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I can't get my 7 year old to bed before 10 - losing the plot

(48 Posts)
everymummy Tue 17-Jan-17 22:05:12

Hi all, over the xmas holidays we slacked a bit on bedtimes, letting DS stay up and go to bed quite late - also meaning he woke up quite late too, which worked for everyone.

Term started and I cannot, cannot, cannot get his bedtime back to normal. I'm tearing my hair out. I'm starting a bedtime routine with a bath, then a story, which is all fine but he's not tired at all, so he starts asking to be allowed to do some drawing in his room, then he's hungry again and wants a snack, then he's not sleepy and if I'd just read him another story or let him listen to an audio book.... on and on it goes. I know I should be saying no but he won't stay in his room and I just run out of ideas/strength/will to live etc.

He's waking up at 8, which gives us just enough time to get ready for school - his teacher says he is tired and yawning at her. Should I wake him up earlier so he's more tired (perhaps I could do this at the weekend?) or try some exhausting activity like swimming in the evenings?

Someone has to help me get my bear to bed

BitOutOfPractice Tue 17-Jan-17 22:23:37

Erm, say no to all these requests. Ignore them. Just send him back to bed every time he gets up. Minimal interaction.

And yes of course you should be waking him earlier.

You're really letting him sleep in and stress you all out on s school morning? That's just bonkers.

BathshebaDarkstone Tue 17-Jan-17 22:29:51

Wake him up at 6. After he's in bed only come out for the loo, if he comes and talks to you, say night night, it's bedtime.

Reality16 Tue 17-Jan-17 22:32:17

Yeah just send him back to bed

Dinnerout1 Tue 17-Jan-17 22:32:21

Super Nanny is good to watch on YouTube, it helped me with 2 children who didn't want to sleep when lights were out. I did the same like you... they had tea, had baths, had loads of stories and as soon as my back was turned and walked out they were up out of bed! I didn't know how to sort it out and was thoroughly tired myself all the time because I needed a rest aswell. I watched her programmes the American and UK versions.. It helped me a lot and within 1 week of pure persistence I had both kids in bed and not getting out of bed when I turned the light out. The trick is.. Give them a story.. It doesn't have to be the longest of stories, kiss them goodnight, turn your back and walk out of the door before turning the light out. Your son will get up, so without any expression on your face, you put him back to bed. Do not say anything to him. Lay him down on his bed, put cover over him, walk away, turn the light out. He will get up again and again and again and it probably will carry on for a couple of hours. Rest assured after you hear him cry and stamp his feet or throw a toy off the shelf etc you still have to be quiet. I did this for 4 nights couple of hours each night then the final 5 th night my DDs pleaded for the door to be slightly open so they could see the light in the bathroom which I kept on for them. Every night after that week all is good in the hood! It is hard to hear your children cry and scream but you must not give in. They want you to give in but really they are tired they just need a little more persuasion. Once he knows there is no 'staying up playing and no messing' he will learn. Try it, it worked for me and I have never looked back since. Just remember do not say a word to him, keep face straight, no expression. He will know you mean business. He will try and hug you, kiss you, kick you, etc.. Don't give in just do the routine I have typed to you and see how it works. Takes about a week. Good luck x

Reality16 Tue 17-Jan-17 22:33:58

I don't think you need supernanny tactics for a 7 year old. They are capable of understanding much more than toddlers.

Wolfiefan Tue 17-Jan-17 22:34:53

Yep. You should be saying no. To all requests. It's bedtime. It's bedtime. Repeat and repeat and repeat.
And hell yeah wake him earlier.

Babymamamama Tue 17-Jan-17 22:46:30

I agree with other posters he needs his body clock resetting completely so wake him at six every morning until this happens. And you are being far too nice about the extra food etc. Good luck you're going to have to get tough.

Justmuddlingalong Tue 17-Jan-17 22:54:22

A few mornings getting up earlier should have him ready to sleep at a decent time. He's playing you.

Amammi Tue 17-Jan-17 23:03:12

Many years ago when mine were small we went through this. My wise parents told me to make being still up awful - no telly on, turn off the heat, start a horrible housekeeping job which anyone still awake after 8.30 had to join in - funny enough they all legged it back to their rooms after the 1st night!

eddiemairswife Tue 17-Jan-17 23:15:04

You've got to be firm. Get cross with him if he comes downstairs asking for drinks and stories. He is old enough to understand that bedtime is bedtime. And, yes get him up earlier in the morning.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 18-Jan-17 04:17:31

A snack late in the evening will only shoot his blood sugar way up which will prevent him from wanting to sleep. I think you need to get firm and send him to bed at normal time. He will adjust.

