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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our son has always had a hard time getting to bed at night. He's the type of kid that will get up 17 times for 17 different reasons. "I need to pee" "I want a drink" "There's a monster in my room" "I'm staaarving" "My pj's feel funny" "I'm lonely" "I need to pee again" and on and on and on.

The stall tactics are really getting ridiculous. And it's getting worse and worse. It doesn't matter how tired we think he should be (there are days that we'll take the kids out to run around and go for bike rides assuming it'll surely wear them out!), or how early or late we put him to bed. Even after we're in bed, he'll wander in with more excuses for staying up.

Why won't the child sleep!!!

It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't NEED the sleep. In the mornings, it's like trying to get a teenager out of bed. He'll roll over and pull the blankets up, tell us to go away, tell us he's not going to daycare because he's too sleepy, and on and on and on.

We're going completely insane. Any tips or pointers on getting the child to stay in his bed and stay asleep?? We have a fairly structured bedtime routine, but unfortunately the stalling has become part of it. =P
 

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Have you read the No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers? I found that really helpful for (different) sleep issues when DS was about 2 1/2. . . .

Catherine

ETA: I don't think this addresses the entire problem, but I have learned to try to prevent some of this stuff by anticipating it. So DS HAS to try to go to the bathroom right before he goes to bed, even if he just went, even if he insists he doesn't need to. And he has a Kleen Kanteen with sippy top full of water in bed with him every night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I actually think I have NCSS for toddlers from when my daughter was born. I'll have to poke around and see if I held onto it, or whether I gave it away.

Our routine on most nights is:

5:00 - Pick up kids from daycare
5:00 to 5:30 - Dinner prep
5:30 to 6:00 - Eating
6:00 to 7:00 - Kids play, do crafts, etc. Sometimes snack if they're still hungry.
7:00 to 7:30 - Bathtime, brush teeth.
7:30 to 8:00 - Bedtime stories (I go from one room to the other, or we'll each take a kid for stories), then tuck in.

My daughter will fall asleep almost immediatly. She's been like that as long as I can remember. But my son will get up at 8:30, 8:40, 8:50, etc etc etc. We've tried letting him "stay up" in his room for a bit as long as he's in bed and reading...but that just prolongs the beginning of his procrastination tactics by half an hour or so. It doesn't help him fall asleep.

We recently picked up a bottle of soap for bedtime that has lavender and is supposed to help make the kiddo sleepy. It's called "Bedtime" anyway. It didn't work. I wondered if maybe we're doing it wrong. Perhaps I'm supposed to pour a little on a cloth and hold it over his face?


Yeah...sleep deprived. Ignore my stupid humor. =P
 

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I feel your pain! I'm not sure it would work as well as cholorophorm! <--- not spelled correctly.

My thoughts...

Try some rescue remedy night time for him.

Are you sitting with him until he falls asleep, or is he alone?

Have you asked him why he has such trouble?

Make a visual chart on a dry erase board that he can check off each thing. (snack, teeth, stories, drink, pee, etc). Make sure each of his "excuses" are up there. We printed off pictures of my dd doing each action and posted them up. She would mark off each one as we did it.

Do a high fat snack closer to bed time, say 7:30.

How much attention is he getting from you and your partner in the evenings? with stuff to do and so little time, it's possible he's feeling left out. Make sure he's getting at least 20 mins of interaction/play from you before bed.

Check PJ's for sensory issues and invest in some monster spray (canned air!) to get rid of the monsters.
 

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FWIW- if DD2, who is 4, is not IN bed before 6:00pm, she does not fall asleep until 9:30 or 10:00. Looking at your schedule, I see that a 5:30 or 6:00 bedtime is pretty much impossible.

What I understand is that people who are under- slept have a stress reaction of cortisol release, and the cortisol in turn decreases their ability to go to sleep. It's a vicious cycle. It really could just take him MUCH longer to go to sleep if he's already too tired.

I think the recommendation in your situation is to pick a bedtime you can be almost 100% consistent with. I'm pretty sure it's in the NCSS. You cannot really offer an insanely early bedtime or make room for a nap in the day or just time shift him to sleep later. I think the extremely regular bedtime is supposed to help their body "cue up" for sleep even if they are not technically getting as much sleep as would be most desirable.
 

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At our request, he no longer naps at preschool. This is not a problem for ds, since he won't nap at home anymore. On days he was napping at preschool he wasn't going to sleep until 10-10:30. Way too late, since he reliably wakes up with the sun.

Also, I keep a small Sigg bottle in his bed, propped up on the side by a stuffed animal. So he always has water.

We read, scratch his back for a while. I often pop out saying I'll be back in soon. When i come back in to check he is usually asleep or close to it.

