a nightmare, especially with the baby. Maybe they are looking for attentions hehe. So cute of them.

NoCapes Fri 12-Feb-16 10:12:48

Thanks for the replies and flowers for looki sounds like you have it much worse than me

This has been going on since before the baby was born and I was pregnant so not attention seeking because of the baby

mathanxiety they don't go to bed at 7, the 4 year old goes at 7:45/8 then the 6 year old goes at 8/8:15

lookout that is actually a good point about exercise, they probably don't get enough in the winter tbh

VocationalGoat Fri 12-Feb-16 11:08:34

OP you don't need to justify your bedtines at all. 9pm??? That was a silly suggestion. Your bedtimes are absolutely fine. It's a behavioural thing and they'd yank your chain whether you out them to bed at 7 or 9pm. You've got lots of great advice. Just wanted to give you a sympathy hug. I'm up from about 1am onwards with DC3 and I keep telling myself that I really DO love him. grin Lack of sleep is destroying our household.

notagiraffe Fri 12-Feb-16 13:46:44

NoCapes you have my massive sympathy. It's the one aspect of parenting I never nailed. They were just like that for bloody ever. Even now as teens they want tucking in at 10pm just when I finally think I can settle down to watch TV. I don't have any answers. Like you we tried absolutely everything and nothing worked. Eventually they got old enough for us to explain it was 'grown up time' now and that we were tired and needed a rest and would get very ratty if they kept pestering. It didn't stop them (much) but it meant I could legitimately get cross, because they'd been warned.

jessplussomeonenew Fri 12-Feb-16 14:40:47

Can you (or your other half) fit in a bit of one to one time with each child chatting about their day as part of the bedtime routine, "anything else you want to tell me before you go to bed", to help them get things out of their system and feel extra loved up and listened to before you say goodnight?

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