My 5 year old won't sleep at a decent hour

Tara - posted on 01/28/2009 ( 44 moms have responded )

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I put him to bed between 8-8:30 every night and he's still awake until 10-10:30. I've tried EVERYTHING I can think of. Any suggestions?

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Sophie - posted on 02/17/2013

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I'm hoping for some advice and help because honestly I'm at the end of my tether. My son has always been difficult when it comes to going to sleep and it seems to have gotten worse as he's gotten older. When he was born the midwife advised bath, bottle and bed so that's what I did at 6 o'clock every night until he was 18 months old, but it never worked as soon as I would put him in the crib he screamed his lungs out until I picked him up. So at 18 months I tried the Ferber method, every night I would get up to about 5-6 minutes of leaving him in his crib before he would make himself sick and then he'd get what he wanted, me picking him up, because I'd have to change him and his bedding. He's now about to turn 5 and still doesn't sleep I've tried everything but it doesn't work he either falls asleep at 7 wakes up at 11 and doesn't go back to sleep until 4-5am or he refuses to sleep at all until he collapses of exhaustion at anywhere between 11pm and 3am. He doesn't nap during the day he has quiet time every night straight after he's eaten where he's allowed to watch a film if he's been good or do some colouring after that he has his nighttime routine and is in his bed at 8pm every night. I've tried reading to him, singing, getting in the bed with him, playing soft soothing music, anything and everything lavender scented, sitting outside of his room and sending him back to bed every time he gets up. I even tried leaving him fall asleep in his own time as suggested by one parent but that was a disaster and now I'm at breaking point, the only time I get a good nights sleep is when he stays at his grandmothers house, and she has none of these issues with him even though she does exactly the same as I do. It's even starting to effect my marriage as my husband and I never get any time alone together any hints or tips would be wonderful thank you.

Moniesalazos - posted on 08/13/2013

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I have a 5yr old she will not go to bed until 12am. She fights with me to get in bed by 9pm. I need help I am stressing out. This everyday thing. She sleep well with other people not me.

Brandi - posted on 03/31/2013

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I put my son to bed at 9 pm & at 5 a.m. he's still awake... I don't know what else to do.

Allison - posted on 08/17/2012

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My 5 year old son does the same thing. Both boys go to bed at 7pm, they both are up at 5-6am every morning. My 5 year old recently decided he is going to give me ultimatums, rules, and threaten that if he doesn’t get to stay up he’s going to…..be sassy. Maybe some other words (no swearing) but wow, where did this come from???? My 6 year old is finally going to bed good. Unless they are fighting. We read two books before bed and then it’s time, it’s been the routine since birth….not sure what’s going on but I need my “mommy” time. Ughhh…I’m exhausted

Tammy - posted on 01/28/2009

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my son also stays awake until well after we've put him to bed.  his pediatrician suggested we try like an herbal vitamin/supplement called melatonin and it's helped a great deal.  we give it to him about an hour before it's time to go to bed and within 30 mins or so after laying in bed, he's asleep.  it's 3mg chewable Melatonin.  by the way, my son is also 5 years old and won't sleep when we put him to bed.  maybe it's an age thing..

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Melissa - posted on 07/27/2014

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My son is 5 and I have been having problems with his sleeping for a long time he never used to go to sleep before 1am I have managed to get it back to 11pm but now he won't sleep in his own bed I have tried so many things but it's not working and I don't know what to do anymore

User - posted on 06/01/2014

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Simply no sugar or refined carbs after lunch and all afternoon evening. Kidz are hyper cause of too much tv and what they eat believe me i'm a nutrionist

Ariana - posted on 04/22/2014

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If he's still awake could you just bump his bedtime to 9:30? Or tell him he can do what he wants in his room until 10:30 as long as there's no mess in the morning?

Samantha - posted on 04/20/2014

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My son is nearly 5 and I've tried everything to get him to sleep but he just won't sleep he was awake till 3am I just don't no what to do anymore please help

Zamir - posted on 04/05/2014

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We used to have the same problem with son he is 7 years his on ASD and has ADHD. It used to take us to 5 hours to put him to sleep even then he would up about3-4 times a night. His paediatrician prescribed him Melatonin which I wasn't happy to given him but it has helped it's an hour to put him to bed and he only wakes 1-2 times a night. Hope this helps.xx

Nicole - posted on 04/05/2014

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My step son is always tired. He goes to bed at 8 and is up between 6 and 7. He has recently been telling us he stays up until after we go to bed. Which is between 1030 and 1130. There are some mornings his up at 4 or 5. My 2 year old is suffering from this since my step son ends up waking up everyone when he gets up. The dr's say its fine that he gets less sleep but his so tired all day I just dont think its right. We do almost the same routine every single night. IDK what to do anymore.

