Huggies Forum

Switch to Nappy-Pants

for toilet training!

Learn more
  1. home
  2. Baby Forum
  3. Toddler
  4. Sleep & Settling
  5. HELP! At my wits end with bedtime!

HELP! At my wits end with bedtime! Lock Rss

Hi everyone

I'm desperate for some help with putting my 2.5yo to bed.

Up until about 6 months ago we would put him to bed anytime between 7.30-8pm, walk away, close the door and that would be that...we didn't hear from him until morning.

The last 6 months however, have been hell.

Now, when we put him to bed, he comes out of his room to the lounge for 1-2 hours, every single night. We take him back to bed, we walk away, he comes out again. We take him back to bed, walk away, he comes out again.

We have tried putting him to bed earlier in case he's overtired but that didn't's actually almost 9pm right now as I write this and we put him to bed at 7.30 tonight...he's been out of his room about 6 times.

We've tried letting him stay on the lounge but eventually he just stuffs around, gets overtired and then is even worse to try and get to sleep.

I'm really, truly lost for ideas on what to do. Have any of you experienced something similar and, if so, what did you do?

I'm not sure if it's a factor but, my youngest son turns 1 this week so maybe it's got something to do with him being born and coming into the house - the older one is starting to feel left out or something...I don't know but I do know that I am completely worn out!

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

I would start a tough bed time routine. Dinner, bath, book and then sleep. If he is feeling left out the reading time would be a great time for you to spend with him one on one and he would benefit so much from that. Both the reading and the special time with Mum or Dad.

Every time he gets up I would just say it's bed time back to bed. Take him in with no eye contact and try again and keep on trying.

By letting him stay up when he comes out he is winning this game. You need to take a stand and get control back. It can be tough but they need to know that you will not compromise over bed time.

Good luck. Have a great weekend.

Yep, I agree with mel. We are extremely routine with our bedtime routine and I think it helps.

Good luck! smile
Does he have a day sleep at all and what time/how long? Could this be making the bedtime harder as he is getting older and not tired at bedtime?
My twins stopped sleeping during the day before turning 2 so bedtime at 6pm has been easy for us and they still go to bed then at nearly 3 1/2.
When they first moved into a bed though just before 2 bedtime for my dd became a bit difficult for first few nights as she kept coming out. It improved as soon as I tried sitting in her room next to her bed, avoiding any eye contact/communication and every time she got up I just put her back in bed, if she was carrying on I ignored it. The first night it took 45 minutes of this for her to drop off. The next night it was about 30 minutes, after a few nights I started to move further away from her bed towards the door and after about 8/9days I was out the door and she was asleep in a matter of minutes and has done so since. It was hard work but the consistency was the key. We have always had the same bedtime routine since they were very little so they knew the drill.
I have a friend whose little girl was doing the same thing and she was a wreck as she was up till 10pm every night and then wanting to sleep the next day which then made the night a problem again. They did however not be consistent and never had a real bedtime routine in place, it was just whatever happened on that day and no lead up,they didnt try anything for more than a couple of days at a time and it was just easier for them to let her do what she wanted and it took them over a year to get her to go to bed at a reasonable hour.
I agree it could be his avo nap. My son did the same thing. Was always good about bedtime then started mucking around and not going to sleep. He dropped his day nap completely by 2 years 8 months old. When he dropped it we made bedtime 6.30pm for several months till he could handle 7pm again.

So I'd suggest either dropping his day nap and making bedtime earlier or limiting his nap to a 40 min catnap and not letting him sleep past 3.30pm.

My oldest is 2yr8months & youngest is almost 6months. We had exactly the same situation as you, so totally understand your despair.
I ended up putting the gate we used on our stairs to the doorway into her room so she couldn't get out (we do have a monitor still in her room to know if she's upto mischief).
She has 3 days with naps & 2 days without naps at daycare & I noticed that the days without naps are easier to put her to sleep.
We have a set routine every night. Dinner after daycare, playtime with us and 2 of her favourite cartoons. Then brush teeth, pyjamas, story time, we have GroClock to show her that its time for bed (we say goodnight to the Yellow Sun & Blue star, she knows not to get out of bed until the sun is back up in the morning) we sing Twinkle Twinke & Black sheep song then kisses & cuddles from everyone, sip of water & that's it.
If she is not too sleepy I just say that as she is a big girl she can read books to her toys in her bed, while I put her brother to sleep. Most of the time she falls asleep ok, on occasion she wants to come out but the gate stops her from wandering around the house.
On the worst days, when she decides she really wants to cry & not go to sleep I tell her that I know she is a good big girl, that its really late & we are going to have a lot of fun playing tomorrow and if she is a good girl & goes to sleep quietly she can have extra book to read before bedtime the next day. That seems to help
Good Luck smile
Thanks everyone.

