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Bedtime: OK, we have made a rod for our own backs, now bedtime is a nightmare and its causing major tension. Is there a softly softly approach i can persuade DP to adopt in order to get DD into bed

(55 Posts)
lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:18:21

more easily!

She is almost 4 and still needs daddy to put her to bed. He has to lay with her and tell stories and play, and this goes on for HOURS.

He usually falls asleep on her bed and we end up with no time alone together EVER.
The only time i get any time on my own with DP is if we stay up til stupid o clock and then end up feeling like shit the next day.

The thing is, i cannot get through to him that this HAS TO CHANGE. DD is going to be starting school in september and a 10pm sleep time is going to cripple her. DP seems to think that her starting school will sort things out.

DD absolutely runs rings around him, if for some reason he is home late and I put her to bed, she tries it on but i can usually have her asleep by eight o clock. So the obvious answer ? I put her to bed? Nup, she absolutely will not have this if daddy is home. She plays up like mad for him, but adores him and its mutual - she is his little princess but how do i get him to realise that he is doing her a huge disservice by allowing this to go on.

Tonight was awful - it ended up with him shouting at ME in front of DD and her in a complete sobbing state.

He absolutely will not do anything like controlled crying - which its too late for anyway, or anything that involves lots of crying and tantrus - even though what he does results in upset pretty much every night because she gets over tired and strung out.

Please help - im at a loss as to how to deal with this. Its like i have to deal with the pair of them. I have been told to just let him get on with it, but for one thing, this is BAD for DD and another - i miss my man.

Lulumama Sat 20-Jun-09 21:20:28

well, the alternative is to let it carry on for a few more weeks, and then when she is falling asleep in the middle of the school day or impossible to get out of bed in the morning and you are all late for school.. he might well take a different slant on things

don't really have any advice, i am of the wee, teeth brushed, into bed, one story and goodnight in less than 20 minutes school of bedtimes!!

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:20:30

Also, i feel guilty that his evenings are so stressful and i basically get to chill out (even though i dont because im stressing about him being stuck up there getting grumpy). When i mention to him about US having time together he tells me not to be so daft.

thisisyesterday Sat 20-Jun-09 21:20:58

oh gosh, poor you. i agree thwt nothing can change unless he is willing to do it, but I have no idea how you can convince him of that.
presumably you've discussed your concerns with him and told him that you want your evenings back?
what is hisresponse if you tell him you'd like to spend time with him?

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:21:29

but lulumama - he wont have to deal with that, I will. And ultimately it will be shit for DD.

thisisyesterday Sat 20-Jun-09 21:21:41

sorry x-posts!

foxinsocks Sat 20-Jun-09 21:22:34

I'd send him out at 8pm every night. Tell him to go and have a pint in the pub.

Then he's not in the house. She can't ask for him. You put her to bed on time.

Lulumama Sat 20-Jun-09 21:23:54

is it partly because it is one of the only times he gets to spend time with DD?

i know if DH is home for bedtime ( rare-ish) it is a much longer, drawn out thing as he is so often not there and it is the only time he might spend with the children for a day or two

you will have to be firm then

really lay the emphasis on it being for DD/s best interests if she is his princess. he would hate to see her too tired in school and suffering, surely?

and play on you two having more time together as a secondary bonus

how many hours does he take to get her to sleeP?

moopymoo Sat 20-Jun-09 21:26:12

think you need to get dh on side first - as lulu says stress the 'its bad for her, she needs routine before she starts school' this is all true btw. our ds2 is the same, we used to have to drive him up and down the road to get to sleep for years, cant believe how he was now. What we did - mixture of bribe, threaten (with telling his teacher at preschool if he was up late) beg, tell him his friend alfie was asleep by now...nothing that is great parenting really but we were desperate and it worked eventually.

swissmiss Sat 20-Jun-09 21:26:53

I found this book really helpful. Good Luck.

SimplyIsATalentedBuzzard Sat 20-Jun-09 21:26:53

How about you going out and doing something of your own whilst he is putting your dd to bed? He might think "Mmmm. She's going for a chat and a cup of tea/glass of wine/drink at her friends/family relations/the pub again and here I am settling dd!" If this has been going on for months or years, I think he'll need a reason (not of his own making) to decide to change things. Do you think that's worth a try?

