In a household with two small children, dinner/bath/bedtime can be absolute bedlam! I often refer to it as 'grumpy hour', as things seem to fall apart from about 5pm onwards. My husband, E and I hold our dinner conversations to a chorus of crying, whining and demanding from both sides, ducking projectiles launched from the highchair at regular intervals.
Our elder child, L, is 3 years old and since being moved to a 'big' bed, has vacillated between being fantastic at bedtime (going straight to sleep) and periods of terrible bedtimes. Lately, we've been going through one of the bad times. She simply will not stay in bed, especially for me! She finds every excuse under the sun to come out of her room - milk, water, toilet, sing me a song, cuddle, you name it she asks for it. I often dread the nights when E isn't home, as I know it's likely to be a long night. Usually my husband or I would sweetly put her back to bed the first few times, and then we'd get frustrated and try cajoling, threatening with no park the next day, etc. feeling vaguely like we were being manipulated somehow, and getting more cross each time that she came out of her room. It was almost always ending in tears, and with us both feeling horrible - our approach was definitely NOT working. So, I decided to go online and find out what other people were doing to keep their littlies in bed.
One of the strategies I came across was to put them back to bed each time without speaking or acknowledging their requests, and without getting cross. So, we thought we'd give it a try.
Last night was the first night that we did it, and the first few times E put L back to bed I could hear her giggling, like it was a fun game. E had to put her back in her bed 38 times in as many minutes, and by the end she was crying, and I was wanting to! Augh! Tonight it was only 8 times, however he did relent and sing her a song. Much better than the previous night, maybe it will be even better tomorrow night.
I'm wondering whether the new strategy is going to work, I really hope so - I will keep you posted! If you have had success in getting your kidlets to stay in bed at night, I'd love you to share your tips and tricks with the rest of us, feel free to comment below!
Good night all! xo