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I hate bedtime - update


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#1 Pearlberry

Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:54 PM

I'm at my wits end. After a good 8 months of my two DDs taking over three hours to go to sleep, requiring me in the room (in addition to at least an hour of bedtime routines before that) I need it to stop.

I'm doing a sort of super nanny type bedtime, and seriously as I walk out the door, they are two steps behind. I'm very good at the no emotion when putting them back, but really. Uuuggghhh. Admittedly, the last few days of trying it they have been asleep earlier, but it is hard. It takes them screaming for them to finally stay put. Often it is after they trip over and hurt themselves when trying to run after me.

I feel terrible :-( it's been a week so far

They are 2.5 and 4.5

Advice, experiences all welcome.

Update: 1/2 hour after bedtime and they seem quiet. I guess that is an improvement again..

Edited by Pearlberry, 07 April 2013 - 07:10 AM.


#2 TopsyTurvy

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:45 PM

I saw an episode of super nanny where she got the mum to sit inside the bedroom with the door partially open back towards the kids and remained there ignoring all pleas until the children went to sleep.  I think if they got out of bed she returned them to bed, but then sat in front and inside the door.  I think this then transitioned to sitting outside the door etc.

#3 Isobell

Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:55 PM

No advice or experience, but just wanted to say that sounds hard and it sounds like you're doing a great job, so keep it up! Hope your Friday night improves from here and perhaps you can enjoy a wine/chocolate/treat of your choice. biggrin.gif

#4 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

Good for you!

Couple of tips - don't speak to them.  Don't even point to the bed/bedroom if you can avoid it, just redirect them back.

Decide on a reinforcer for yourself for getting the job done.  I promised myself a Totem dress once both kids were out of nappies.

#5 sedawson

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:26 PM

Oh, what a nightmare. You are absolutely right to stick your foot down and power through this. 'Camping out' is the term used to describe that method where you just gradually, over a period of nights, move away from them - into the hall, into another room, whatever - but I think yours are way old enough for you to simply shut the door and leave them there. Definitely do the Supernanny routine, she's popular because she's brilliant.

Really all I can say is that changing human behaviours is hard and takes time so do NOT give up, no matter what kind of carry-on they give you. You're doing the right thing for them and definitely for yourself. Stick to it and they WILL give in. You can shut the door too, you know. It's not child abuse.

#6 Guest_Lilybird_*

Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:58 PM

I think what you are doing sounds great!

FWIW I'll add my experience with my 2 yr old.

She had a pretty rough patch a few months back (taking 2 hours to get to sleep, then waking through the night) and we did supernanny technique as well.

The first week I sat outside her room with my back to her (like pp said) and just returned her to bed if needed. Then for the next two weeks we did the return to bed technique. It was so hard! She was like your dds, running out of the room the minute I put her down, but we just persisted and eventually she got it.

For the night wakings however (which were much more extreme than bedtime!) we worked with our local sleep school and eventually decided to put a baby gate on her room. Not everyones cup of tea, but we would just go in every two minutes and calm her down, then leave the room. Would work with the two yr old, but probably not the four year old!

I also find dd likes to have a few books in her bed with her, and we dont mind if she reads them for 15 minutes or so before she falls asleep, not sure if that would help at all, but just something that worked for us!

I do know how it feels sad.gif I was an absolute walking zombie, it was worse than having a newborn! But through a lot of EB and child health nurse suggestions we got there in the end.

Goodluck!

#7 Kay1

Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

I always suggest this but that's because its worked so well for me. We have a selection of stories on cd  (the Giles Andreae books are our favourite because of the nice relaxing music, but you can get lots of different ones from the library etc).

After our bedtime routine is finished they get to put a cd on (take turns choosing) and then I'm out the door. My boys have never objected, they are so distracted by the story they are happy for me to leave and they are asleep before the end of it.

You could make the cd the reward for getting ready for bed nicely - so it has positive connotations. You may even need to stay and listen the first couple of times.

Another idea is a sticker chart. My 4 year old has been sooking about going to bed on his own lately (they share a room but his brother is allowed to stay up a bit later now). He would not let me leave last night until I said I'd give him a sticker if he was brave and went to bed by himself. He was thrilled and now kicks me out of the room "So I can get my sticker". I'm almost embarrassed at how easily bribed he is. blush.gif . He will get a reward when he has 10 stickers.

#8 Pearlberry

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:06 AM

Thanks for the replies. I do like the idea of sitting near the door, but I don't think it would wwork . I did have it that I was ignoring them completely whilst in the room (yea for ebooks-the only thing that kept me sane), but recently they got worse, spending most of their time getting out of beds to give me cuddles and kisses, I've decided I need to go cold turkey and leave the room. It wasn't working whilst I was there.

