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Oh Kiddo

Recently, the little one has had a hard time taking naps or going to bed at night. Today, for example, we put her into bed at about 2pm for her nap. After coming downstairs, pooping twice, peeing several times, painting her nails, getting cards off the top of her dresser, and just about doing everything in her power to stay awake, I caught her sneaking out of her room and forcefully put her in bed and said with a strong voice "take a nap, now, we already told you several times!"

It's the same thing at night: she'll go to bed at 8pm and around 11, if we're lucky, she'll finally fall asleep after ten or fewer trips to the bathroom for various things, like a drink of water, peeing, painting her nails, etc.

11 Responses to "Oh Kiddo"

  1. Child rearing techniques are the stuff of religious wars so I post with trepidation.

    But, we've always found that routine helps us immensely when it comes to bedtime. We always do the same set of steps starting about 45 minutes before the intended bed time:

    Change into PJs
    Bathroom routine - brush teeth, use toilet, etc.
    Story time on mom and dad's bed
    Into bed

    Our youngest (now 5) gets one of us to stay with her for 5 minutes or so. The older gets to read on her own for the same length of time.

    That's it. Once in bed, they know that getting out of bed again is not allowed.

    It's not flawless, and sometimes we slip. But it has worked with a 90%+ success rate for the 10 years we've been at this (Not that we're experts or anything :-)) But with anything to do with kids, consistency seems to be key. If you say it's time to get into bed, it needs to really be time to get into bed.

  2. She has a routine. It really hasn't changed in a year or two. She's allowed to get out of bed. It's not like we want her to pee herself in bed, so we can't have that rule…

  3. Yeah, well, I did mention it wasn't flawless 🙂

    Kids have an amazing ability to find (and then exploit) the tiniest little loopholes in the most infuriating ways. But I guess that's their job 🙂

    My 5 year old will sit on the toilet for hours if we will let her, saying she has to poo, to avoid getting into the bath. Once she is in though, she won't want to get out.

  4. That reminds me of the Le petit Nicolas, who's always trying to postpone bedtime:

    Since I wasn't tired, I decided to be thirsty.


  5. We have a similar situation with our eldest child (3 next week). He will say and do anything to stay awake, we often go through cycles of him being good at bed time and bad at bed time.

    The one thing we can say that does really work is, as David said, routine and rules. We start the bed time process with a shower and time to cool down. Several times in the hour leading upto bed-time I often say to him that it is bed time soon laying out the order of events e.g. 'after your shower its bed time, whos turn is it to read you a story tonight?' I find just saying its bed time on its own is met with questions, so I tend to combine it with something else like whos reading tonight, this seems to cement the idea its bed time and changes any discussion into whos reading and away from why its bed time.

    Once hes in bed we make it hard for him to leave. If he needs to go to toilet thats fine he can (if he does it over and over we pull out the potty and that tends to end that right there) but anything else is met with a simple 'no, its bed time, sleep well' and we close the door. Which is incredibly hard to do I might add...

    The bad times always come when we get out of the routine, for example when our daughter was born in November (It took till March to get a routine back after that 🙂 ), or when family come to stay. Basically anytime the routine changes or he sees that we are too tired to put up the fight the bad cycle starts and takes a while to fix.

    But as David said its not for everyone and everyone finds their own approach.

  6. Our 3 year old is playing the "I'm scared card" now. It just started yesterday. She doesn't want to go to bed because she's scared of her room. We'll see how this one plays itself out. I havn't had a chance to talk with her yet... hopefully daddy has a more pull than mommy in this area.

    We shall see. I feel your pain.

  7. I think that Little Bug's recent stalling is due to her new found freedom. We encourage her to use the bathroom and get drinks on her own (so we don't have to help or be the scapegoats for accidents). She was handling all of the extra responsibility very well but has made very bad choices the last few days! We've had the same routine at bed time her entire existence - nothing fancy - just the basics in order. She normally doesn't complain about going to bed, either. Let's just hope that our responsibility chat will help. She's been in bed for awhile now with no creeping around...we'll see 🙂

  8. The one thing that I've found works w/ our 3 year old is something I picked up from the TV nanny shows: Stay near the child's room (i.e. in view of their doorway, but out of sight,) and the first time they get out of bed, you tuck them back in w/ another good night, etc. After the first time, you put them back into bed w/o a word. When we do this, it only takes one or two "extra" times got the point across. Our daughter may be up, but she's in bed and eventually goes to sleep.

    Nap time is a bit different. We've recently replaced nap time w/ quiet time. After lunch our 3 year old lays down on our couch in the front room, and is allowed to watch either Reading Rainbow or Between the Lions, which are calm enough that she usually ends up going to sleep.

  9. If she's staying up til 11, etc. and not wanting to go down for her nap, maybe she just doesn't need as much sleep anymore. Is she lethargic or unusually tired the days after she stays up late, or does she wake late in the morning? If not, you may try pushing her bedimte a little later, waking her up earlier, or shortening/eliminating the nap. My older son gave up his nap at around 3 years old, and I know other kids who lost their naps even earlier.

    Also, my kids have great difficulty falling asleep at their normal bedtime of 8 pm if they've napped past 3pn (my older child will have trouble if he naps at all, but that's because he's 5). So, if my younger son naps from 1:30-2:30, no problem. But if he naps 4:00-4:30, he has trouble getting to sleep at 8.

  10. Erik, I agree with Geoff. First thing that crossed my mind as I read your post was, "Goodbye, naptime." How old is she again? FWIW, both of my girls gave up their naps completely around 3 years old. With the younger one, we couldn't get her to nap in her bed much but we found that she'd conk right out in the car.

  11. She's 3.3. We're keeping her naps going through the end of the school year because she gets them at school regardless of whether she needs them or not. Next year she won't be forced to nap at school.