Dinnerout1 Wed 18-Jan-17 06:45:33

My kids were both 7! And it did work for me.

steppemum Wed 18-Jan-17 08:35:20

The thing is, 10 pm until 8 am is 10 hours sleep, which is probably enough for many 7 year olds, so if you want him to go to sleep ear;ier, you will need to change the wake up time.

Agree with PP that there is nothing after bedtime, just return to bed. Again and again and again.

Crumbs1 Wed 18-Jan-17 08:45:12

The answers are already here. Why would you give a child snacks after bedtime? What about their teeth, let alone their sleep? " Goodnight" then nothing else until the alarm clock at 7am

everymummy Wed 18-Jan-17 11:41:35

Thanks for your posts. I do see I am not being tough or clear enough with him. I agree with steppemum that he is getting his 10 hours and so we will have to do cold turkey with an earlier wake-up. I kind of knew this but it's hard to achieve with school.

He is big and strong, so I don't really want it to come down to me wrestling him into his room. He has a high sleeper so I can't physically get him into it unless he's cooperating.

I've taken on board the ridiculousness of late snacks and will introduce a cut-off time.

minipie Wed 18-Jan-17 12:08:59

I agree with earlier wake up but would probably stage it a bit, so wake him at 7.15 for a week then 6.30 for a week then 6. With a staged earlier bedtime to match obviously. I think if you do it all at once, so he goes to sleep at 10 one day and then you wake him at 6 the next (8 hrs sleep), he will be knackered and maybe overtired by 8 and will resist/struggle to go to sleep then. This would be the case for my DD definitely. Mind you my DC are younger so maybe a 7 year old would cope better with the sudden change.

Artandco Wed 18-Jan-17 12:12:10

10-8am is fine for a 7 year old though isn't it?

balence49 Wed 18-Jan-17 13:23:06

I can not get my head around parents who can't/won't get them in to bed. Tell them that kids go to bed at 7pm or whatever time you deem suitable. Then send them off to bed. Any messing and unless their head is going to drop off/ the house is burning down I really do not wish to know until tomorrow. Drink of water in room, when it's gone it's gone. Parents need some time that's not revolving around them.
You are the parent, you don't have to be their friend, they don't have to like every decision you make.

Lemon12345 Wed 18-Jan-17 13:56:24

I was thinking along the same lines as minipie. When I've knackered my own sleep cycle I find it easier to manage small changes so getting up 30 mins earlier a day for a few days rather than 2 hours less sleep for one day. I'm a completely crazy bitch without enough sleep, so come tea time the following day on 2 hours less sleep I would be as likely to roast my husbands head as a chicken...

And take this on board for future. He sounds like me, once he has a new (later) sleep pattern it's a pain to get it back on track so do everything possible in future to not let it change. I hate it when the clocks change!

MERLYPUSSEDOFF Wed 18-Jan-17 14:19:53

Quit screen time early - tv and ipad etc, at least 40 mins before up to bed starts.

Have you tried putting him in bed 1 1/2 hour earlier saying he can read for 20 mins then lights out? Stretch it earlier until you are happy that he will be light out at the desired time.

Ignore him if he says he is hungry (remind him at tea that there will be no snacks) and if he's thirsty he can have water bought up to him in a beaker, finished and taken away with little interaction. Hopefully he will get bored. Wake him earlier (we did with our 2 that had fallen off track and by day 2 DT1 was asking to go to bed and if he really had to read.)

everymummy Wed 18-Jan-17 16:25:41

Thanks everyone. I think he finds it hard to get to sleep (as I did at his age - my doctor had me on temazepam at 12, but that was the 70's) because on several occasions he has been in his room at bedtime in the dark lying down for over an hour without going to sleep. I know he's not doing anything else because I can see into his room.

I tried to get him to sleep half an hour earlier last night but failed because he heard DH come home and wanted to see him.

waterrat Wed 18-Jan-17 19:53:10

He is probably an hour or so short of sleep sleeping 10 til 8 isn't he?

How about making sure there is a post school run around or swim to help get bedtime bavk a bit? They have a pretty sedentary day and in winter I think kids probably don't get enough running around time.

juliascurr Wed 18-Jan-17 20:10:35

from experience; move waking up/bed time by 15 mins at a time, it works much easier and better

sweet dreams

everymummy Wed 18-Jan-17 20:26:32

He had forest school today so was running around in the cold all day, camp fire and hot chocolate, then a long play outside after school. It's half eight now and he is drawing on our bed. I'm trying to wind it up.

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