My son, 2 1/2, is SUPER DUPER active. When I was helping him to sleep (for his whole life before new baby was born) I actually had to physically hold him in bed or else he'd crawl out lickety split, run around the room, jump on the bed, crawl under the bed, thrash about, kick the walls, throw his stuffed animals around, hide under the covers, etc. He just does not settle down. Even after I did the same bedtime routine every single night: stories, yogurt on the couch, lights dim, quiet music; potty and teeth; in bedroom, quiet music and dim light, same 4 stories, same 4 songs, lights out, then ... HELLO! UP again, totally wound up, bouncing off the walls. So I'd hold him while lying down next to me, he'd SCREAM and yell at me, crying, sobbing. I'd say, "If you can lie down quietly on the bed next to mommy I can stop holding you." I'd loosen my bear hug, and if he started jumping around again I'd hold him, he'd cry and scream, and we'd repeat this till he settled down and fell asleep. This usually took about 20-30 minutes. I tried all sorts of bed times from 6:30 - 9:30. Same deal no matter what. I worked on this for about 6 months, till we got an 8 - 8:30 bedtime dialed in - but it still needed the bear hug.
My husband, however, doesn't like this. He came from a fairly tyranical childhood and refuses to do anything which seems too authoritarian to him. So when he puts our son to bed, he waits till DS chooses to settle down. This means that DS usually won't sleep till utterly exhausted around 10pm. 1-2 hours of stories with lights on, then at least another 30 mins-1 hour of storytelling with lights off. But DS wakes up at 7am no matter what time he gets to sleep, and after 10pm bedtimes he's not himself during the day, crying at the drop of the hat, frustrated easily, etc. He NEEDS 11 hours of sleep each night, plus 1 1/2-2 hours nap each day. So now that my newborn has a super fussy time right smack in the middle of DS's bedtime and I am nursing nursing nursing, my husband puts DS to sleep every night. Which means that he's not getting nearly enough sleep.
Is there a middle ground? How to keep him in bed without the bear hug? How to get his 8 - 8:30pm bedtime without restraining him and all those tears? Or is the bear hug not such a bad thing? If not, how would I convince my husband of this? Btw, in other ways as well my husband refuses to take a firm stand - he wants DS's "buy in" on everything. Which means that there are few rules or boundaries with DH. But see, even with my firmer hand he STILL needed the bear hug to get to sleep every night.
Thank you for any thoughts! So grateful.