Selena - posted on 03/30/2014

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I work nights so I am not home at bedtime for my five year old. When I get home he is still up. He stays up til 2or 3 in the morning. My partner will not make him go to sleep. I don't know what to do.

Jacqueline - posted on 03/27/2014

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My daughter is 4 and will be 5 in July. She fights with me every night at bed time. She is in pre-k now and has a really hard time getting up at 8am to get ready for school. Its a struggle every day with her. She uses every excuse at night to stay awake. From I am not tired to I am hungry to I want to sleep in the big bed. Bed time is between 8 &9 pm for her and most night she is still awake at 4 am or she wakes up at 2am and stays awake for the rest of the night.

Lara - posted on 12/23/2013

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My five year old sleeps 11-12 hours every night, which is so essential for growth, health, and learning. Without fuss too.

She knows the drill and doesn't challenge it. Bath, snack, brush teeth, water, two stories, lights out.

Tips: dark room, 30 minutes of quiet time (no T.V), bedtime snack 45 minutes before bed, quiet room, not too hot/cold room, and melatonin.

We use melatonin a couple times a week. Works amazingly.

Anna - posted on 12/07/2013

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My son likes having the same routine every night--read two stories, have his teddy bear talk about his busy day and how glad he is to be in bed. Then we read Bedtime Spaceship. Each and every night. It's been working for 4 months!

Kathy - posted on 08/29/2013

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That's so true how some parents let there child fall asleep while watching tv. Completely against that. I think its stupid.

My 5 year old does not watch tv to fall asleep. ive been paying attention to any bad habit she has ....so when i see it happening I try to break it as soon as possible. Since the first day she was born, she's only used a pacifier for first 5 days and I took her off of it cause of course she needed it in order to fall asleep, it was annoying , so I stopped that! So yeah, basically it's coming to the end of summer and schools starting in a week, she hasn't had a bed curfew because we now live with my boyfriend brother who has a toddler too and all they do is play till 1am! and also because theres no school. Anyway, I've been having a hard time putting her to bed early to kinda prepare her for next week...it's frustrating because her excuse to stay up is that she misses daddy and wants to wait for him to come back home than sleep. Than she also ask me can I play before I sleep or can I draw can I watch tv . I bathe her , she brush her teeth i read her a book....I put her in bed like at 10. im checking up on her ...i walk in shes pretending to sleep lol ... shes smirking and it was 11:30 when i go in to check in her. i told her you must sleep or else. i check on her Again by 12:30.... same results.
So right now she actually went to bed at 11 (that's early compare to the other hours) . I keep thinking about the night before school, im worried....hoping baby girl will be in bed at least 8:30!

I'm following the 3 B's
Bath
Brush teeth
Read a Book

App+7mnejhu - posted on 03/13/2013

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Omg, r u sure you are not talking about my son?! He does the sane thing! Sometimes he waits for me to go to bed just so he can sleep with me and my husband! And your right we never get time alone! Also I'm afraid he will be doing this stuff when kindergarten roles around soon! What to do?! I'm losing my mind with him! HELP

Kenyah - posted on 08/16/2012

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I'm having a very similar issue... My daughter is 5, she doesn't take naps, and she gets more than enough "outside time", enough in which a "normal" person would say is too much. her day is full of activity going to the museum, amusement parks, swimming everyday, and she takes NO NO NAPS! Sometimes I wonder if I created the madness... a child who has too much energy and worse she goes to bed late, I mean like midnight, she still awakens at 8am. I never understand why she is not exhausted at the end of the day because I sure am... I let her fall asleep to the tv and she says she needs a night light so there is still lots of stimulation at night and somehow she is still very intelligent and advanced for her age. I read the replies and will take note of all the suggestions, but any more?!

Granny - posted on 06/24/2012

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Hi I m new to this site and forum so please be kind....lol Please feel free to refer to me as Granny as I hear this name every day by the two grand daughters I/we are now raising ....But even though I m well Hearst in rearing children (7of which 5 are now adults and out on their own) I still need help as I m now running into problems to which I have never dealt with before...My five year old grand daughter "P" (she will be 6 in3 &1/2 months) I put her to bed @ 8-830PM every night ( for the past eight months) however I have seen her staying awake well past three hours ,She watches no TV except maybe an hour per week during morning hours (long story) she does not nap,plays all day there is more but may be more for another forum I will say she is up between 7 & 730AM ) I always have breakfast ready by 8AM any ideas ? need more info ?(im full of it...LOL)

Carlie - posted on 06/06/2012

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Four questions come to mind:

1. Is he still taking a nap?
2. If so...how long?
3. Do u put him to sleep with a TV, bottle, and/or
A movie?
4. Do u tire him out during the day?

