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What would you do with 3yo bedtime tantrums?

(5 Posts)
jinglesticks Thu 27-Dec-12 20:32:03

Dd has just started to have tantrums at bedtime every night. The normal routine is that she has 2 stories and then goes to sleep and this has been working really well for ages. But recently she has been demanding another story and screaming when we say no. She makes it clear she will do this, she says "tonight I'm going to shout and cry if you don't read me three stories" and the she has a tantrum when we refuse. Sometimes we give in. She says "I promise that if you tell me one more story I will go straight to sleep" and sometimes she does, but more often she demands yet another story with the threat of crying if we don't. We have tried rewarding her if bedtime is good, but this doesn't improve things. We have tried leaving her to cry and a couple of times this has worked, but she usually ends up screaming hysterically and we give in.

Any advice please, we are dreading bedtime and don't know what to do. Is there no alternative but to cry it out?

We have just had another baby, who is now a month old, so we initially felt that her demands for some extra attention were justified, but we can't really give in to a tantrum, can we?

DontYouJingleMyChristingle Thu 27-Dec-12 20:45:31

The problem is now you have given in she knows her tactic works. You are going to have to tough it out to some extent.

I would put her to bed half an hour earlier as part of it could be tiredness, then stick to the agreed two stories and don't give in. Give her lots of cuddles and reassurance before leaving her.

We do 3 stories then dd1 (3.5) listens to an audiobook, you can download some classics for free online.

Also make time during your baby's naps for one on one time. I have a baby (10 month old) and find dd1 responds better when I do this.

birdsnotbees Thu 27-Dec-12 20:48:52

You need to be consistent which I know is hard esp with a new baby. But you've bent the rules more than once & so she quite rightly thinks if she kicks up you'll do it again. Tough it out but bear in mind it'll be worth it in the long run. They all like to test boundaries god love 'em.... Good luck.

blondietinsellyminx Thu 27-Dec-12 20:53:41

Oh goodness, threenagers are hard work sometimes aren't they!

It sounds as though she needs clear boundaries/expectations in place. If her strategy of threatening and then having a tantrum is working for her, then it's worth her repeating it... The fact it's bedtime and all of you are tired is probably making it easier for her to push your buttons!

Sometimes kids like to push against the wall to check it won't fall down.

If I were you I would do a sticker chart for going to bed nicely (sticker to be done first thing each morning).

As you get her out of the bath say "we'll be having 2 stories then straight to bed like a good girl - which stories would you like?" of she threatens a strop just repeat "darling we'll have 2 stories, then bedtime" and be a broken record. After the 2 stories tuck her up. She may well cry/cry louder - its hard for her not to have her own way! After 3 nights there will be less grizzling and after 5 she should be just getting in bed nicely for you! Get your partner onside with the plan too, so you present a united front to your DD.

I got this from the library and it has some v helpful strategies in there!

Let us know how you get on? Good luck smile

jinglesticks Fri 28-Dec-12 10:11:24

Thanks for the advice, I think we will make a sticker chart today. What I was wondering is what to actually DO when she's tantrumming. Would you just shut the door and leave her to scream? Would you keep going in to reassure her?

Thanks again

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