Bedtime Meltdowns

Parenting is tough.

There you go, some honesty right there. But usually in our household we had it quite easy. So I thought I would share this experience from this week and some of the advice I had from facebook friends about it in the hope it will help some of you too!

Me: Two nights of major meltdowns at bedtime. After having perfect days until Fizz is told it’s bed. Tonight actual screaming at us. Ended in no bedtime story and me discussing with her why we should be nice to each other, not scream at each other and not make each other feel sad. 

Fizz: Now daddy isn’t reading my story and now I won’t have special dreams.

Now you are sad does that mean you are going to live with your mummy in the stars.

With baby brother on way and I can’t do as much could be finally having an affect. She has been such a calm little girl about it. A few bedtime grumbles but never screaming at us.

The second night once I explained why she apologised and went to bed fine but it was the screaming then calming her down enough to get her to see why it was happening. Once she understood what I explained back to fine again! Went to bed in 5 minutes calm as anything!

Any other suggestions moving forward?

Friends replied

Sarah: You could try giving her a timing warning (say 10min) then setting an alarm (with her) so she can know when its bed time?

Nancy: Decide how you will approach it and stick to your guns. Whether that be making bedtime happen or relaxing and letting her be with you/sleep with you. Early beds equally important irrespective of whether it’s you or she that needs it. (And maybe it’s not important if she can sleep in in the mornings and isn’t suffering)? 

Elizabeth: Do you think she is worried or scared about something? Having bad dreams? Could you do some playing or drawing to get her to let you know if something is worrying her? She’s got a lot going on she may not fully understand. Sounds like she might be worried, bless her little heart. Lots of reassurance and mummy cuddles (as usual) should set her right.

Faye:  She’s 4. And a life is about to change with baby and school. Tell her no more Frozen, that should do the job.

Claire: Kids can sense change is afoot. The old fashioned sitting in quietly with her until she drops off has worked with both of mine, a couple of days of that and routine is back. That’s if you get her in the bedroom in the firstplace of course

Fiona: I am finding mg more and more that my two respond to rewards rather than me being cross with them. If they do something wrong or bad I just let them know how disappointed I am. Children go through stages and I find that each stage needs to have a different approach.

Leslieanne: Almost a year to the day, i could have written the some thing! My advice would be try not to read too much into it. Kids are sneaky and know all the right things to say to tug at your heart if it means getting what they want when D started playing bedtime wars. I spent weeks trying to get to the root of it before realising he was just pushing boundaries and seeing how far he’d get! In the end, we wrote down a bedtime routine (in picture form), and he got a sticker for everytime he stuck to it with no hassle. 7stickers in a row = small treat, stroppy bedtime = start from zero again! As a rule, nowadays bedtime is no big deal apart from a few days after the hols when he’s getting back into routine (we’re sloppy with rules when there’s no school!) Whatever you decide, stick to it – messing with the rules will just confuse her and probably lead to more grief!

Dawn: She’s just trying to hang in to every moment of being an onliest child, I can see why she’d want to do that. She doesn’t understand what she’s doing or why and talking too much about it will just confuse her more. I’d start backing off a little. It’s a big sacrifice for you to make but it’ll be less of a shock to Fizz when the new baby comes.

NOW can you see that as parents we have all experienced this and have a very similar suggestion in how to deal with it. Last night we counted down 1/2 hour, 10 minutes and 5 minutes. A little grumble each time but nothing compared to the previous 2 nights.

What would you have suggested?

1 Comment

  1. Amy
    June 16, 2014 / 12:39 pm

    I always give warnings – “half an hour until bed time”…then “after this it’s bed time” followed by “this will be finished in 5 minutes and then it’s bedtime like a good boy for mummy” and finally “Right OK time for bedtime and two stories for being such a good boy” – I also set the alarm on my iphone and tell him that when mummy’s phone starts to ring it’s time for bed. I always give him plenty of warning, I tell him that he’s being such a good boy and he’s ever so pleased with himself. That said, we still have tantrums every now and then and I’m expecting more when he settles into being a sibling. I always “reward” good behaviour at bedtime with stories and tantrums are talked about like what you did with no stories (if it gets that far – we always warn first that if behaviour continues there will be no bedtime stories) x

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