Most 5 and 6 year olds are beginning the next phase in their sleeping cycles, where a nap is no longer necessary or detrimental. If he does take a nap, then a child's nap should NEVER extend beyond 2:00-2:30 p.m. Ideally, naps should be daycare nap time hours, anytime between 12:00 noon and 2:30 p.m. If u do away with his naps, he should be more tired at the end of the day.

2. If he needs to take a nap, then rest time can be cut to one hour.
3. Forget what I ssid about a bottle! Sorry about that. Although, a parent will eventually be setting themselves up for additional problems in the future, should they decide to do so with younger children. It's called co dependency, and That leads me to my next comment:
4. Allowing children to fall asleep to the TV OR A MOVIE every night is NOT beneficial to the child. You may have heard ppl explain that it HELPS their child fall asleep? IT DOES NOT. It actually FORCES a child to stay awake. Do u know why? Because children are automatically attracted to bright lights, pictures, and Sound. So of course they will keep their poor little eyelids open as long as they feasibly can. They only SHUT their eyes when they've grown tired of keeping them open. They shut automatically. I'll say again...parents that use these kind of aids...do more HARM than good. They also claim to be doing it for their children. This is not true. They are doing it for themselves. It is absolutely imperative that a child learns to fall asleep without additional aids FIRST....not AFTER.

Carlie - posted on 06/06/2012

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Four questions come to mind:

1. Is he still taking a nap?
2. If so...how long?
3. Do u put him to sleep with a TV, bottle, and/or
A movie?
4. Do u tire him out during the day?

Most 5 and 6 year olds are beginning the next phase in their sleeping cycles, where a nap is no longer necessary or detrimental. If he does take a nap, then a child's nap should NEVER extend beyond 2:00-2:30 p.m. Ideally, naps should be daycare nap time hours, anytime between 12:00 noon and 2:30 p.m. If u do away with his naps, he should be more tired at the end of the day.

2. If he needs to take a nap, then rest time can be cut to one hour.
3. Forget what I ssid about a bottle! Sorry about that. Although, a parent will eventually be setting themselves up for additional problems in the future, should they decide to do so with younger children. It's called co dependency, and That leads me to my next comment:
4. Allowing children to fall asleep to the TV OR A MOVIE every night is NOT beneficial to the child. You may have heard ppl explain that it HELPS their child fall asleep? IT DOES NOT. It actually FORCES a child to stay awake. Do u know why? Because children are automatically attracted to bright lights, pictures, and Sound. So of course they will keep their poor little eyelids open as long as they feasibly can. They only SHUT their eyes when they've grown tired of keeping them open. They shut automatically. I'll say again...parents that use these kind of aids...do more HARM than good. They also claim to be doing it for their children. This is not true. They are doing it for themselves. It is absolutely imperative that a child learns to fall asleep without additional aids FIRST....not AFTER.

User - posted on 03/28/2012

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Sounds like they are all about the same age.... first off i would take the TV out of there rooms and also take out anything that is a distraction to them. A bedroom should be for sleeping, not playing. If they play in there room a lot during the day its going to be hard for them to see the difference. Also, a routine is a MUST!! and trying to keep it at the same time every night makes it even easier on them and you. We do milk or juice, go potty, brush teeth, read 2 short books, hugs and kisses and a nightlight. End of story... and never a stimulating activity about 30 mins before the routine starts. Also the putting them back to bed with a reminder the first two times, then saying nothing after that while you walk them to there bed is also very effective for those kids who are getting out of bed and leaving the room. Cutting out a nap or two during the day also can be helpful!

Good Luck~

Gladys - posted on 03/09/2012

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I have a 6 yr old that has adhd he has his med and goes to bed around 8pm and then he back up again at 1 30-2 am and stays up til its time for to go to school. then he dont want to get dressed and go to school he would say he hates school. Ive tryed everything to get him back to sleep and the dr says he cant do any thing more.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/10/2011

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Institute a rule of ..as long as you stay in your room and are quiet you can stay up a little later. Make sure his room has a bare minimum of anything remotely fun. Perhaps remove all toys if there are any.


