3 yr old bedtime issues

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PatienceW's picture
Joined: 08/06/08
Posts: 857
3 yr old bedtime issues

STILLL haveing issues with DS going to bed. He's now starting the "im hungry!" (repeatedly over and over) the other night he DID get up at 11 and ate a WHOLE bowl of cereal. but at the same time we can't get him to eat all of his dinner. then when its bedtime.. he's hungry. I dont knwo if he has learned this as a way to not go to bed (he wasn't hungry the half hour he was drawing on dry erase.... only when it was bedtime. I dont want to buy into it. but I also dont want him hungry (he will be waking me up in the middle of hte night) How do you tellt he difference???

Joined: 03/07/05
Posts: 1595

Honestly, does it really matter if he's hungry or not? My kids have gone to bed hungry before (having chosen not to eat dinner), and I can assure you that they survived! Smile Yes, there may have been screaming and crying involved, but they learned that it didn't work, and they simply ate a nice, big breakfast. It sounds like he's trying to control the situation, a very natural thing for a 3 year old to try and do. So, I would definitely NOT allow him to eat as a stalling tactic (which is what it is). I would have things in your nightly routine that he can somewhat control - he can pick a story to have you read, he can choose a stuffed animal to take to bed, etc. Try and have a VERY consistent bedtime routine for awhile, and DO NOT BUDGE!! Something like, PJs on, teeth brushed, 2 stories, hugs and kisses, and into bed (or whatever works for you). Don't allow for ANYTHING outside of the routine. Once he knows that it is what it is, he really will stop trying... I'm sorry you're still struggling with this. Bedtime "issues" are never fun!

sandraleigh's picture
Joined: 11/23/06
Posts: 2672

I agree, set a routine and stick to it. At our house you eat your supper, and you may not eat anything else until our "bedtime snack". (Otherwise ALL evening my DS1 will be asking for snacks. If he doesn't eat his supper, he is free to warm it up and eat it later). Bedtime snack is something plain and simple like a piece of bread or a slice of apple. That way I know they aren't starving.

My DS1 is all about "I have to go pee again" right now. Ugh. 3 year olds can be manipulative little buggers Wink Stick to your guns and soon he will remember that when he doesn't eat his supper, he will be hungry at bedtime. If you have a "no food" rule after a certain time and stick to it, hopefully it will sink in. And he won't starve Smile

PatienceW's picture
Joined: 08/06/08
Posts: 857

I know he won't starve..... (despite mommy feeling like SHE's going to!!!) its hard bc DH doesnt do the best at sticking to his guns. And DS is going to his Mom moms this weekend and that means any and all routines are going to be shot to heck... so I guess next week we will start hard core with him? SO here I sit deciding I NEED to get to bed get ready to stand up and hear him crying "momma! Momma!" SIGH. and I ahve to open the door bc I dont know if DH locked the cat in or not. SIGH. mommy just wants sleep!

Heatherbella's picture
Joined: 02/14/05
Posts: 4169

First off, he's old enough to know that things are different at your house than MIL's house, so start now. He's smart, he'll figure it out.

My daughter is big on a bed time snack, but there IS a cut off. Tonight she said she was hungry after she was in her pjs in bed. Nope, too late. Sorry! She accepted that answer.

Most days my daughter doesn't finish her dinner. She'll often ask for a snack after bath and then she gets given her dinner again. If she's hungry, she'll eat her dinner and she often does. The only time she gets new food is if she finishes her dinner (once ever 2 months) or if there isn't much of it left, I sometimes augment it.

We had a problem for a while with her coming out of her room, so she has a knob lock on her door. She behaved really well for a while so we took it off but then she got up 30 mins early one morning and wouldn't go back in her room, so she got the knob lock back on. Sorry, but it's bed time...stay in your room.

We have some stall tactics going on around here. She'll say mommy over and over just desperately trying to think of something to say. Sometimes it's "Why is your shirt pink?" or "Why are there monkeys on my monkey blanket?" I giggle at what she comes up with but it's all just a stall tactic. Normally I back out of the room as she's saying mommy and say "Goodnight Kennedy" over and over until I close the door. She gets it.

Good luck. It's SO hard right now. We have had to really buckle down on her behaviour because she was getting so bad. Just the other day I had to take her FAVORITE blanket away because she hit it with me. It hurt me to do it, but she was over it fast and I'm sure it hit home.

Joined: 08/25/10
Posts: 385

We still snuggle DD to bed, and it can sometimes take an hour to an hour and a half. I know it's ridiculous, but most of the time now she's lying there genuinely just taking a long time to fall asleep. Some of the time she's trying to play. We're playing around with naps and night time now, since she seems to nap early one day, then late the next day and so on. So we try to make her bed times a little adjusted for the length and time of her nap. She doesn't usually ask for a snack, but if she does - she's hungry. She will however make sure she pees before bed, even if she just went half an hour before. She needs that as part of her routine. So it's pee, pyjamas, brush teeth, then into bed for some songs and snuggles. Unless she's hyper, she won't fight that process anymore - just the time taking to fall asleep. But if he's already used to going to sleep by himself, then you should be okay.

Instead of him asking for a bedtime snack, could you offer him one while you read him a story or something? That way it will be incorporated into the routine instead of a stall tactic?

Heatherbella's picture
Joined: 02/14/05
Posts: 4169

"dinzy" wrote:

We still snuggle DD to bed, and it can sometimes take an hour to an hour and a half. I know it's ridiculous, but most of the time now she's lying there genuinely just taking a long time to fall asleep. Some of the time she's trying to play.

Oh my goodness! Wow. You're way more patient than me!

quonsetmom's picture
Joined: 10/10/12
Posts: 1559

We still snuggle dd too.

Joined: 03/07/05
Posts: 1595

I still snuggle Aidan most nights too - but it usually only takes 15 minutes or so. Some nights I just put him down on his own though, and he's asleep within about 5 minutes when I do that. I think the snuggling might be just as much for me as for him. Wink

PatienceW's picture
Joined: 08/06/08
Posts: 857

Finally got DS in bed... (I need to go soon bc I feel like crud) and I can hear him playing in his room. Which is ok bc in the past when he's done this he's eventually (no clue what time) gotten in bed himself and gone to sleep. the cat came back tonight which helps. As long as he's not coming out calling for me right now Im good with it....