BIG problems getting my kids to go to sleep on time!

Karen - posted on 04/26/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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My 3 kids are driving me crazy! I had them on a good routine of bedtime for months. Then I had to take a 2nd shift job for a few months (Dec.-Feb.) and all heck has broke loose. my husband was the one putting them tobed everynight and he had no problems except they would talk quitely for a long time. I had to quit my job, and he is now on 2nd shift. We do the routine we used to but they are now playing until 10-11:30 at night. I am pregnant with my 4th one and am so exhausted. I'm getting ready to start a part time job and need to be able to get my rest at night. So I got stricter, they are grounded this week and not allowed to play outside unless they are asleep by no later than 9:00pm. I know it's going to take some time to get to sleep by 8:30 so I figured I'd start with 9pm. They still play loud, laugh, run in and out of their room, and just plain refusing to go to sleep. If they are up past 9pm they have to go to bed an hour early for every hour they are up. My oldest thinks it's funny and actually laughs at me while i remind him. I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do. Maybe I'm being too strict. I don't know. My parents weren't that good at disciplining me and its really making it hard for me to learn how to do it. Like i said before, they used to go to bed just fine and be asleep within 15-30 min. tops.

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Natalie - posted on 10/30/2012

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My 9 yr old can't sleep at the same time as my 5 yr old because she needs less sleep. They do share a room so what I do is I put my 5 yr old to sleep, while my 9yr old stays in my bed and reads during this time. When her younger sister falls asleep, I tell my 9yr old that is enough of reading, she moves to her bed, lights off except the night light we have agreed on. When I see my kids hyper before bedtime, I make them a chamomile tea to calm them down.

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Rebecca is right, you cannot make them fall asleep by a certain time, but you can say "no more talking or getting out of bed after 8:15"



One other thing that might help...You don't need a full 2 hour routine. If you are too tired it will not be relaxing anyway and you may end up stressing them out inadvertently. You said they have a tendency to start playing when they put on their PJ's and get a second wind. Just move PJ time up a little bit and allow for a short play session after PJ's are on....so Shower, play (still like the no electronics rule though--the flashing light can disrupt sleep patterns), then book, then bed. You do not need to help them into their PJ's or play with them, and reading the book (same book for all 3) will only take a few minutes. That way your entire evening is not consumed with bedtime routine.

Rebecca - posted on 02/08/2012

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You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Likewise, you can put your child to bed but you can't make them sleep. Concentrate less on when your child is going to sleep and more on creating a routine for them. Make sure your children get up at the same time every morning and go to their room for bed every night. Limit what they have access to in their room. Take out most the toys. I know a toy box in the middle of livingroom is annoying, but it's worth the sleep. We were in an 850sq. ft. 2 bedroom apartment when i started this with my son. Replace lightbulbs with low wattage bulbs so the light is very dim. Allow books and a flashlight. They can read by flashlight or play quietly with one or two toys They may leave their room to go to the bathroom or get a drink from a special cup kept on the bathroom sink. Build the routine so they aren't leaving a favored activity to go straight to bed. At the same time every night, have them pick up their toys. Then into the tub. Then a cuddle and a book or two with mommy. Then bed time. Allow them some choices like what pajamas to wear or what books to read. Remind them they don't have to go to sleep, but they do have to stay in their room. Remind them that if they do not, you will have to take away (insert favorite item or activity here) the following day. For my son, it was tv shows on the wiimote. Do not yell. Do not stress. Remain calm and constant. It will take a few days at least for them to adjust to the schedule and to realize you are serious about taking away that item. Once the schedule is set, both at night and in the morning, you will find that not only does bedtime get easier for you, but your child behaves better. It was tough at first for me to get up at 7 to get my son up on the weekends, but the results were astounding. Within a week of starting this (I started on a weekend because my son was in school) my son was not only going to bed at night without the arguments, but was so much better behaved during the rest of the day that even his teachers commented on the change. Children are more ruled by instinct than we are. Their bodies will try to get the right amount of food and sleep naturally. The schedule will accustom their bodies to sleep at a certain time and wake at a certain time. Also remember that the "blue screen" that is the background for televisions and computers interrupts sleep patterns in the brain, preventing your child (or you!) from falling asleep as well as preventing the deep restorative sleep you and your child need. So, no tv or computer three hours before going to sleep.

Samantha - posted on 04/26/2011

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Just a suggestion of course, but what if you were to sit them down and explain that for each night they stay up past their scheduled bedtime they will go to bed a half hour or an hour before their siblings. This is something that worked for my family. Good luck.