Also, the last few nights the eldest has being a little ringleader of mischief.  First she begs me to go, then high tails it to our room with little sister and basically plays in there. (she currently has a bed set up on the floor in there for night wakings - it is an improvement from being in our bed and on my pillow). She then wants me to go in there with her.. Ummmm no. Cue crying.

I think I definitely have to focus on getting them in their own bedroom too.
I wouldn't mind if they just went to sleep in there and I could just carry them back, but no chance of that.

What a mess!

#9 Pearlberry

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:16 AM

QUOTE (sedawson @ 22/02/2013, 09:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh, what a nightmare. You are absolutely right to stick your foot down and power through this. 'Camping out' is the term used to describe that method where you just gradually, over a period of nights, move away from them - into the hall, into another room, whatever - but I think yours are way old enough for you to simply shut the door and leave them there. Definitely do the Supernanny routine, she's popular because she's brilliant.

Really all I can say is that changing human behaviours is hard and takes time so do NOT give up, no matter what kind of carry-on they give you. You're doing the right thing for them and definitely for yourself. Stick to it and they WILL give in. You can shut the door too, you know. It's not child abuse.


Closing the door properly does help. I have been taking the foam stoppers off to do it. It seems to help get the message across that this is final, no negotiations. So does going through to the lounge as opposed to waiting outside door.

I do have gate on door (to keep dogs out). DD1 can open it. DD2 can't yet.

#10 Pearlberry

Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:20 AM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 22/02/2013, 10:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I always suggest this but that's because its worked so well for me. We have a selection of stories on cd  (the Giles Andreae books are our favourite because of the nice relaxing music, but you can get lots of different ones from the library etc).

After our bedtime routine is finished they get to put a cd on (take turns choosing) and then I'm out the door. My boys have never objected, they are so distracted by the story they are happy for me to leave and they are asleep before the end of it.

You could make the cd the reward for getting ready for bed nicely - so it has positive connotations. You may even need to stay and listen the first couple of times.

Another idea is a sticker chart. My 4 year old has been sooking about going to bed on his own lately (they share a room but his brother is allowed to stay up a bit later now). He would not let me leave last night until I said I'd give him a sticker if he was brave and went to bed by himself. He was thrilled and now kicks me out of the room "So I can get my sticker". I'm almost embarrassed at how easily bribed he is. blush.gif . He will get a reward when he has 10 stickers.


DD1 was getting a sticker for staying in her bed all night about 4-6 months ago. It lasted for months. She did brilliantly. Now she asks about her stickers occasionally but won't stay in bed. She had a few nightmares. I let her back in and that was the end of that.



#11 Pearlberry

Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:51 AM

Well not a good night. Up several times through the night. Dd1 had a nightmare, and spent the night on the floor through with me. Dd2 woke up several times, came through standing on DD1 each time. I initially put them both in bed on floor. Some pushing, shoving and screaming later I let dd2 in bed with me. Kept kicking and pushing me. I finally lost it :-(

I'm going to take them back to room each time tomorrow night. This has to stop. Feeling very miserable and emotional today.


#12 Pearlberry

Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:58 AM

QUOTE (Isobell @ 22/02/2013, 08:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No advice or experience, but just wanted to say that sounds hard and it sounds like you're doing a great job, so keep it up! Hope your Friday night improves from here and perhaps you can enjoy a wine/chocolate/treat of your choice. biggrin.gif



Thanks and Unfortunately not. It was supposed to be a night without DH. Generally I love them as I get some time to myself. Instead I had to organise things for today and then spentages on the phone with telstra trying to get them to fix their mistake for the 4th month running.

Although I did have some cheerios with icecream. Yum :-)

#13 Kay1

Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:10 AM

Sounds like a tough night. sad.gif

Personally I'd also be employing some tough love. What helps me stay strong in that situation is to think of sleep as an analogy to food. You wouldn't let them have junk food for dinner every night no matter how much they cried, or how often they snuck out and stole it right? Sleep is just as important (for ALL of you!).

My approach would be to have a reward for going to bed without shenanigans (sticker leading to a reward) and then also consequences if they play up. I'd talk about a strategy for the night waking. Perhaps a nightlight in their room they can turn on if they have a nightmare. I used to lie down on their beds for a few minutes of cuddles and then give them some "special water" to help them go back to sleep (warm water from the tap LOL), give them a cuddly toy and then I'd go back to bed. If they know this is what is going to happen before they go to bed and you stick by it strictly then hopefully the night wakings will decrease. These days DS2 (4) will turn the cd player back on if he wakes up at night.

Good luck!

