MrsW - luckily it's not something I have to resort to very often with ds but when I do it's if he's deliberately mucking about & it just seems to let him know 'That's it. Mummy's patience has run out!' Can't complain he's really good most of the time.
I have watched that nanny program where she comes to the house to sort out bad kids. There was one little girl that would not stay in bed. The parents had to be strong, and each time she got out of bed, just take them back to bed and shut/lock the door and explain that as long as she stays in bed we will reopen the door. It took over an hour on the first night but over a few days that little girl was goinng to bed like an angel! But its imortant to remain consistent with the same bed time/routine. I have had to be strong with my daughter whos 19 months cos she wouldn't sleep through and woke up six times per night for a bottle. I just ignored her one day and was firm about it, and after four nights she was sleeping through. Be strong, be firm.
(My dd sometimes runs back to bed screaming. Precisely the effect I sought,heh heh.
My sister has two 'difficult' sleeper,both under 4. Without belittling the problem,dh and I were amazed at the palaver when she came to stay last week!
By the second night,she had worked out this set up; travelcot plus extra bed on the floor for the youngest,in case he didn't settle with her in a glorious king sized bed (her dh wasn't with her).The other child also had a bed on the floor in case the king sized didn't suit. This arrangement involved nearly all my spare duvets,bedding and cushions. Furthermore,she had also triend them both out in my daughter's king sized bed.......
'Just put them to bed and shut the bloody door' I said. Obviously,we then had a row.
tire them out in the day (take them for 4 mile hikes) restrict day-time naps, make them stay in their rooms even if they can't sleep. DD is an insomniac like me and can spend 1-2 hours or more babbling and role-playing with her animals in her room before she finally goes to sleep.
I feel bad because and sometimes let her out so she can have some 1-to1 time with me, but mostly she needs that 1-1.5 hours of very quiet non-interactive time just to wind down.