Good luck.
 

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A timer worked wonders for us. We usually set it for 20 or 25 minutes, and then we do the bedtime routine. If he goes quickly, there's more time left for play and stories. When the bell rings, he needs to be in his bed with lights out. Ds used to stall forever....now our bedtimes are under control and everyone's happier. If you need extra incentives, maybe try a timer and a star chart?
 

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I hope things have been going better for you. I'd like to tell you what we do in case anything is helpful. First of all, I realised a long time ago with my son, that I needed to be firm about bedtime. I had wanted to allow him to exercise some autonomy/recognise his bodily cues etc and have some say in when he went to bed. This didn't work, and was as stressful for him as it ended up being irritating to me and DH. So bedtime is bedtime, hard as it was for me to "put my foot down." Once the routine was in place, after the initial bumps, he's pretty much used to how it is and it goes smoothly.

Both my kids have a pretty regular routine now, like you, but it doesn't include a bath, because we would have difficulties every night trying to get them out because they love it so much! We save that for during the day when we're more patient and the kids aren't tired. So they sometimes go to bed dirty. ;o)

My daughter, while I'm nursing her to sleep, started doing the "Pee-eee!", "Food!", "Poo-pee!", "Dwink" routine. For a while, I was getting up with her to pee and then eat (although she would usually have one cracker and be done) and then go potty some more etc. Eventually, I had to make sure *I* was sure that she didn't need to eat, pee or poop - and I would check with her one last time before settling down to nurse. And then say, "We're all done with food and potty" to make sure she agreed to that.

Occasionally she insists for a while and even cries, which is really hard for me, but I think that she just needs to know that bedtime is bedtime. I am holding her, nursing her, snuggling with her, but insisting that now it's sleepytime. So sometimes she cries for a bit and then settles down to go to sleep. She might even need that release. For me to be able to allow her to cry, I need to feel certain that I'm not denying her something she really does need, so I make sure I'm certain she doesn't need food, potty etc. And then I'm more able to have the courage of my convictions.

And then I lie down with her, and she nurses off to sleep. My husband lies down with my son until he drifts off to sleep. Maybe lying down with your son would help him be less resistant to bedtime? Initially, it might just make him restless and want to play etc but maybe he'd get used to it and find it a comforting, gradual end to the day?

Anyway, that was long. Hope something helps...

Zena.
 

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I would build those stalling tactics into the just-before-bed routine.

I ocassionally substitute for a friend who nannies for a family. The first time I put the 3.5 year old to bed, he was up for 1.5 hours past his bedtime, with a variety of stalling tactics, and then just being awake.

The second time, we had a snack, brushed teeth, used the potty, checked the water bottle by the bed, got the stuffed animals ready, and his special blanket. The I lay in bed with him and read him a book, gave him a big hug, and a special rhyme his mom uses when she puts him to bed. Then I tucked him in, checked that he could see his water, animals, etc., used the "monster spray" (lavendar essential oil spray from the HFS) all around the room and in the hallway and LR (just in case). After this, I verbally listed what we'd done and asked if he needed anything else. I let him know that after that, I was not going to come back in and that it was time to sleep. I think he had me do one other quick thing. We spent a minute talking to each other about how fun the day had been, and then I turned on his soothing music and said goodnight.

About 3 minutes after I left the room, he started calling out to me in a calm way, but I didn't respond. He tried calling about 10 times and then stopped. In a few minutes, he was asleep.
 

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Does he have anything to cuddle while he sleeps? A teddy bear, doll, or stuffed animal? That makes a world of difference for my son when I'm trying to get him to sleep.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by PikkuMyy View Post
I would build those stalling tactics into the just-before-bed routine.
We've been doing this, too. "Here's a sip of water so you won't get thirsty tonight,", etc. Also, we got glow-in-the-dark stars for his ceiling
which seem to be helping him want to stay in bed. From the time DS was 2.5 to just after 3, one of us had to stay with him for him to fall asleep. Eventually we started the NCSS thing where we'd "be right back". Gotta go potty...be right back. Gotta go put the books away...be right back. And, then, "gotta get a shower", and eventually dropping the "be right back". Other than a rough patch about a week ago, DS (almost 3.5) is falling asleep by himself. He has to be tired, though, and sometimes the bedtime routine takes a long time.
 

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.75 mg of melatonin. It plus a quicker bedtime routine has made such a difference! Now if I could cure my insomnia . . .
 

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The only thing I can suggest is that for some kids (like my dd2), baths are so invigorating that we absolutely cannot do them after about 4:00 pm or she's up way past sleepy time. FWIW.
 
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