Amy - posted on 07/18/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )
We just moved our 3 year old into a new bedroom and twin sized bed because we're expecting another baby. Before, he was in his crib-turned-day bed with a railing so he didn't roll out, and he rarely climbed out of that bed although he knew he could. We've had a very consistent and successful bedtime routine, and he's been very excited about his baby sister coming and moving into a "big boy" room. A few days before we moved him, he started acting up at bedtime. We thought it was because he'd taken a nap too late in the afternoon and he wasn't tired, but I think I've ruled that out because he continues to do this even if he hasn't napped, or took a short nap early in the day at daycare. He's pretty cooperative with our usual bedtime routine, but when we take him into his room, he just climbs up into his bed and starts jumping around and playing. We're stern with him and tell him he needs to lay down and rest; I've offered to read him an extra book in bed; offered to sit next to him; we've threatened him with consequences; we've even tried physically holding him down. He thinks it's all a game, although he whines if we try to hold him down and says he'll lay there, but as soon as we let him go, he's back up. I know we can't force him to sleep, but I don't know what to do. His old room had a lock on the outside, so on rare occasions if he wouldn't stay in bed, we'd use that as a last resort. I hate doing it because I don't want him to associate his room with being punished, but this new room doesn't have a lock anyway and he can get over a baby gate. If we shut the door, he just gets out of bed and starts pulling out all his toys and slamming his fire truck into the door, etc. I've heard of people who just let the child do whatever in there until they pass out, and I guess that's an option as a last resort for us, but I'd rather not because I know he'll be awake for a long time and completely destroy his room. It's so important that he gets to bed on time because I work 10 hour shifts (every other week) and he's in daycare at my work. So I have to wake him up at 6:30am, and we don't get home until 6:30pm. We have to get him fed, bathed, into PJs, through his bedtime routine and into bed within 1-1 1/2 hours. I know that's super rushed but it's never been a problem until now. It's so important that he falls asleep around 8pm so he can get 10 1/2 hours of sleep, which even that isn't quite enough. My husband and I are at our wits ends and don't know what to do to improve the situation. Any advice or comments would be appreciated!