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3yo bedtime tantrums driving me to breaking point

(17 Posts)
catgirl1976 Mon 29-Dec-14 20:37:19

DS is just 3. He's lovely, except for the bedtime battles.

Every, single night he screams and screams and won't go to sleep.

It is horrendous. He's not ill, he has a routine. We've tried later bedtime, earlier bedtime, nap, short nap, no nap, fresh air and exercise before bed. Nothing works.

He has a bath, some warm milk and a couple of stories and he's happy until we leave the room then all hell breaks loose.

We are currently not going back up to him (unless he has had a poo or something that needs us) but I am on night three of listening to him scream and shout and bang toys on his bed and it is killing me.

He knows we are there. If things get really bad we go to his door and tell him we love him but it is time for sleep and we are not coming back in / reading another story / getting him a toy etc.

The screaming has been going on for 40 minutes so far and is likely to go on for another 2 hours. We have no down time and hearing him so upset is incredibly stressful. I am at my wits end. It's putting huge pressure on me and DH.

Wr got him a Dreamlight for Christmas and a little torch and he has a bit of light in his room. I thought the dreamlight would help, but no dice.

Any tiips?

catgirl1976 Mon 29-Dec-14 20:42:51

Just to add, we have talks in the day about how important sleep is, how he is a big boy and how when he goes to bed he has to go to sleep and we won't keep coming up to his room when he shouts.

he's not cold, he's not scared, he's not hungry, he IS tired.

His reasons for screaming are along the lines of wanting another story, wanting a certain toy off his shelf (he could get up and get himself), his sock is naughty or somesuch.

Iggly Mon 29-Dec-14 20:44:28

I sit with my three year old until she falls asleep. Very quick unless she's napped.

I also have a five year old. He tells me to leave the room so it doesn't last forever.

catgirl1976 Mon 29-Dec-14 20:50:15

Thanks Iggly.

I could try that. My fear is that he won't go. If I am there it's "another story" or in and out of his bed like a Jack in a Box. But I'll try it.

This can't go on.

3littlefrogs Mon 29-Dec-14 20:50:27

He is too young to understand the conversation about the importance of sleep.
Start bed time about 30 minutes earlier so that he is not overtired.
One person only to put him to bed - very low key and quiet.Two people is too much stimulation.
Story CDs worked very well with mine at this age. They need to be long and soporific.
Dreamlight might be too stimulating.
He doesn't need a torch - it is something to keep him awake.
Just dim lights and story tape.
One person to sit quietly with him(in the room but but not interacting) for the first few nights, use the gradual withdrawal method.

catgirl1976 Mon 29-Dec-14 20:52:02

I really like the story tape idea. That's genuis. That might just work.

Thank you thanks

3littlefrogs Mon 29-Dec-14 20:52:50

My Dc's all time favourite was "The owl who was afraid of the dark".

A lovely friend of mine (a favourite aunty) recorded some bedtime stories specially for my DC's. They loved them.

merlehaggard Mon 29-Dec-14 20:53:03

My just 4 year old listens to a story cd as he goes to sleep. He has a set but mainly just listens to the smartest giant in town every night. I think he likes the familiarity of it.

catgirl1976 Mon 29-Dec-14 20:55:55

I was just coming back on to ask for recommendations as I've just popped on Amazon and been overwhelmed by how many there are - so thank you all

3littlefrogs Mon 29-Dec-14 20:57:32

My Dc learned to play them quietly if they woke in the night too. smile

Iggly Mon 29-Dec-14 20:58:33

All we do is sit there. Lights go out so with no more stories etc. If dd needs a wee, I take her with no fuss etc etc. She used to mess about but not anymore.

Got to be better than screaming!

My two wouldn't listen to bedtime stories at bedtime. Too stimulating.

3littlefrogs Mon 29-Dec-14 21:00:19

If stories turn out to be too much, try a relaxation CD or very quiet classical music.

merlehaggard Mon 29-Dec-14 21:00:51

Ours is a Julia Donaldson set but mine did also love the owl who was afraid of the dark. My 20 year old still repeats a line from it and finds it funny! Try the book people online though cos they have the Julia Donaldson really well priced. Don't know how much it is in amazon.

3littlefrogs Mon 29-Dec-14 21:01:21

There is a reason lullabies have existed for hundreds of years.

catgirl1976 Mon 29-Dec-14 21:03:04

Ooh! It's only £9.99 on the Bookpeople

merlehaggard Mon 29-Dec-14 21:13:15

But I have also at one time progressed from sitting next to child until they've gone asleep, to sitting by door, then sitting outside door etc.

rhetorician Thu 01-Jan-15 21:10:33

I feel your pain - DP still up with DD2 (also 3) who has always been a pretty good sleeper but has now turned into a demanding, crying, howling monster who drives her parents to drink/divorce.

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