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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a very spirited and sensitive 3yo who strives on routine. I think he has some sensory issues, and he's also a very big worrier.<br><br>
We do the same things at the same times everyday and as long as we don't deviate from this AT ALL he's as happy as a clam.<br><br>
We eat dinner at 6, take a bath at 7, and bedtime is 8. He's very cooperative and happy until it's time to get out of the bath, go to the bathroom, put jammies on, brush teeth, read a book and go to bed. Every night he acts like it's a huge surprise that he has to do these things. He screams and has a complete meltdown every night. I've tried moving things up an hour thinking he was over tired...didn't work. He can tell time and figured out what I was doing. "I go to bed at 8 not 7!!" I've tried just letting him stay in the bath until he's ready to come out, but once he decided to come out he still has the meltdown when I try to get him dressed for bed. The only thing that sort of works is me threatening to not read him a book. I hate doing this though and I don't think it's very effective long term.<br><br>
I'm really not a scheduled/routine type of person and would love it if we could all just eat when we're hungry and go to sleep when we're tired, but ds just doesn't work that way. I'm completely stumped as to why he's having these nightly meltdowns and feel bad for him because I know he's needing some kind of help but I don't know what it is. Any type of insight/advice/whatever would be much appreciated!
 

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I really don't have much advice to offer unfortunately, but wanted to ask how long he's been doing these tantrums? Is it a phase? Has something changed?<br><br>
Also, how long do the tantrums last? Does he go to sleep on his own or do you stay with him? Is it that he doesn't want you to leave him?<br><br>
There is a school of thought that says you should just allow your little one to experience the tantrums and stay nearby, supporting him, hearing him but not trying to 'talk him out of it'. I think our natural response is to usually try to stop or avoid tantrums, but maybe if we just see them as an emotional response rather than something they are doing that is objectionable, it makes it easier to ride it out.<br><br>
I guess what I'd do depends on whether I thought he was having a truly fear-based type of response or if it was a frustration-based response or even an anger-based response. I think each emotion would prompt a different reaction/approach.<br><br>
Sorry, sort of rambling, but HTH!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply!<br><br>
This has been going on for about 3 or 4 months. We did just move into a new house a couple of weeks ago, and we have a baby on the way, and we've had family visit recently, so there's been a lot of change as of late...but this has been going on since before then. It hasn't seemed to be any worse or different since all of these changes...just consistent.<br><br>
I read him a book in the rocking chair in his room, sing him a song, them rock him to sleep and put him in his bed. If he wakes in the night he comes to our bed to cuddle and we're all happy with that. His meltdowns seem more anger/frustration based then fear based. He screams that he wants to play more or that he has to go to the bathroom again or that he's hungry. If he's hungry before bed he's allowed a banana or yogurt, and of course I let him go to the bathroom again if he says he needs to. The thing is, these seem more like stalling tactics because he'll sit on the toilet forever and not go, or he'll just eat a couple bites of snack then start screaming again about not wanting to go to bed. I don't know, I'm stumped.<br><br>
I guess this could just be something we need to ride out. It's so frustrating though! We'll have such a great day together, then it always has to end with screaming.<br><br>
Any other suggestions would be much appreciated!
 

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My dd is 2.5 and also thrives on an exact routine. I think in theory it sounds nice that we eat when we are hungry and sleep when we are tired, but it seems that my dd is actually quite accustomed to that schedule and is hungry at the exact same time every day and is tired at or before the exact same time every day. Many kids need an exact routine with exact times. Dd falls apart if we vary nap or bedtime by more than 15 minutes.<br><br>
There have been some newer tantrums lately, and I think she is just testing boundaries and rules. It's like she wants to be in control and change them, but when we give her that freedom, she is too tired to deal with it.<br><br>
When dd throws a tantrum after bath while we are getting ready for bed, we try to keep her calm. If that doesn't work, we tell her we love her, but we need to get ready for bed with no drama (she kicks, screams, cries, throws things). If she continues the drama, we tell her we will be in the hall when she is ready to stop. Too much explanation is actually making her worse. We step out of her room, lightly close the door, and wait in the hall until she comes out. If she comes out calmly, we smile and help to bring her back to a good place and continue her routine. Offering a choice (would you like your pjs with cats or hearts?) is a great way to break the ice with her. We tell her we are proud of her for stopping the drama and give her a kiss and hug. If she comes out still dramatic, we tell her she was not ready to come and get us, but we will be in the hall when she is. Then we set her back in her room. This has cut down on her meltdowns a lot (and at other times during the day).<br><br>
You might find that your ds is having those nightly meltdowns because he is getting tired earlier, so bumping things up a little might help. Dd is definitely more testy when she gets overtired. But doing it by an hour is a lot. Maybe try 20 minutes and tell him he doesn't have to sleep earlier, but you can do some extra reading or snuggling in bed instead. That way you get him all ready before he hits being overtired, and if he is tired and ready to sleep, you can gently guide him down a little earlier.
 
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