I need help!! DD (4 1/2) has become an absolute nightmare at bedtime recently. She has always been excellent at stall tactics, but lately it has gotten out of control. She will literally come out of her room 15 times over the course of 2 hours. The poor thing has been sick the past couple of days, but it has been well after 9 PM before she finally gives in and falls asleep (she may finally be down tonight, but it has literally been 2 hours that we have been trying). We have tried everything. Staying with her, bribing her, taking things away... Currently she lost her favorite toy she sleeps with every night, and there is a baby gate sitting in the hall that I told her is going up if she comes out of her room again. I don't want to resort to that, but it seems like nothing else is working. I never wanted to turn bedtime into a punishment, and it didn't used to be. But she comes out of her room in a very defiant way, and I feel like it is the not listening part that is driving me crazy!!
Does anyone have any bedtime tricks that work for you? We are willing to to try anything, and to put some work in. We just need a strategy. I get so frustrated and I know I need something to help me keep my cool. Everything always starts out fine - she goes up willingly, goes through her routine pleasantly, and even goes down initially like she plans on going to sleep. But within minutes she starts coming up with every excuse in the book. We do what we can to plan for her stalls, but she just finds new ones.
TIA for any advice - or even just sympathy to remind me I am not alone in this battle!
Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)
hugs! my dd is going thru a rough sleep patch and i am still working on it with her. i have found lavender to help (bath with lavender soap followed by lavender lotion and my neighbor 3 doors down gave me a bunch of lavender sprigs to hang to dry in her room) it seems to help her calm down for sleep.
Is she scared or is she stalling? If she is just stalling, do the duct tape trick. Mark the floor with duct tape when her door is open all the way. Then mark it with door closed 1/4 of way, 1/2 of way, and 3/4 of way. Each time she comes out the door moves to another tape mark; after the 4th time the door is closed.
Then play act it with her during the day so you know she is crystal clear on the plan. They usually get to the 3/4 mark and knock it off.
BUT if she is scared, I think this is mean and she is letting you know she needs you. IMHO she will not still need/want you soon enough so you should indulge her now IF she is really terrified. (I totally remember being terrified in my bed as a kid and Not Being Allowed to get out...)
Thanks for the responses. I really don't think she is scared, and we already close her door when we put her in her room. Her latest thing is that she thinks of "really important" things she needs to tell me - right away! Like, what she wants to wear to camp the next day, or what her stuffed animal just "said" to her :eye roll: She does tell us that she doesn't like to be in her room, but it seems to be more out of boredom than any real fear. I tell her she can play/read/sleep/just sit there, as long as she stays in her room. But she still comes out and says she can't sleep or play "good" in her room by herself. She doesn't tell us she is scared.
I think maybe she is having trouble unwinding, and it is probably from being overtired since she is staying up so late. I think we will try the lavender bath tonight. She is due for one anyways, so maybe that will calm her. And we are starting REALLY early tonight so it will be a reasonable time for her to actually fall asleep.
Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)
DD (same age) as well as several of her friends (same age to older) all have more trouble going to bed these days, because it is light outside. They are not fooled by any room darkening shades, and want to know why they are going to sleep when it's daytime. Mine goes to sleep around 10:00, wakes up at 7:30 (on weekdays, for school; on weekends, she sleeps in), and when in school, naps for an hour or two. I've kind of given up on getting her to sleep any earlier; it's a losing battle.