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Can anyone help before I go insane?

(5 Posts)
FlibbertyGibbets Mon 15-Jun-15 21:32:49

I have a 3.5yo DD and a 13mo DS, and bedtimes are killing me.

DD is always trying to find a way to prolong the whole affair - running off when getting into pyjamas, 'having' to finish some inane task, spending 20 minutes picking stories, that kind of thing. These are all accompanied with screaming tantrums if I try to speed up process in any way, which makes the whole affair last twice as long. It takes 1 - 1.5hrs from start of bedtime to falling asleep.

DS has his own issues! I fed him to sleep for a year (I was happy to!), but he abruptly weaned himself recently. It is taking 3 hours to settle him every night. He cries, or he pinches me, or he pulls my hair whilst giggling. He howls his head off if I put him in his cot.

Bedtime follows a classic ritual - milk, bath, pyjamas, stories. Nominally bedtime is 7 (getting in bath at 6.30, pyjamas at 7), but DD is falling asleep after 8 and DS at 9.30. I work, so have to be in bed / get up early - in the evenings I come home, do bedtime from hell, eat tea then fall asleep on sofa. DH works evenings so I am usually doing this on my own.

I'm bored, lonely, hungry and pissed off. sad This has rather turned into a rant, so thank you for reading so far! If anyone has any advice, it would be gratefully received!

FATEdestiny Mon 15-Jun-15 22:20:50

You need to get strict with your DD.

Spend some time planning bedtime so that it cannot be prolonged. Select PJs and have them laid out ready. Get DD to pick her bedtime story before dinner time and lay it with PJs.

Start planning and warning about bedtime from ages beforehand, giving plenty of 'we are going to do this, then that, then it will be bathtime, story, bedtime. Do minute at a time warnings from 6.20pm ready for bathtime so that all inane tasks are finished.

Then once bedtime routine starts, I would be all military precision. Be very clear about what the routine will be. Constantly giving routine prompts: "Now we are doing this, next we will do that, then we will be doing this. What is happening next DD?".

FlibbertyGibbets Mon 15-Jun-15 22:41:53

Thank you so much for responding!

I am stricter than I sound in my OP - bedtime is announced at 6.15 (15 minutes after I get in from work), along with the cup of milk, pyjamas are always picked and laid out by me as the bath is running. Then it's bath, pyjamas on my bed, teeth, cups of water, stories.

Any faff is met with a "DD, I have asked you to do x. I'm going to count to 3, and I want you to do as I ask." I am doing this 5+ times each evening.

I will see if DH could maybe pick out the bedtime stories with her before he goes to work. And maybe he could do a trial run of how bedtime is supposed to be with her & her dolls (oooo he hates role playing grin ) Good idea about prompts - I guess I know the routine but she should tell me what it should be.

CrystalViolet Wed 17-Jun-15 10:51:20

We have had similar problems. I have had some success with the use of a "Visual Timer" it's just an app that shows a clockface and reveals a picture (lots of toddler friendly pics to choose from - ducks, fish, cars etc). you can set the timer for however long you like.

We use this to make a game out of bedtime, so it's "quick, get 'jamas on before you can see all of the truck!" she does get a bit giddy but there's no shouting and less stress. It's not perfect but it's reduced bedtime from 1 hour plus of horrendous faffing and shouty mummy down to less than 30 mins on a good night.

The timer has also been useful for getting dressed first thing too. I think it's something about it being an external source that's telling them what to do - I am no longer the bad guy. We do a victory dance of we "beat" the timer.

Honoroaky Thu 18-Jun-15 02:41:41

We used a sticker chart with my daughter who is around the same age. We had a similar problem except it was with getting ready in the morning for nursery. We made a (short) list of things she had to do to get ready and for each one she got a sticker each morning, so one for teeth brushing, one for hair brushing and so on. Initially she still required a certain amount of 'encouragement' but eventually she was doing the tasks quickly.
If she got all (or most) of the stickers at the end of the week she got a small gift, sometimes an ice cream or maybe a small toy she liked. We don't use it anymore because the tasks have become easier and she knows what has to be done each morning.
Might this work for bedtime?

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