#14 Tecopa

Posted 23 February 2013 - 07:15 AM

Might not work for you but I am doing this same battle this week. Hardest part was ground rules for myself since I cave so easily I am the cause of the problem. I know I need co sleeping to stop as I was losing the plot.
Put into bed with light off after a stoey and that I would check back every five minutes if he was in bed. First  night was two hours of checks but I increased the time between them. If he got out of bed was put back once with a warning door would be shut if he did it again. So was a bit of carrot and stick for me- a kiss every 5 -15 mins vs screaming alone with door shut. Overnight same thing- walked back to bed, hold his hand for 60 secs then I went back to my room. First few nights did the check in thing for night wakings too. First few nights were pretty bad with no more than a few hours sleep at a time. Last night - asleep by nine pm after one check and woke and came for me at 7am. Here's hoping it happens again. We also have a gro clock to set a time he is allowed up but doesn't always work!
Anyway it's horrible work  but worth it. My boy is 3.5.

#15 Pearlberry

Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:49 PM

Send me some strength and good vibes. Tonight's saga is beginning.

I've sprayed some "good dream/monster spray"  around the room. It we'vehad a talk about staying in our own beds. Now I just need the strength to make it through.

I think checking in on them makes it worse. They tend to giggle and scream "quick mummy's coming, back in bed". Cheeky monkeys.


Wish me luck!

#16 Tecopa

Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:31 AM

How did it go? If checking on them makes it worst then just shut the door I say and walk away!

#17 axiomae

Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:47 AM

Just a thought, and I'll say I have no idea if this will work or not because my DD is still a baby, but could you stagger their bedtimes? Eldest goes to bed after the youngest is asleep? Might be easier if they're not keeping each other awake, but again, I don't know. Just an idea.

#18 Pearlberry

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:37 PM

Last night went pretty well. I think it was half hour of up and downputting them in bed. After that they settled down. I know DD2 was still awake for a while. I could hear her moving around in bed.

TThey got me up twice. They were most upset when I said they couldn't stay and took them back. I did stay until they were asleeep/mostly asleep then, but it only talk 5-10 mins at to resettle.

Tonight they were again trying to sleep in our bedroom when bedtime came. I felt bad putting them back as they wee being good in here. I just know how it fill be in another couple of hours...
I did stay with them until DD1 went to sleep and then left DD2 still awake. I she settled straight away once I left with only 15 odd seconds of screaming.

I do sometimes stagger bedtimes, depending on their day. Dd1 is pretty good at settling, but DD2 has trouble atm. She seems to be dropping her day sleep, so her bedtime can fluctuate. Generally it tends to be as soon as I get them all changed, with clean teeth. (7pm in room, 7:30 lights off).

I could see about putting them back in separate rooms, but DD2s bedroom has a tall bookcase not tethered to the wall (DH thinks I'm over the top about this and refuses as it would leave marks). I moved her out when she changed to a big girls bed.


#19 Pearlberry

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

Appologies I'm typing this on the phone and it is terrible at correcting.

#20 aluminium

Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:55 PM

As a mother of two DDs (practically the same ages as yours) I can say I feel your pain.

My two share a room but we have a routine in place that ends with me singing one song and them going to sleep. If they don't go to sleep while I am singing - all hell breaks loose - but usually they nod off right away. We are considering ways of removing the singing soon... Maybe...

#21 Pearlberry

Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:15 AM

Last night:  Dd1 apparently snuck through during the night. I found her on the floor.

Actually slept until 7 am. That is a sleep in around these parts :-)

#22 Pearlberry

Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:09 AM

Update: yep. I still hate bedtime. And night wakings.

Last night, I was in with them until 9:30, when one of them went to sleep (I can leave when only one is awake, otherwise it doesn't work), had dinner and went to bed after 11.

By 3 I had dealt with 2 separate night wakings. DD1 came through for good before 5, and both up at 5 for good.

I'm exhausted and emotional and so over it all. I'm starting to yell at them to put their head on pillow and stop talking. And I feel they are watching too much TV as I'm to tired to cope with a usual day. (normally we have activities so they do get tired out and out of house, but it is school holidays).


I finally get to separate them tomorrow. I'm really hoping it works. sad.gif

#23 Pearlberry

Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:15 AM

Oh, daylight savings. I guess I got an extra hours sleep then I thought

#24 podg

Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:43 AM

My worst sleeper responds well to 'checks'. When going to bed we check on her regularly at increasing intervals, 'catching' her 'pretending' to go to sleep. "wow, great pretending!"  There's no need to actually sleep, just as long as you do good pretending.

IT used to be every 10 seconds initially, stretching to every 2 minutes. 2 years later she's usually asleep before the first 5 minute check. It works in the night too, again she usually only needs one check to close the door because she's asleep.

That preempts all the getting up business, because she knows where we are and can rely on us coming back.

#25 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:08 PM

OP would you consider professional help. Doesn't have to cost the earth if they come during the day and give you strategies appropriate to your situation. sounds like you need to do something as it doesn't sound like its good for anybody. If you are in melb pm me and I can give you details of who I used.




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