When is bedtime?

United States
December 6, 2008 9:16pm CST
I have a wonderfully rambunctious little three year old boy. He has all of the energy of the Energizer Bunny and seems to only require a power nap to keep going and going...... I have tried coming up with a night time routine for this child so that he can be in bed at 8:30 andd hopefully off to dreamland by 9. Some nights (but not many) it works. The majority of the time I find that I hear him flipping around in his bed or I see a short little streak run past my bedroom and I have to keep getting up to put him back in bed. Since drugging him would be wrong.....what can I do to get this kid into bed at a decent hour?
1 person likes this
14 responses
• Canada
7 Dec 08
well there are a few different things taking experience from my 3 year old step son and my 3 year old neice. both VERY active children (must be the age :P). my neice, used to be a night owl, would sleep in late, take a nap, and be up til about midnight, later if she was allowed! finally my sister changed jobs and had to put my neice into daycare, it took about a week or so to get her into a better sleeping pattern but it was pretty easy. she was used to eating around 7pm, watching tv, winding down after 10 then her energy would run out later at night for bed. when my sister switched her times, she was eating at 530, was allowed to watch one show, then played around the house, at 830 she would have a glass of milk, read a book (sometimes take a bath instead) and be put to bed. at first my neice wouldnt have it, but after a full week of the same routine she was slowly getting used to it and now she is asleep by 9pm like clockwork. with my step son, he always woke up at the same time, but was used to watching tv til all hours of the night at his moms house so when he would come to our house he didnt want to sleep (even though we didnt let him watch nearly as much tv). but sadly the only way we coudl get him to sleep was that he didnt watch any tv period after dinner, we played games, and around 830/9 we would ask him what he wanted to do before bed but that he HAD to go to bed after... his answer was always "i want to watch spiderman' lol. so we had a tiny tv in his room. would get him in his pjs, give him some milk, turn off the lights and turn on spiderman. we had a timer on the tv so it shut off after half an hour, but it was more than enough time because 'his' show relaxed him so much that he was passed out after a few minutes. again i dont like using tv, but if it works it works right? i think you just need to try a few different things, but try it for a week at a time, kids just need a routine then usually they settle down :) hope this helps!
• United States
7 Dec 08
Thank you so much. I was just really frustrated because I was getting those oh-so-helpful snide remarks from my mother about my child not being in bed when she would call some evenings. I didn't really have this problem with any of my other children so I was at a loss for how to fix it.
• India
16 Dec 08
Hi luvbrown .. You have already received a lot of response from those haveing the same experience. i have two kids and from my experience one more thing i want to add is that do not force the kids to do anything as it creates a negative attitude to defy it. Just try to make him understand the thing you are expecting of him and have patience. May not be tomorrow, but after a few days he will come to the routine. I personally do not like viewing TV before going to bed as it delays sleeping and the child constantly thinks of the things he has seen in TV. Rather i feel it is better to make a habit of reading books. It helps to make the child creative and get knowledge. happy mylotting..
@tklich (391)
• United States
8 Dec 08
My son is 4 years old and he is VERY much so into routines. He's not a very happy camper if we get off track and our routine changes for one day! Our routine started when I got hired at my current job about a year and a half ago, where I have to work 8am-5pm Mon thru Friday. Before my schedule varied, so if I didn't haev to get up early in the morning, we would tend to stay up later at night. But now we're on a routine schedule. I get my son dressed for bed at about 9pm to get him in the thinking mode that bed time is near. I also tell him then that bed time is in 30 minutes. He's in this stage now too where he bases everything off of how many minutes or how many days are left, like we're counting down to the event. I then let him do what he wants for the last 30 minutes of the evening. Then at 9:30 I get him in the bathroom to brush his teeth, then we go to his room to read a couple bed time stories. He absolutely LOVES his bed time stories, and it is a harsh punishment to him if he's been naughty and I take his bed time stories away. I also think it's a good way to get him to settle down and relax. I hardly have any trouble with him not staying in bed. Maybe 50% of the time he complains for just a minute or so that he doesn't want to go to bed, but I figure that's pretty typical. Also maybe about 50% of the time he opens his door after he goes to bed, for whatever reason, and I have to go tuck him back in. I let him stay up later on the weekends, especially if we don't have to be up early for any reason, then he tends to sleep in later in the morning. He probably takes an afternoon nap 3 or 4 days out of a 7 day week. I think it's just all about routine and keeping to a schedule - that was the greatest advice I was ever given when he was first born and I was trying to get him to sleep through the night. Once I got him on a feeding schedule, his days fell into place and he started sleeping through the night! Good luck with getting your 3 year old into a routine :)
@Raven7317 (693)
• United States
7 Dec 08
