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4 year old keeps getting out of bed & coming downstairs

(9 Posts)
max4 Mon 18-Jul-05 10:45:08

I am going crazy. My 4 yr old who has always been a really good settler has become a nightmare. After the usual routine of bath & stories he is allowed to stay in his room with his light on & read his book by himself. He then is supposed to turn his light out at 8pm. Then the fun begins & I get every excuse - I'm hungry, I need a poo (& he always does!), & he's up & down the stairs for 1 - 1 1/2 hours every night, with various excuses. I lock his door & he goes mad, pulling it so hard it sounds like it's going to come off its hinges. I got so wound up the other night that I smacked him which if I'm honest I did because I lost control, I was so wound up & exhausted.

Have other people gone through this??

Help please.

lilaclotus Mon 18-Jul-05 10:48:44

i have gone through the excuses etc, but dd (4) never actually got out of bed/came downstairs. she just cries. we found stickers helped along with being prepared. a cup of water by her bed, well fed before bed, been to the toilet,... it helps to know that she has eaten, so the likeliness of her being hungry was small, so we knew it was an excuse iyswim.

expatinscotland Mon 18-Jul-05 10:49:27

Yep. My dad had the perfect solution to this. We grew up Catholic. So if we got out of bed more than once, he reckoned that if we were that awake, what better time to pray or read the Bible?

He would bring up a Rosary for each child. And once he got started, we couldn't dare disrepect the Holy Virgin by not finishing. So we'd have to stay up for the entire thing - and pray it together. If we were still awake at the end, he'd start on litanies.

Want another story? The Bible is full of them. He'd even have us read them aloud. Or memorise passages from it.

Believe you me, after two or three times, we learned to amuse ourselves in our beds if we weren't sleepy.

hunkermunker Mon 18-Jul-05 11:14:38

EPIS, is it wrong of me to pretend I'm Catholic if DS starts doing this? I'll burn, right?

expatinscotland Mon 18-Jul-05 11:20:47

Doubt it, hunker. The Bible is for everyone!

Dad's techniques were so effective, my sister used them on her two daughters, now 8 and 10, and to this day they stay in their rooms after lights out, even though she can sometimes see the light of a torch under a bedcover eminating from behind the door.

Satine Mon 18-Jul-05 11:21:54

That's the best story I've read on mn in ages!

sandyballs Mon 18-Jul-05 11:27:41

Max4 - I could have written your post myself. I'm sitting at work this morning feeling terribly guilty for smacking my 4 year old last night for coming downstairs endless times, with similar excuses to yours. It's very wearing and tiring at a time when you just want to relax and have a bit of child-free time. I think the hot weather is a big part of my DDs sleep problems at the moment and hope she will settle down when the weather cools a bit. In the meantime we have to try and stay calm - very difficult!

max4 Mon 18-Jul-05 11:39:11

Sandyballs - thanks you have made me feel better, & I do think that the hot weather has something to do with it.

Miaou Mon 18-Jul-05 11:45:39

Dd2 has a habit of doing this, so we try to "head off" as many as possible of the excuses before she goes to bed - she goes to the loo, has a drink, a snack if necessary, says goodnight etc. The only reason she is allowed out of bed after bedtime is to go to the loo, and she is not allowed to come in and speak to us. She is 6 so old enough to sort out her own covers if they fall off. She occasionally comes down to say a noise is/was keeping her awake or she's got an itch, to which she usually gets "there's nothing we can do, go back to bed". The trick, we have found, is not to engage in conversation with her - just sort her out, turn her round and put her back. Once she realises she is not getting attention then she gives up.

On the very rare occasion that she does need us (like last week when we discovered she had worms!!!!!), her face says it all - big difference between "I want attention" and "I need you" .

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