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:27:35

ive thought about that foxinsocks - trouble is, he doesn't drink!!! arrrggghh!

Ultimately though, what i want is for her to HAPPILY go to bed by herself. Have a couple of six stories (i dont mind reading for a while, neither does dad - we enjoy it) and then lights out and go to sleep. We fucked up right in the begning really - her cot was in our room until this xmas just gone and i would cuddle her to sleep as a baby. Co slept for a while too - nightmare.

DP wants this too - but he doesn't (understandably) want to upset DD in the process. He doesn't think its "worth it" and that it will sort itself out. Well, i slept in my parents bed until i was 11! yes, 11!! and i cannot do this for the next 7 years - it does not just sort itself out, in fact the longer it goes on the more ingrained its going to bedome.

I feel like i am banging my head against a brick wall. We have fallen out tonight so im feeling pretty shit.

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:29:48

Thanks for the book link - i might give that a try.

All your advice is great, ive tried it all - saying to him that its bad for DD, all of it.

Im at my wits end.

Lulumama Sat 20-Jun-09 21:30:14

can you try a system of rewards?

say , for going to bed 15 minutes earlier, she gets a wee treat.

and gradually reduce the amount of time it takes, gradually reduce the stories, etc

will be very hard to go from hours of cuddles and stories to straight to bed in a few minutes

a gradual build up to settling after a quick cuddle and a story will take time

she is old enough to understand things and talk about it

build it up as part of the starting school ;/growing up process

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:30:17

lulumama, it can be anything between 1-3 hours!

thisisyesterday Sat 20-Jun-09 21:30:34

ok, well if he wants it too and is just worried about her being upset then this is do-able.

why not see if you can get him to agree to let you do bedtimes for a week to see if you can change things.
rules are:
he must NOT interfere once you have started (unless you specifically ask him to)

you must both present a united front and tell DD that YOU will be doing bedtime, even if daddy is there.

you have to stick with it and do each night for the whole week

plimple Sat 20-Jun-09 21:30:39

I'd be tempted to sneak out myself if he's occupied with her til 10pm. You could go to a gym, see friends, it'd be great! He'll get jealous and get her to bed quicker. If he doesn't, you still have fun and probably all will be well come September. He's probably thinking he's making the most of his time before she goes to school.
We spend between 10 and 40 mins putting to bed depending on how tired I am!

Lulumama Sat 20-Jun-09 21:30:53

but if is it partly becuase it is one of the few times he gets to spend time with DD he might be reluctant to reduce the time

need to find the time elsewhere if that is the case

Lulumama Sat 20-Jun-09 21:31:48

1 - 3 hours?????

i can see why you are going up the wall

or you could try the cold turkey /rapid return method.

you have a few weeks yet until school.

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:34:51

he wants to reduce the time, he is getting really stressed about it. He does often get home late - 6 or later and of course they want time togehther. Im happy for bed time to be 8pm but not much later than this because she is tetchy the next day.

Trouble is, he is one of those annoying twunts who just WILL NOT BE TOLD!! He used to watch supernanny and berate all the parents - NOW because it hits a sore spot, he says its a load of shit and who the hell does she think she is . Yeah, its pants most of it, but some of the techniques WORK.

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:35:30

lulumama - you are such a sage have you considered writing a book?

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:36:40

Im now considering going to the offy (I never do this) I can still here him cajoling her into sleep - can he not realise that he FECKING KEEPING HER AWAKE!

lucyellensmumisgreat Sat 20-Jun-09 21:38:25

I have to say this though - made me LOL into my hands to muffle it. I did get roped in tonight whilst DP came downstairs - she was having none of it, so i was "right, im going downstairs and daddy isnt coming back up" something like that.

I went and stood outside her door. This is what i heard "Nows my chance, im going to get daddy!" Honestly!! shes only 3 - who says children can't be devious.

foxinsocks Sat 20-Jun-09 21:40:55

while you are in a bad mood

tell him he is being a big baby and acting about the same age as she is

is he ok about spending time with you? I mean he's not using it as an excuse is he?

fishie Sat 20-Jun-09 21:42:53

lem i have had a similar problem. you are going to have to take over bedtime.

get new books that only you read and make them good ones. new bedclothes, nighty, whatever to make mummy bedtime attractive.

dh can clean kitchen / do ironing / cook while you get on with it. initially he can eat cake or something to fill his emotional void.

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