My son is also very rembunctious, he's almost 3 1/2 and also does not require the recommended 12-13 hours per day of sleep. Here's what we did from the very beginning; we set a routine while at home, and stuck to it, no matter what! If we're home, he goes into his room at 2:00/2:30, whether he's tired or not. We started calling it "quite time" when it was clear that he was resisting "naptime." The attitude is, you can sleep, you can play, you can read or watch tv - as long as you do it in your room and you do it quietly. This works great! We do the same thing at bedtime, he gets his "go-go's and na-na" (cookies and milk), he gets to pick a movie and he goes in his room, usually by 8:45, no later than 9:00. One important thing I should mention; we didn't want to run into the problems with having an over-scheduled baby, so we did alot of things to get him to be very flexible and adaptive to OUR days/schedules. We loathed the idea that we couldn't live our lives just because we had a baby. We didn't want to be chained to the house so he could eat or nap like clockwork. We were very careful about this. WE have friends who have babies/toddlers that can't leave the house for longer than 2 hours at a time or who won't travel more than a few miles from home because their kids flip out if they aren't fed or napped on time, on cue, every day. We didn't want to live like that so we made sure our little one learned patience and flexibility very early on. For example, if I HAVE to be out of the house with him, esp. around his quiet time, I make sure I'll either be in the car for at least 45 minutes to an hour so he can nap or I let him sleep when we get home, but for a shorter time. He has school twice a week from 12:30 till 3:00 and we don't get home until 3:30, so he misses an hour of rest time. I still let him nap if he's tired, but never past 4:30. Yeah, sometimes he grouchy, but that's the way it has to be if I want him in bed by 9:00. The rule now that he's in a big boy bed, is the door can stay open if he stays in bed. If he gets up once, he's warned. The second time he gets up, I close the door. He's usually okay with this, it signals to him that it's time to rest. (there's an intercom in there so we can hear him throughout the house) There are most definitely days where nothing goes as hoped/planned/expected so we're all thrown off, but that's life! And please don't get me wrong, we do make every effort to accomodate him/his schedule FIRST, but it's also important for him to know that sometimes, he just has to adapt to the situation at hand. As a result, he'll sleep anywhere, he'll eat anywhere, he has a structure that he can count on (most days) and he understands that change can be good!
@trm820 (222)
• United States
7 Dec 08
Well with my two kids, what worked is that come a certain time, it was bath time. Say at about 7pm a bath had been given, then at about 8pm I would sit on the couch in the living room with them and watch some cartoons. Usually by about 9pm they would be drifting off to sleep.
• Philippines
7 Dec 08
I have the same problem with my little brother who is a special child. He manages to keep awake at late hours at night just to watch cartoon shows. Now the technique I did is to not let him take a nap during afternoons or for any part of the day and I let him drink warm milk at 9... 30 mins later hes in bed dreaming of disneyland... Hope this helps...
• Canada
7 Dec 08
Let your child choose what time they would like to go to bed. Just don't let them stay up too late!
@relundad (2312)
• United States
7 Dec 08
I think it basically comes down to structure and repetition. Just like adults if you have a non-structured, free spirited, relaxed day, you are more apt to not be as tired and ready for bed. When you have a productive fulfilling day, you don't need to look at a clock for bedtime, your body and brain tells you that its time to shut down for the night. Kids are the same way, if he still has a lot of energy at the end of the night then you probally need to put some fillers in his day. Integrate slots in his day that will challenge him both physically and mentally. I am not sure if he is home during the day or night. If he is home during the day, you may want to have his nap earlier in the day or shorten the time of his nap. You could also integrate maybe a evening walk or stroll, that would also give you an outlet for some exercise if you need it. You can start heightening his learning environment. You have to make sure that when you ask him to go to bed that the house is not like partytime. It will be hard for him to go to bed if he feels like a lot of activity is going on. Practice becomes habit.
@qianbei (39)
• China
7 Dec 08
this question is good for us to have a serious view,especialy foy young people ,because some young people think they have a health body ,so they care less about their health ,sometimes they like sleep very late,and get up until they want to get his lunch ,but this problem wouldn't happen to old people ,because they have more experinces
@sarawaken (360)
• Malaysia
7 Dec 08
my bedtime is the time my hubby need me
• India
7 Dec 08
Ya making small children grow big is really a good task and at the same time a very difficult task but still we can enjoy doing that work it is really worth thank you
@lynnemg (4540)
• United States
7 Dec 08
This is the age when I have intentionally kept my kids up all day and stopped allowing them to nap. It helped me get them to bed at a decent hour. If they are awake all day long, by the time they are done eating supper and have a bath, normally they are ready to go to sleep. If that doesn't work, here's another trick that has also worked for me on those occassions when routine was changes and they ended up napping during the day. I would turn off as many lights in the house as I could, and make it as dim as possible, turn the television way down, and had my kids lay down to watch a movie or just television in general. After only a little while, they become very calm and end up starting to fall asleep. Sometimes, I would wait until I knew they were out before putting them in bed, but most of the time, I would gently and quietly lead them to their room and tuck them in.
@Sillychick (3282)
• United States
7 Dec 08
Set up a routine that is soothing and relaxing. Be consistent. Try to do only calm, quiet activities for at least 30 minutes before bed. When he gets up, put him back in bed and remind him that it is bed time. You can't make him sleep, but you can tell him he has to stay in bed. Once you establish a routine, he will get used to it and start to become used to going to bed at that time. It may take a week or two of being consistent and doing the same things in the same order every night. It should be at the same time, but some flexibility is good- a few minutes earlier or later is fine, but close to the same time. Have some patience, and it will get easier.
• United States
7 Dec 08
I think that bedtime is the time when let him stay up so late that he'll want to sleep for a long time its like waking up but want wanting to go back to sleep