Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Bedtime battles

Alex generally has always been OK at going to bed, a few teething problems when he first made the move from cot to toddler bed and the odd night here and there where it hasn't gone 'to plan', but you expect that, but all of a sudden things have changed...

Since we got back off our holiday in August we have had problems and they seem to be getting worse rather than better. On holiday he didn't sleep well, he never does in other places, mainly because he never really stays over anywhere with all our family living close by-this meant him sleeping in with us a little bit to settle him or when he woke in the night scared. We paid for this when we got back as we had many nights of him sneaking into our bed and me and James being so tired we fell back to sleep and then before we knew it was dawn and too risky to move him! Also having late nights on holiday meant about 2 weeks of getting him back into a routine to a normal bedtime! It was then OK for a week or so apart from the odd night where he tried to get in and I sent him packing!

The last few weeks however, have been awful, we have been having 45min-hour long battles with him at getting him to bed. As soon as Pj's are mentioned he starts acting up, runs away, falls to floor and goes all heavy like toddlers like to do when they don't get their own way! Once we have him washed and dressed we head off to his room for 2 stories unless it's late/a long book, only some days he refuses a book, so we say goodnight give him a kiss and cuddle etc and head out.

Let the battle commence!

He then kicks off, shouting about wanting a story (we've often given him many chances beforehand), we try not to give in.

He wants his drink-we give him one. He then comes out of room to put it in the lounge (which is next to his room) and then shouts for his drink again x10.

He wants his door open/shut, whichever you do it's always the opposite.

He wants nightlight on/off-again always the opposite to what you do.

He shouts for kisses and cuddles.

The nights where James is out a work I find the hardest, especially being 6 1/2 months pregnant and Alex being heavy and very strong I find it very difficult to lift him. The last week it has pretty much been every night, I have not seen any link the last few weeks of it happening when James is out at work, after bath/non bath night, after busy/quiet days. The only thing I can think of is that it seems to have got worse since the light has got darker earlier.

I am at my wits end though as have tried different techniques/no technique what so ever on nights I really don't have the energy. So any tips would be gratefully received if you have any.

I was quite glad when James saw Alex on one of his really bad nights, as I don't think he had quite realised how far Alex would go to try and get out of going to bed!

I have never had the most patience, and seem to have even less of it whilst pregnant, and I am not proud but have shouted at Alex very close to his face the last couple of nights, and have felt so guilty about it afterwards. Tonight I got really upset about it, and when I came out of the bathroom I heard a little voice saying "I'm sorry mummy" I went in and gave him a big cuddle, we had both cried and both felt bad, we had a cuddle and a kiss, and he went straight to sleep. He went straight down after doing this the other day too, but obviously I don't want to make a habit out of shouting at him like that-I really don't like myself after.

  Has any one else had bedroom battles with their toddler after much success previously? I really hope this stops long before baby comes along!


  1. Oh I really feel for you, kids can really test your patience can't they? We had a few similar bedtime problems with my son when his sister was born and ended up putting the safety gate on his bedroom door and ignoring him! Sounds harsh when you say it like that but he wasn't upset by it and quickly came to terms with the fact we wouldn't stand for his messing about. Hope you can find something that works and he settles down before baby arrives xx

    1. They certainly can, I see it becoming a problem when baby is born to be honest, thanks for the advice about the stair gate, not something I had thought of but could be a good shout! x

  2. Oh honey, you have my sympathy. At the end of a long day, when you're tired, you just want them to go to bed easily. Our problem at the moment is a refusal to get in the bath...there's always something!

    Echoing the comments of Debra above, we also used a stairgate. Alternatively, you could try the rapid return method. After a couple of 'get up's' you then just walk into the room and silently put him back to bed avoiding eye contact and leaving the room again. If he realises that there isn't going to be engagement, he'll soon get bored of messing around.

    The other thought is to try and find some books to read about going to bed like a good boy. We used the 'night night' book with Pip. Alex might be a bit old for it, but it was quite good in terms of setting out the night time routine and showing the boy being good and going to bed like a good boy.

    Good luck. I do hope things improve. x

    1. Oh no, hope his bath time refusals stop soon too! Like you say there is always something!
      I have tried the rapid return method...unfortunately this leads to much longer battles, maybe I just need to really persevere!

      Will have a look at some books, thanks for that. x

  3. We've had our fair share of bedtime battles, my son is pretty good at the moment but he goes through good and bad patches! I do sympathise, it's such hard work, especially when you are desperate for some quite evening time and it eats into it. We use the sleep fairy and we have a sticker chart, if he goes to bed nicely, sleeps through and stays until the sun comes up on his clock he gets a sticker. It actually seems to work quite well. We've also done the rapid return method in the past when he was younger which has worked. If you don't have a sleep training clock it might be worth trying one, we have a Groclock and it's brilliant.

    1. I did see your post the other day and thought how little this must seem in comparison! Thanks for the tips! x


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