Originally Posted by Hillary77
3 yr old bedtimes are really hard IME!
Here's what worked with my dd at that age (now 10 yrs old, great sleeper):
Before bed = potty, water, snack offered, favorite stuffy etc.
I would lay down with her but she had to have eyes closed, be "still", and in bed, making no noise. If she didn't follow those rules, I'd get up.
One time...she followed all my rules but put her arms straight up in the air so she wouldn't fall asleep! I had to add that one on :)
If there was any talk of being staaaaaarving she could have a banana - that was her only choice. It was a good gauge for whether she was really hungry (which she was maybe once in the couple of years she spent insisting she was starving at bedtime :))
I just kept the boundaries really consistent and clear. She would often still manage to keep herself up for a looong time. I would set my own time limit on it (1/2 hour to an hour) and I would tell her Mommy has to get up to finish dishes or whatever it was and that I'd check on her in 5 minutes. Often, in that time, she would fall asleep. It wasn't deceptive, exactly...but teaching her how to fall asleep by herself.I think it was actually harder for her to fall asleep with me in the bed, but she needed to get around the mental block of thinking she needed that (or just wanting it, from habit or otherwise).
I tried to keep it pretty comfortable for her, and never went too far out of earshot.
Oooh, just remembered books on cd was the next step...I'd read to her, snuggle etc. then we'd put a book on cd in and she could wind her mind down listening to it - I'd come back and check in on her and she'd be snoozing!
Don't worry - you WILL get there!
omg this is almost exactly what we did - right down to the banan as the true hunger gauge! We still use that to this day, I'm sure it will be a family joke when they're older - "If you're really hungry, you can have a banana - otherwise, stop stalling) :P
We laid with our kids until they were nearly 4) but set boundaries as above - also telling them that we'd stay until they were asleep and then we'd go about the grownup stuff we had to take care of. Sometimes it was 10 minutes, sometimes it was 60, and we just built that into the routine and our expectations. Because I expected that it would be an hour, when it was less it was AWESOME, and when it was that long it was still OK. But really, a little body that's tired and laying still *is* going to fall asleep, most of the time, within 30 min. My kids are the tough kind, that don't learn lessons easily and constantly try to find loopholes...but even they got this figured out (maybe 10-20 times of pushing limits/testing) The initial outlay of the "rules" caused some drama (i.e.,"I'm happy to lay with you until you fall asleep as long as you're laying still/eyes closed/no sounds" and actually briefly leaving the room if they didn't do - but then going back in and giving another chance) - they would get upset if we left, sure, but we were kind but firm. They realized (though it took longer than the few times "they" say *most* kids take to get things like this) it was in their best interest to be still and calm and we would stay. It wasn't until they were both about 4 that they were able remain in bed for the "I'm going to swap out the laundry, I'll be back in 5 minutes" thing. SO then we started that, we'd lay for 10 minutes and then go...and it slowly worked its way to a story/song, hug, kiss, and out the door. It's a delicate balance of meeting your kiddo where they are while *gently, but firmly* nudging them towards that independence. DD will be 6 in 10 days, and DS is 8, and while they don't sleep for a long time (they've always been on the short end of sleep hour ranges), they do so without tears or fights, and have for a couple years now....4 seemed to be the magic age for both of them...and when I look back now though it seemed like forever and that it would never end when I was in the thick of it, I can barely remember it now. I knwo they both drove me to the brink of insanity, but it's all a distant memory at this point, and it hasn't been that long. The amnesia of motherhood really is a wonderful thing. Good luck and keep on keepin' on!