Maybe it has become a power struggle and this could relieve it a bit.

Rachel - posted on 09/04/2011

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my 10 year old step kiddo's bed time is 9 and my son who's 2 and a half's bed time is 8. They share a room so i put the little one down first. we have the same routine every night so he usually goes down with in the hr. Then the bigger one gets his bedtime routien started at 8:30 and then is in bed by 9 and usually falls asleep before 10. Both of them are allowed to read to go to bed. if they were good for the day we let them watch 30 min of tv in bed. Its really important to do the same thing and the same time the same way everyday. exspecially for kids with ADD or behavorial problems

Nelly - posted on 09/04/2011

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I have 4 kids ages 16, 14, 12 and 10 yr old and my 2 oldest go to bed at 8:30 and my 2 youngest go to bed at 8:00

Terri - posted on 09/04/2011

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If he is taking a nap then get rid of it. Make sure you wake him about ten hours after you put him to bed at eight. Keep doing this and he will eventually sleep at eight. you should also have a routine at night that you stick with. We do bath at seven, then lights down with low noise, brush teeth go potty then a couple of books. Lights off then sleep

Casey - posted on 09/01/2011

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I completely agree with Melissa. My 6.5 year old is in bed at 7 weeknights, and 7.30 on weekend nights (she gets to watch the simpsons at 7 on fri and sat. NO TV in her room, especially never to put her to sleep to. I the summer months she stays up until about 8, because its so bright in her room, but she is still in bed a 7.00 -7.30 reading quietly. :)

Lilliana - posted on 08/31/2011

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I am currently having the same problem with my 5 and 7 y.o. It doenst help that they share a room, and talk to each other when they cant fall asleep....but thats how Its always been. We are 3 weeks into school, and im hoping their summer excitement will soon disappear and they will go back to sleeping by 8:30 like they did once apon a time. I found that if I wake them up at the same time every morning (wich is 7 including weekends) they will soon get back to falling asleep by 8:30. Sometimes its harder for us parents to keep consistent witht this time than it is for the kiddos :) I hope this helped!

Alison - posted on 08/30/2011

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What time do you put your kid to bed Melissa? I think my daughter needs to go to bed earlier. She starts getting really cuddly and needy at like 6 or so.

Danielle - posted on 11/08/2010

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I posted about a year ago and now a year later my little guy is now 6 and a half and in school full time and now he goes to bed on time and on weekends is allowed to watch a movie on my dvd player in bed. I know its frustrating but i think its just one of those phases. At 8 he brushes his teeth then bathroom break we read a book and no more problems.

Kristen - posted on 11/08/2010

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I have a 4 years old with the same problem I start putting her tp bed between 7;30 - 8 and at 9:30 -10 she just starting to drift off

Amy - posted on 01/30/2009

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I have a 6 year old daughter who I used to have the same problem with. My greatest suggestion is if he has a TV in his room take it out! I thought my doctor was crazy when he first told me that but it has worked wonders. She used to be up 2-3 hours after I put her in bed, now she is asleep within 15 minutes, no problems EVER! I will admit it was rough the first week or so but after that it was smooth sailing. I also read to her or let her read to me for 30 minutes before bedtime. This helps calm her down enough to go to bed. Good luck!

Melissa - posted on 01/29/2009

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This advice may sound crazy, but here me out.  PUT YOUR CHILD TO BED EARLIER!  Here's why... think of how hard it is for you to fall asleep when you're sleep deprived.  You drag yourself through the day exhausted from not sleeping well at night and think that once you get to bed you're going to sleep like a rock, only to toss and turn for hours wondering why you can't sleep.  The same thing is happening with your child.  At first I was a complete unbeliever about this theory, but I tried it with my 5-yr old son and it worked! Putting him to bed a half hour earlier made all the difference.  He fell asleep faster, slept longer and deeper and now is a much happier kid during the day!  I got this wonderful advice through a book my doctor told me to read called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.  I can't even tell you how much that book changed sleep habits around our house for the benefit of all of us!  Try it - promise it will work!

Danielle - posted on 01/29/2009

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My son is also  5 years old and he too has a hard time falling asleep. He was up until 11:30 the other night. In and out of his bed.  I usually tell him to go lay down and I'll be in in 10 minutes to check on him.  Sometimes he's sleeping by the time 10 minutes is up. 

Danielle - posted on 01/29/2009

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I have a soon to be 5 year old and for as long as i can remember he would never go to bed before 10-10:30, we tried different things. We tried the lavendar bath stuff and such but did nothing. Finally we decided come 8-8:30 the three of us would go in his room and do something quiet and relaxing (coloring, stories) then 10 min before bed, pj's and teeth were done. Get him bed for 9, read one more book and he was good to go.

