My son's always been a good sleeper. But since he started school last year it's been getting progressively worse. It's like trying to put a bouncy ball to bed. No sooner is he in bed than he's back out again and is thirsty / scared / wanting to chat about a life-changing topic, etc. And it's driving me bonkers. Last night it was 10.30pm before he finally fell asleep, and tonight's not looking too clever. And I'm having to wake him every morning for school. Have just been really shouty at him and now feeling the guilt. Can someone please tell me that this is temporary???
There's a technique called "back to bed" that will probably help.
It's about setting very firm, right boundaries. Planning ahead with ours of warning and count downs. Then not accepting any boundary pushing.
So, for example, create a simple mantra that covers your expectations: "sleep time now. We lie quietly in bed to sleep. Nan night"
The expectations therefore are: He will stay in bed He will lie down He will not make any noise
You can't force him to sleep. But you can enforce rules that say he has to lie silently in bed (being bored) all night, awake if he wants. But he'll soon give in and accept he has no other options to go to sleep.
So then setting expectations. Give constant reminders of what happens now, what happens next and what you expect. Like "we have a wee now so that when you are in bed, you won't need a wee". "Here is your water. You won't get any more than that. If you drink it all, there will be no more"
Then at bedtime, constantly reaffirm the mantra. Any time he makes a no use, repeat mantra and resettle him in bed. Any time he gets up, return to bed, repeat mantra, resettle. Any time he sits up, repeat mantra.
Don't engage in conversation. Don't accept any demands. Keep your expectations really tight.