My 2 1/2 year old is such a stinker at bedtime! I don't want to punish him to get him to stop being a monkey but I seriously can't think of any gentle way to stop being silly and get the message that sleeping time means laying nicely and trying to fall asleep. And I honestly think it would take a pretty harsh punishment to get the message through to him, which I don't want to do. But I cannot think of any gentle ways to teach him and it is really wearing on my patience! And on top of it, I am having another baby next month and do not know what I will possibly do then!
Ok, so we follow the same routine each night- it never changes. Pajamas, brush teeth, I read to his older brother, while he (B) looks at books. Then I read B his book. We turn off the light, light a candle, sing a song, say a prayer, then each boy gets a turn to blow out the candle. They get into bed and I tuck each one in. The older one is almost 6 and great at lying there, trying to fall asleep. But when the routine is done, B WILL NOT LIE STILL and try to fall asleep! It's not even like I am trying to leave the room and expecting him to do it on his own. I am willing to stay and rub his back, sing to him if he wants, etc. But he crawls around on his bed, laughs, is just plain silly. And it's not that he is not tired because if I can get him to finally lie still, then he wants me to rub his back and sing, which I do and he is fast asleep within 5 minutes TOPS! It's just getting him to lie still and let me rub his back that is getting harder and harder.
At night time, when he is silly, I tell him I am not staying if he will not lie nicely. So when he gets silly, I leave. He will want me to come back and say, "I'll stop, I'll stop". So I come back, he lies still, and I sing him to sleep. He very quickly falls asleep.
But bedtime is a lot harder because I can't leave. If I do, then he will just start bugging his brother and he could care less that I have left. So I started putting B in my bed when he acts up and leaving him there alone until he is finally willing to lie nicely in his bed. But this has stopped working. Know he will be silly and say, "I'm being silly- go put me in your bed now" and he won't care if I put him there or stop being silly. Lately I feel like maybe only a punishment for his silliness will get through to him. I sometimes feel like spanking him to get the point across. Not that I will because I DO NOT believe in spanking but seriously, I am running out of ideas. Putting him in my room was working so well I thought I had the answer until he stopped caring that if I do that. Sigh!
Please help me out here!!!!! If he didn't fall asleep so darn fast when the sillies are finally over with, I would think that perhaps he is just not tired and needed to stop napping. But the fact that he falls asleep so fast when he is finally willing to stop being silly makes me think he is in fact tired at nap/bedtime. And he is a mess when he doesn't nap.
How can I gently teach him to lie nicely in bed, relax, and go to sleep! I am not going to be able to keep fighting him each night when I have a newborn to take care of!!!