Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Sleep Or To Play - Tough Call for a Two Year Old

Last month on facebook I posted this:

"Question for all those with kids- once they were in beds they could get out of how did you get them to sleep and not play at nap/ bed time? He is doing my head in!!!"

Well the good news is (touch wood) - we appear to be back to normal and he is usually asleep within 20 minutues of us saying good night. How did we manage this I here you asking? Two things:

1. We went on holidays. Not sure if the change in environment actually made a difference, but the first night we were away (at my parents farm) he went to bed like a dream.

2. Removed all the toys from his room with the exception of the ones he sleeps with. Now that sounds like mean mummy tactics - but he does sleep with a woody doll, buzz doll, soft Lighting McQueen, soft Mater, frog cuddly blanket, and also about 6 hard Cars toys, plus 2 torches, and a Percy torch - so the child is not really without toys, it is just that now he does not have every single toy he owns which inevitable ended up dumped on the floor. Only down side of this is that the lovely ikea shelf / storage set I bought less than 2 months ago now looks like this,
  and the playroom looks like this.

Hopefully as he "matures" we will be able to introduce the toys back into this room

Interestingly enough, just as he got back to normal, I read this article by A Mom with a Lesson Plan (via Modern Parents Messy Kids) about letting your kids decide when they want to go to bed. This is essentially what we have done. We do the nighttime routine of dinner, bath, story and then say good night, but let him play for as long as he wants and he eventally goes to sleep like a dream (touch wood!). I now also do the same for his bed time nap. Sometimes he will end up just playing in his room for 2 hours, othertimes he will have a 2 1/2 hour plus nap. And i have stopped going in every 10 minutes telling him to go to sleep which just ended up annoying the both of us.
Have you got any tips you can share on more peaceful bedtimes? If you want to read about some other bedtime / night time antics by little ones - head over to Amanda's Homely One blog for a bit of a giggle (sorry Amanda!) and to offer her some advice


  1. Hi Kate, sorry about the new Ikea storage it looked great with bins in tack. I read Amanda's blog about the princess in nocturnal dressing up modes, very funny indeed! I would try letting his body tell him when he is tired, sounds like he needs to get his body clock sorted after the holiday (me thinks) x Roberta

  2. I laughed when I saw your link to my blog at the bottom of this post as Grace's latest antics immediately sprang to mind when I read your first line :) When Grace moved from a cot to a bed around 2, she didn't seem to realise she could actually get out of bed, it was like she thought she was still in the cot and she would sit on the bed when she woke and call out for me :) All that changed eventually however and she discovered she was free to get out and about and play :)

    As you know, I've been having similar battles with Grace. I used to battle with the nap too and now, I'm at the stage where if she naps she does and if she doesn't it's fine by me (so long as she's playing quietly in her room and doesn't disturb Sophie). I've given up going in there and telling her off and like you describe, more often than not, I find her fast asleep (usually in her dress up costumes) mid-play. The other day I found her asleep in her wardrobe in her fairy costume :)

    As for night, after months of putting her to bed and then feeding Sophie and sorting her out, Sophie now goes down earlier and Grace is allowed to go to bed last. While I feed Sophie in the living room, Grace has some wind down time with a DVD. Then it's story and bed. I try to make sure it's lights out by 7.30 at the latest. Like adults though, I guess kids sometimes take time to fall asleep and get into that 'sleepy zone'.

    One thing that has helped us, is making sure Grace's toys are all packed away before bed rather than still out and scattered around her room.

    I love your son's fish on his bedroom wall!!



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