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Bedtime woes - help needed ... PLEASE!!!

Really need some advice if anyone has any on bedtime. Theo has always had a good bedtime routine and generally always gone down with no fuss. In march (aged 22 months) we turned his cot into a bed, hoping to get him used to being in a bed in advance if his baby brother arriving in may and us needing the cot back soon. At first he was fine with this, then just before Owen arrived he started getting out of bed loads in the evening and coming into our room repeatedly for hours every evening. Eventually he'd go to bed and stay there. Weirdly when Owen was born he stopped this and went to bed easily. But the last month he's started this again. He's all playful and trying anything to delay sleep, demanding water (because a second cup of milk is always refused). This is what we've tried:

Ignoring him and waiting til he gets bored and goes to bed on his own. Problem is it tales til like 10pm and he gets over excited and runs around crashing into Owens Moses basket etc

Pretending we've all gone to bed and daddy just leads him back to bed and says goodnight. Minimal interaction, all lights off, everyone in bed. I ignore him in the pretence I'm asleep and daddy just whispers 'sleepy time' when he comes through. Again this takes hours

Naughty corner for coming out his room. Now he comes out and declares naughty corner and goes there himself. He obviously thinks this is more fun than going to bed

Getting into bed with him until be falls asleep.

Sitting in a chair in his room until he falls asleep.

The last few nights he's got himself really upset crying and howling, demanding naughty corner and getting upset when we tell him it's time to come out the naughty corner and go to bed. I've sat in the chair in his room eventually with him in bed until he falls asleep. But now he's also waking up in the night and wanting either "daddy in the bed" (you can appreciate a 6 foot man and a toddler in a cot bed is a bit cramped) or "Theo in the mummy bed".

Don't know what to do. The cheeky playfulness at bedtime was bad enough but the crying is worse!!

Please please HELP!!!! :x


  • You may or may not agree with this, but it is just a suggestion. Have you thought of putting stair gate on his bedroom door?

    My DD is 26 months and she moved into her bed in Feb. We cleared out her room so it only has her bed, one chest of drawers and soft cuddly toys only. so there is nothing she can hurt herself on, or play with in an excitable way at bedtime. We have a stairgate on her door so she can see out (she didn't like having her door shut and we did not want her climbing into our bed at night), she has an ikea pink flower night light (as she does not like falling asleep in the dark).

    She goes to bed amazingly well after milk, a story, teeth brushed and songs. We do the same thing every single night so it is a very clear routine for her. We leave the room and lock the stair gate behind us.

    If she cries we 'super nanny' it - leave it 5 mins, then go in and reassure her, put her back in bed and leave. If she continues to cry we leave it another 5 mins then this time we do not talk to her just lead her back into bed and leave the room. I repeat this as many times as needed - personally I don't like leaving her for longer than 5-10 mins crying. To be honest we never have to do this more than 2 or 3 times and she is in bed asleep or chatting to her teddies.

    I hope this helps, and gives you some tips? It sounds like he just needs to learn how to go to bed, and with all the excitement and changes of new baby arriving he maybe just needs routine and reassurance.

    Our little boy arrived 3 weeks ago and so far my DD has stuck to her bedtime routine. I am very big on routine at bedtimes and i think it works, but I do know some may not agree with me.

    good luck, I hope he settles soon, xxx
  • I was going to suggest the Super Nanny thing.

    When he comes into the living room, just pick him up and put him to bed telling him "bed time, darling", next time, do the same but just say "bed time." Next time do the same but don't say anything. And continue until he's asleep. Also do this if he wakes in the night too.

    I appreciate that this could take a while, and the lack of sleep has got to SUCK while you've got a new baby waking in the night too, but if you stick to it, he should eventually get the message.

    Really hope it works out for you, I can't stand not having enough sleep, and I've only got one child who is 13 months.

  • We've had this kind of thing too with my DD who is now 27 months. She was fine initially when she moved from cot to bed, but then started getting out at nap time and bed time. We tried putting her back, and still do that sometimes, but usually the only thing that works is to close the door. I hate doing it but she then gets back into bed and usually settles in about a minute. I'm hoping it's just a phase. Have no idea how things will go though when the new baby comes, yikes! Hope things get better for you soon.
  • Thanks ladies. We are trying the super nanny approach tonight. Its basically what we've been doing (only after weeks of it not working did we try different approaches). However although there wasn't much interaction, we were talking to him and allowing him to come quite far out the room before leading him back. Tonight I've just put h back in the bed without talking to him at all (after the first 2 times). Stuck to it to the letter. He seems to have finally got the message now after 45 minutes and is in his room. Took A LOT of crying though which broke my heart but if it works then it's better in the long run

  • I can totally sympathise.

    Our son is 22 months old and has previously had a fairly good bedtime routine. Suddenly he wants to lark around, get out of bed, go and look out of his window etc. I have been getting really cross with him both at lunch time nap and bedtime and I know something has to change.

    This is what we are going to do now. Same bedtime routine of bath, story and milk and into bed. Then we are going to leave his room straight away (previously we would sit in a chair and wait for him to go to sleep). His door will be shut and if he decides to get out of bed and play, look out of the window etc. then so be it. He just won't have an audience watching him! We will then go back in 10-15 mins later and put him back in bed before leaving his room again. This will be repeated until he stays in bed and goes to sleep on his own. It worked tonight and by 7pm he was asleep without any intervention on our part, having been put to bed at 6.15pm. He doesn't cry - he just prefers being out of bed until such time as he realises that he is in fact tired so no amount of putting him back in bed works until he has figured it out himself.

    Big changes in this house I can tell you but I guess it is a sign of his own development and understanding of when he is ready for bed rather than when WE are ready for him to go bed! Hopefully it won't be long before we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

  • Maybe letting him choose a new duvet set might be nice as well? He might then be a bit more excited about getting into bed.

    I saw the Supernanny technique, and when we get to that stage will definitely use it. xx
  • Have you tried a reward chart? If he goes to bed nicely and stays in his bed all night he gets a sticker, when he gets five, he gets a treat, new toy, trip to the park etc.?
  • How's it going, Moomin?

    Would love to know how it's going.

  • Hi girls, thanks for all the advice. The supernanny technique has worked a treat, she knows what she's talking about!! The last few nights he's gone to bed with no problems. However he has got up in the night which is a new problem! But we still just take him back in. Think it might be because of the heat though. Xx
  • We had getting up in the night too - and because we were in a flat on one level she used to make it to the sofa and just sit there! But we kept putting her back calmly and eventually she stopped. Glad things have improved for you.
  • Wooohoo, that sounds promising!

    Well done. image

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