Adele - posted on 01/29/2009

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Bath with him and add some chamomile or lavendar oil. Massage him with some lavendar oil mixed with a carrier oil (almond or tissue), have some quiet time for e.g. play a game (not one that is too stimulating) e.g. I spy or describe and guess. Then story time, greet, kiss & then move away. Each time he gets up put him back to bed first 2 times reiterate that its bed time after that dont speak to him. Keep at it for a couple of nights he will soon get the message. Mum means business

Melissa - posted on 01/28/2009

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we have a 6yr old boy who fights tooth and nail at bed time, but he is getting better. We have a routine that we try to follow everyday, but you know sometimes it falls apart! We do baths at 7-7:30 then stories and her gets in bed at 8. He is now sleeping by 8:30. We tell him that he can read in bed or play with a toy until 8:15 and at 8:30 the light goes out. That I think is the thing that got him to get to sleep because he doesn't like the light off so he wants to be sleeping before then! The other younger two go to sleep right off if they didn't nap all day...then they are up until 9-9:30! We also use sleepy time music and that helps them all settle, even works on my husband! There is also a cd called 'Yoga Buddies" and that has simple yoga moves that can be used before bed to relax the child and another set of moves for morning to get them moving.

Melissa - posted on 01/28/2009

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My 6 year old and 22 month old are exactly the same way. My 22 month old is a little worse though. I have a routine, but it never seems to work. I put them to bed at 7:30pm cause we have to be up at 7:30am to get ready for school. My 6 year old usually falls asleep at about 9:30pm and I have to wake her up in the morning. My 22 month old however doesn't usually fall asleep until 10:30pm and she is usually up herself between 6-7am and She only naps for maybe an hour a day. It drives me nuts. I have tried almost everything. I would completely take away my 22 month olds nap, but when she doesn't get it she is absolutely unbearable by about 3pm. I agree with Julia if he doesn't seem tired during the day and is focused and not always in a daze I wouldn't worry too much. When I tried to talk to my pediatrician about my girls she told me that some kids just don't need as much sleep as others.

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My 5yo daughter is up until 10 on school nights. She's not tired during the day, sometimes she'll fall asleep before 9:30, but as long as she isn't tired I see no problem. If you think he's getting enough sleep, I wouldn't worry too much. Maybe use the 8-10 time for 'winding down' with a book, or drawing, or other quiet activities. Good for you though, setting it up this early in life will probably make it easier for bedtime as he gets older.

Manouchka - posted on 01/28/2009

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My daughter is six and I have the same problem with her at times. Sometimes i'll let her set the timer on her television for an hour and once it goes off she knows its time to go to sleep. Doesn't always work though....

Christine - posted on 01/28/2009

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I know with our two sons, routine is one of the most important things we have in our arsenal. No matter what, the fun stuff (whatever it is) stops at a designated time in our house, and the bedtime routine starts. It includes changing clothes, medicine/vitamines, washing up/brushing teeth, a story, hugs and kisses and lights out. The whole routine gives them that transition time and also time to settle down. You can put any quieter activity into the routine, but a dependable routine is key. If you don't have that now, the lights-out-and -all-asleep-part will be hard at first, but change in my house is usually accomplished by a week if WE stick to it. Good luck with whatever you try. Remember, when you try something, he's not going to like it, but you'll have to stick with it for a while to see if it works. Now that I think of it: Is he getting a nap during the day? My younger one does and could often be up at that hour as well, but knows there's no hope in that. Anyway, good luck.

Clare - posted on 01/28/2009

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my son is 5 i put him to bed at 7 let him pick 1 dvd to watch and then when its finished its time for lights of do that every night then he will get use to it good luck

Heatherlee - posted on 01/28/2009

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My daughter is also 5 and she can be the same way. Unfortunately, the possible difference between your son and my daughter is she still sleeps with me. I know, I know, but when it's just her and I what's the big deal. And I might as well suck it up now, before she gets too old and dosen't want anything to do with me anyway. LOL!



Well maybe try laying down with him until he falls asleep. Sometimes that helps with my daughter. And it's a slight break for you as well. If that doesn't work; I put a movie in for her and set the sleep timer on her tv about 30 minutes. I tell her that when the tv goes off that means its time to go to sleep. She usually falls asleep with in that time. Well just two suggestions to possibly try. Hope this helps. Good Luck!

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