So The Boy likes to hop out of bed repeatedly of an evening, as – I believe – many (most?) children do. In fact I do remember doing this myself on many occasions (apologies Mater, only now do I realise my sins) though it seemed entirely reasonable at the time.
The Man and I tried a few tactics for dealing with this, from Supernanny’s patented “Back to bed, darling” (the ‘darling’ usually uttered through tightly gritted teeth), to sitting in the room with him and a wonderful childrens’ meditation CD called Calm Kids, Bedtime Meditations For Kids. All of these were, ultimately successful, but only in conjunction with one, critical, crucial, vital element: that of complete and utter exhaustion.
Yes, turns out when your three year old is totally knackered they will actually go to sleep in their own bed… after 20 minutes or so of pratting about. Some days this is about the only reason I can get myself to leave the house, because the boy needs at least two good walks a day.
In fact, having a young child is so much like owning a dog that I thought I’d write out a list of the similarities – please chip in if I’ve forgotten anything:
– needs regular exercising
– often have to clean up their excrement
– runs off indiscriminately after something exciting
– is safer on a lead
– responds well to treat training/bribery
– likes to unravel loo rolls
– steals food
– will eat all day if allowed
– likes to chew and slobber on stuff
– can often be seen running off with your shoes
– steals toys from other dogs/children
In fact I may just re-christen The Boy ‘Andrex’ after his TV doppleganger…
So my current bedtime tactic actually starts much earlier in the day when I begin my arduous task of wearing out a human being who, despite being less than half my size, has about 100 times more energy.
Not to diss the Meditation CD, it’s fantastic and helps him to wind down – Christiane Kerr, who narrates it, has such a soothing voice it’s nearly knocked me out once or twice! We’ve had far fewer midnight wakings and associated bad dreams since he’s been listening to it, but it doesn’t send him off to sleep unless he’s physically worn out first.
I’m tempted to put him in a harness and strap him to the washing line in a lungeing rein arrangement, then crack a whip behind him. Has the added benefit of helping dry the washing more quickly.