Thank you all for your advice, sympathy and support with Brendan’s sleeping habits. From friends, to aunts, parents, and co-workers. It seems that most parents have been through this or a similar situation with at least one of their children. It’s nice to know we are not alone and this too passes.
I am happy to say that last Tuesday night was the worst of it. However, we are not through it yet. Going to bed is still hard, but Brendan is getting more used to the idea that bedtime means bedtime. We have been consistent with our bedtime routine every night. Bath at about 8:00, brush our teeth, get dressed for bed, get a drink of water, tucked under the covers, say a prayer, sing a song, and off to sleep. Unfortunately, he is still testing us by getting out of bed a couple of times each night, but the first time we take him by the hand, lead him back to bed and cover him back up. After that, we don’t get up but just tell him to go back to bed so as to not encourage him to think that if he keeps getting out, he will get more of attention from Mom and Dad.
We really do appreciate your advice; the biggest thing we got was to be consistent. Spanking does not work in this situation. It makes no difference to him if he is spanked or if we just send him back to bed, we get the same reaction either way, so we just sit there and send him back to bed so that he doesn’t get a rise or extra attention for misbehaving. Others advised to lock him in his room until he learns he has to stay in his bed. Unfortunately, Brendan’s door is “broken” in that it does not latch all the way, so we would have to install a new door handle and/or lock on his door. Instead, when he really isn’t getting it and settling down, we will lock our door. Since Brendan only wants to get to us and not other places in the house, locking him out of our room seems to work. He will cry, knock on our door and eventually go back to his bed and fall asleep.
This process seems to be working for us. Every night gets a little easier as well as nap time. I hope that he will get used to this routine soon and we will not have to play this game anymore. Until then, we have learned to be patient; there is no point in getting upset, angry or stressed about it. Eventually he will go to sleep!