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Mary - posted on 10/27/2012

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I have 2 kids and it is difficult at times to get them to bed but it is consistancy that helps. If things are the same they get in the rutine. My oldest has to earn his game time by doing homework or chores so it has value. He also gets it taken away if he doesn't go to bed. I have no T.V. this includes video games for 30-45 minutes before bedtime. Glass of warm milk and and warm bath I read a story to youngest wial oldest is in bath. I play instermental music to sooth the mind during reading. If they still fight sleep I take games away the longer they argue more time starts but they have to be extra good to get a shorter sentance of grounding. They have to value whatever activity that you take away.

Casey - posted on 03/07/2012

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Ashlin is allowed to read quietly from 7 - till 7.30pm, then we go in and will read her a story, then its lights out and bedtime. She wouldn't dream of getting out of bed and running around, because she knows she'd be in big trouble. My advice is to find your oldest childs 'currency' what is he really passionate about, what does he love the most? Take is away, no yelling or anything, and just say, until you can behave like a big kid and go to bed and stay there you wont get it back. Or what my sister is doing is a star chart, if her son goes to bed, stays there and sleeps, she lets him have one 'late night' with a movie. If he doesn't get 7 stars in a row, he doesn't get it.

Rebecca - posted on 03/02/2012

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A child that age age needs between nine and a half and ten and a half hours of sleep. So figure out what time you would like her to get up and count back ten and a half hours. Put her to bed at that time every night for two weeks. If at the end of that time, she is getting up early, then you can either keep her bedtime the same or move her bedtime forward. Some children need some extra alone time to be able to fall asleep. My son is in his room no later than 8 every night. He gets up every morning at 7. He just needs that extra hour and a half to wind down.

User - posted on 02/10/2012

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I think we all go through this period in our children's lives. I find that my 8 yr old attempts at some level of independence rather frustrating, at times. However, we did establish, earlier on in his life, a routine. He knows what's expected of him, and since he has been following this routine all his life, therefore it's easier for him to follow. However, he will try and break the rules, but we keep him line by taking away priviledges.

My 2 yr old is a different story. She's a fiesty little brat. Keeping her as active as possible during the day helps in reducing the tantrums when it's time for bed. She demands that we read her at least 5 books before she hops into bed. So, that's at least a good compromise.

Karen - posted on 02/09/2012

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Thanks for all the ideas. i took all their toys out of their room and locked them up until they stopped playing at bedtime. Well after 2 weeks we got 3 good nights. So the toys came back and 2 days later they are back to playing! Ugh. I'm starting to think you guys are right. Maybe I should do bath, play, book ect. I should focus more on the routine. Parenting can be rough when you weren't parented. I was allowed to stay up till I couldn't stay awake anymore lol.

Karen - posted on 04/26/2011

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they are 7, 6 and 4 yrs. old. Maybe i'm just being impatient. I do tell them every morning and every night why they need their sleep and why it's important for us all. I remind them frequently about what will happen if they don't go to sleep on time and they understand. I think their biggest problem is that they have a habit of automatically playing when they are getting their pajamas on and it's like they hit their 2nd wind even after i have gotten them to calm down. i have to find some way to get them to brake that habit. another problem is they all 3 share the same room. 2 of them in a double bed and 1 in a twin size. i will try changing the routine back to the 2hr. routine we used to have (6:00pm started baths, no more drinks, onlycoloring/drawing/reading, story time, and lights out.) and stick with my rules. I've been so tired and lazy (pregnant) that I made up an easier routine but maybe that's why they are giving me such a hard time.

Christie - posted on 04/26/2011

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I agree with the others ~ You CAN get back to routine. Tell the kids it isn't funny, you are responsible for their well being, and routines are important, so they will learn to follow it and respect the house rules. They will adjust ~ just be firm. You can start winding down early with a routine like reading a book, as suggested, or something else quiet. Computers/videos actually stimulate kids brains so are hard to shut down after. My kids have had an 8 p.m. bedtime for years. We are just now getting to 8:30 and they are quite a bit older (7, 10, 13). I am tough! :)

Jamie - posted on 04/26/2011

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I have two little ones, two jobs, part time student, single mom.. I feel ya. LOL I make a game out of it. Every night is the same regardless of what i have going on. 8:00 is bedtime for us. They get a book each of their choice for story time and then they pick two toys. We give kisses and hugs and then it's lights out We make weekly trips to the library just for this. It took a while but it's been the same for the last year and it's worked. You'll get there again!

Valerie - posted on 04/26/2011

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you had them on a schedule before and you will again...there have been a lot of changes for them too...how old are they...can you sit down and talk with them about how you are feeling and what you need...and what would help them to go to bed on time

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