Just thought I'd share what has made the difference for us with the bedtime transition -
It's always been a struggle to get DS down for the night. He's high energy/high needs, and just can't stop playing. We've always done a transition with dim lights, noisy toys off, no screens (we don't really watch TV anyway), quiet voices. That helped some, but still when I'd go to nurse him down he would nurse for a minute, then run around the room, come back to nurse for another two minutes, then snuggle with DH, come back to nurse, etc, for at least 20-30 minutes before settling down.
Well, now I feel like an idiot, because the only thing we had to do differently was black out the room! We'd been trying to get him to go to sleep with a dim lamp on. One night I decided to turn it off to see if he would be less distracted if he couldn't see anything, and he was dead weight in my arms in under five minutes.
We've been doing it for a week and it has worked every time. We still do dim lights and everything after dinner, then we all get in bed and read a book, then lights totally out and he nurses to sleep in minutes.
DS is 15 months, BTW.
funny you wrote this because just the other day we were at my inlaws and the room we were in had no dim lamp so we just went with no lights. it was pitch black but...my 4 month DS didn't do like yours did - he kept his little eyes open reeeeeally wide :) once my eyes adjusted i could see these little beedy black eyes blinking. it was really funny. maybe once he's older and can run around the "blackout" might work.