Kids Bedtimes, A Parents Nightmare


As I reflect on the last ten years with our boys, I have been resurrecting some thoughts I wrote in their earlier years and decided to post some of them here. This is the first one, bedtime…

Since daylight savings nearly two months ago, bedtimes in this household have descended into an absolute nightmare.

The boys (three years old) will be calm and quiet until the moment I close the door and then they suddenly become dynamos – they climb in and out of their cribs, run around the room, pull stuff from drawers, pull pictures from the wall, jump, scream, fight.

Worst of all, they pee repeatedly on the carpet (and laugh) and jump off the five foot high dresser.

After an hour, sometimes more, they crash in tears after someone has been bitten or hurt and then will finally soothe themselves to sleep.

It makes no difference how I respond to them, the moment I am out the door, they are off.

They are definitely tired – they can be falling asleep on my lap while reading a book, yet be wide awake a few minutes later. We have had the same bedtime routine for months and they have always been good self soothers yet suddenly it doesn’t work.

I have tried: singing to them, staying in their room while they fall asleep, being angry, going back in their room at regular intervals, not going in at all (really hard),  longer naps, no naps, waking them an hour earlier, putting them to bed an hour later, running their feet off during the day, threatening them with “baby” diapers, making their room pitch black, stripping their room, taking sides off the cribs, putting a potty in their room (they just wee in it then sprinkle the contents around the room…and laugh), and telling them they just need call if they need the potty.

Does anyone have any more ideas or theories as to why this is happening?

Any book recommendations?

The ones I’ve read have been hopeless – “try establishing a bedtime routine that is quiet and soothing” – bit like the advice (when you’re suffering horrendous vomiting 24/7) to have a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning; totally inadequate.

These people clearly live in a parallel universe to the one I inhabit.

Has anyone has this problem and put them in separate bedrooms? Has anyone even had this problem?

I am seriously losing my mind over this and find myself longing for the days when all I had to worry about was whether I would get one or two hours of sleep in one stretch. It’s 9.30pm and they’re currently seeing who can scream the loudest. They’ve been up since 6am.

I want them to be asleep!!!!

If you are reading this and have boy babies, be frightened, be very, very frightened…”

Find out why I became too frightened to go to the grocery store and how my three-year-old taught me that his vocabulary contained a word that rhyme with ‘truck.’

Have you had this experience? Do you find yourself with problems that even a library of parenting books doesn’t cover. Let me know in the comments!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

sangjmoon February 21, 2011 at 8:12 am

It sounds like they don’t fear the consequences of their actions. I see you talk about trying things but I don’t sense that you are actually punishing them. In these cases, usually the father will have to be the bad guy and administer spanking at the time the problem occurred explaining why they are being spanked and then explain if they do it again, they will be spanked more and follow through. Don’t spank out of anger, and always follow through on the punishment after warning to give it when they cross a specified line. They need to understand that there are consequences when then cross a specific line.


Mainstay Ministries
March 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I’ve shared it on my facebook account, and let’s see what my friend mommies think.


Lauren May 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

After I’d *killed* them (hyperbole, naturally) I’d be inclined to try separating, and perhaps crib tents. Calm modelling is great, but, yeah, straight-up punishment looks necessary; you’d have to know what they consider punishment though – for my kid it’s closing the door, which is clearly not helpful in this case!
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Alison Golden May 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm

That was indeed the outcome. I’d really resisted the whole idea of separating them – being twins, bonded and all, plus we’d lose our spare bedroom but I put up a pack ‘n’ play in the second room at nap time, put one of them in it and the other in his regular crib and off they went to sleep, just like that. It was like the most simplest of miracles. There’s was no going back after that and they are still in those two same rooms today…
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