I probably should have said that we do have a routine for him at night so it's not that we're "flimsy" and just changing things up every night. We also do take him back to bed, every night. The reason we also tried letting him stay with us is because this has been going on for long, it's not that we do one thing one night and another thing another night!

The afternoon nap could definitely be key as he does still sleep for two hours most days. Usually that's between about 12-2pm so he's not staying too late in the arvo but, might be time to bring that back to an hour and see what happens. I don't think he's ready to get rid of it altogether because on the odd day when his arvo sleep has been quite short, like 30mins, he tends to fall asleep later in the arvo (like 4-5pm) which isn't good for us either!

The gate could work too, we do have a spare one so I might get that out tonight and put it up. We do always say to him he's a big boy and he can do it but that doesn't seem to help.

So...yeah...thanks! A gate and a shorter nap...we'll try that this week and see what happens...fingers crossed!
We have had the same issue as you with our 2yr old. She was a great sleeper until we moved her to a big bed and since has been horrible. It was taking us 1-2hrs a night to get her to bed and this lasted months! She doesn't usually have day sleeps but when she does we limit it to 1 hr and no sleeping after 1.30pm.
We have found that the days she doesn't have a day sleep she is ready and goes straight to sleep by 6pm. If we have had a busy day she is sometimes ready for bed by 5-5.30pm.
The days she has a sleep we recently started getting her ready at the normal time (5.30) and letting her sit on her couch or cuddle up to us watching our shows on tv (no kids shows). No toys or talking are allowed and as soon as she starts playing up we put her in bed. If she gets up we give her another chance to sit quietly with us but if she plays around again she is put in bed and constantly put back until she stays. When this happens one of us stands at her door and does not talk to or even look at her. She eventually puts herself to sleep, usually within 10 mins. When we do this she is usually in bed by 8pm.

I also get her dressed and ready for bed in her room with the curtains shut so she knows its time for bed. I make sure she keeps a quiet voice and try not to talk to her to much. When I do talk to her I always finish with 'quiet now, it's time for bed'. then Cuddle, kiss, good night and let her crawl into bed herself. She will usually get distracted from noise from birds or something like that where I say ' birds are getting ready for bed too so we have to be quiet now'. If she is having trouble getting to sleep I do also sometimes lightly rub my hand over her eyes to close them a few times and say 'close your eyes, go to sleep' and leave it at that. I then stand next to her bed until she is nearly asleep then quietly walk out. So far works great.

We do on occasion have days it takes hours to get her to sleep but this is usually our fault cause we have missed that she is over tired so of course we just have to wear the 2hrs to get to sleep.

Hope this gives you some ideas to try with your little one. I no how frustrating it can be trying to find something that works but it will happen...eventually!!!

Thanks Clare...nice to know it isn't just me!

He's been in a "big bed" since he was 15mths so it's nothing new to him, he actually started sleeping better, and through the night when we put him in the bed!

Last night we said to him "don't come out or Mamma and Papa will block the door with the gate...". He came out, we blocked the door off, he fell asleep! Guess he figured he had nothing better to do! He's at day care today so he'll sleep he's usual 2 hours I guess, but tomorrow when he's home I'm also going to try cutting his sleep down, see if that helps!

Ahhhh, the joys of parenthood hahahaha!
The 2 hr nap from 12-2 and 7:30 bedtime seem right for his age and the fact that he went to sleep when you put the gate up after telling him that's what would happen if he came out leads me to believe it's just a developmental phase and he is trying to test limits and push boundaries which is pretty normal 2 yr old behaviour. Oh the joys of the Terrible Two's!
It probably won't hurt to try a shorter nap though to see if that makes a difference.
It looks like the gate on the door is working though smile
Sign in to follow this topic