My 2.5 year old DS has recently realised he can get out of bed and is starting to play up at bedtime. Tonight things reached a new level and I could do with some advice or encouragement if the approach I took tonight has worked for anyone else?
We have a longstanding bedtime routine (bath/milk/stories/song). The trouble starts when I leave the room and go downstairs. The first time he got out of his room, I gave him an almighty telling off. That had no effect on him. From then on, I set about ignoring him. Every time he came out of his room, I said nothing and put him back to bed. But this soon became a game and he enjoyed the power of getting me upstairs (he would run straight back to bed once he saw me).
Closing the door had no effect - usually that makes him scream. So I closed the upstairs stairgate and continued to ignore his behaviour, but he became so noisy he woke up my DD (6months).
It wasn't until he bumped himself running around that he calmed down and stayed in his room. I left him crying in there while I settled DD and after a while went in and told him what I'd been saying all along. Go to sleep in your room.
I am so upset about this. On the one hand I am frustrated that telling him off had no effect. I also feel that by ignoring him, I passively allowed him to disrespect me. I don't know what he learned from tonight, or what to expect tomorrow night. Also I am so upset not to have finished bedtime off with a kiss and cuddle as we usually do. I was very stern with him just before he finally got into bed as I did not want to reward his behaviour.
Has anyone been through something similar with a spirited toddler that is fearlessly testing his boundaries? My DH is working a night shift tonight so perhaps if he was home things would have gone differently.