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bed time with a four year old - help!!

(8 Posts)
lovemybabes Tue 16-Sep-08 22:48:35

hi there,
have tried so many things with my four year old but still can't get him to go to bed, let alone sleep.
he has a bath, stories, a lights-out cuddle... but then gets up a million times.
i won't manhandle him into bed - he's big and also screams blue murder if i do. but threatening to remove privileges the next day (and carrying through with this) doesn't work. and i can't snuggle with him until he falls asleep because i have dd now 9 months.
i was just getting the hang of his bedtime but then had dd, who also doesn't seem to need to sleep much at all - and now with the two of them, unless dh is home early enough to take one of them, ds is often still awake at ten.
perhaps i got his hopes up by introducing a big bedtime routine (often staying until he fell asleep) before dd, which i now can't sustain... in any case, i need to do something as he's just started school and will get overtired.
short of locking him in his room i am lost for ideas...
any tips much appreciated. it seems such an obvious question, but i can't get my head around bedtime with two children, even though i find it pretty straightforward managing the two of them in the daytime. i love my days with them but can't stand the evening shenanigans and feel guilty that ds isn't getting settled properly.
thanks ladies.

bobsyouruncle Wed 17-Sep-08 18:29:45

sounds like he's used to you staying with him to go to sleep and now can't get to sleep without you there. My ds is like this too (also 4), if me or dh doesn't stay with him he keeps getting up out of bed, but if we stay he goes off really quickly. So although I know I shouldn't, I do it for easiness blush Hoping he grows out of it, as I'm crap at dealing with bedtime battles! Having said all that, I have an older dd who is happy to go to bed and not a 9 month old baby like you, that must be difficult. Sorry not being much help! What about a story cd to listen to in bed until he drops off? I thought about doing this for ds, saw a fireman sam one the other day. Not sure if it would work though tbh, he may just listen to it then get up again! I'm sure someone else will have better advice than me.

lovemybabes Wed 17-Sep-08 20:29:14

no that's great advice actually. hope it wouldn't lead down the road to tv in his room, but it sounds worth a shot putting a cd on. cos i hate all this 'back to your room...' battle time as it's really my fault that i got him into the routine of having me there in the first place.

slayerette Wed 17-Sep-08 20:37:07

For what it's worth, although you say you hate it, the supernanny back to bed routine really does seem to work. You just have to be willing to persevere with it for a couple of nights and to be absolutely consistent with the routine. I think the first time the child gets up, she tells them that it's bedtime and puts them back - no cuddles or kisses. The same the second time. Then no talking at all, just repeatedly, calmly returning the child to the bed and leaving the room. Repeat until child falls asleep through sheer exhaustion!

She says that otherwise, children learn that getting up = rewards even if it's the 'reward' of negative attention - they still seek it. Once they realise that getting up just results in this really dull routine they stop doing it!

TheBlonde Wed 17-Sep-08 20:41:31

My 3.5 year old would prefer me there while he goes to sleep
I now leave him with a book and say that I am going downstairs to have a cup of tea and I will be back. I often had to go back up and read more stories but now he's mostly asleep by the time I've had my cuppa

Smee Thu 18-Sep-08 10:42:24

If he's a livewire, don't put a story cd on as he'll listen to the story and it'll keep him awake. Tell him as he's so big he can have some music on to listen to - put on some adult music - not kid's stuff. We have half a dozen CD's he can choose from, though obviously make sure they're not too funky! Put it on v.low, so low that he has to lie still to be able to hear it. Tell him if he gets out of bed you'll have to switch it off. Works like a dream with my son. He nods off listening to it.

Chooster Thu 18-Sep-08 11:55:15

Hi, I do what bobsyouruncle says and have put a CD player in my DS1's room (he's 4 too). When DS2 came along I need a good bit of time to bf him and get him to bed. And a CD story really helped. Just be careful which stories you choose and have a listen first to make sure there aren't any loud crashes / bangs in there! smile. It kept him in bed and was sometimes asleep by the time I got in there. If he was still awake I always went back in to see him though to read him a last story and he seemed to like the routine. Now I sometimes tuck him up in my bed to watch TV while I put DS2 to bed and he loves that!

slayerette Thu 18-Sep-08 19:18:56

Fantastic bedtime CD recommendation: Alan Bennett reading Winnie the Pooh! He has a great bedtime voice and the stories are so gentle.

Steer clear of Miranda Richardson reading Horrid Henry, however - fabulous CDs but not for bedtime!

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