For the past 4 months, my 2.5 year old no longer cooperates at bedtime. He usually ends up falling asleep around 10:30, the last few days it's been 11. Often there are huge struggles, tears and fights. I often lose my own patience after a couple hours. I am working on that I know it only makes it worse. We try to uphold a bedtime routine and always have, but he freaks out as soon as we try to stop reading stories or turn out the light (we have a night light he just doesn't want the regular light turned out). It has gotten to the point I am considering the more mainstream sleep training methods like forcefully holding him in his bed....but that just seems wrong and I if I know my boy at all, it would only make him more fierce (he is very strong willed and can scream till he throws up and still keep screaming). I am also not sure I have the nerve for that kind of thing. Not to mention it seems like the more forceful and emotionally painful it is, the more likely he is to develop more severe and perhaps lifelong sleep issues / insomnia. I am already wondering if we are on that path, as every. single. night is a huge battle. I have tried just relaxing and going with his flow but I often can't help lose my patience after several hours and I am exhausted, and sometimes it even gets so late it is *my* bedtime....but he gets really upset and freaks out and doesn't want me to go to sleep. He gets really bossy in general around bedtime but the times I start falling asleep he starts yelling "Mama wake up! Open your eyes!".
He usually doesn't nap anymore but lately will because, oddly enough, even going to sleep at 11 he still wakes up at 6:30-7, which I am astounded by. He sleeps in his own bed, which was a transition he chose himself some months ago. I still offer him to fall asleep in Mama's bed but he always wants to sleep in his own bed. BTW once he falls asleep he sleeps through (but as I said often only 7-8 hours which is NOT enough!). At least we have that!
Has anyone tried herbal sleep remedies? I have been giving him some evening tea (with chamomile and hops) but it seems to have no effect.
Any sympathy or tricks or tips or advice are very desperately sought. I feel like I'm losing my mind. This is seeping into my general parenting and mood. I am starting to really resent my son and if we need to find our way out of this soon. My son definitely needs more sleep. I definitely need a little rest at the end of the day. Please help! Many thanks. ~PJ