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Night time tantrums of toddlers

(6 Posts)
Phoebe07 Wed 27-Jan-16 16:01:33

My almost 3 year old granddaughter is quite a determined little character which most of the time is a good thing. However when it comes to getting ready for bed she undergoes a complete personality change and can throw spectacular tantrums. After much battling on the part of mum and dad, either separately or together ( depending on who is home first) she will eventually go to bed/sleep. But then she is routinely awake in the middle of the night , out of her bed and shouting r drying out on the landing .This doesn't happen if she stays with me, either with or without her older sister. I think it is now a learned behaviour with mum and dad and seems particularly extreme when she's inadvertently fallen asleep in the car around teatime. This can't always be avoided as the older one has after school activities which require taking the little one out to do the pick up. Any suggestions welcome or signposting to advice .

Penstemmon Wed 27-Jan-16 16:14:05

I would be tempted to completely change the bedtime routine ie let's get your pjs on and then come downstairs for milk and story on the sofa before brushing teeth and saying goodnight. or whatever would be different!

Or ... a gate on the bedroom door .... make sure her room is safe and leave her to cry it out if parents genuinely think it is a learned behaviour rather than genuine distress. If she copes with bedtime with you it does sound more like learned behaviour for control and attention of parents. It will be a tough week but I bet it would not take much longer!

NanaandGrampy Wed 27-Jan-16 16:45:27

Oh how familiar is this!!

My DD2 sometimes has similar problems with her 4 yr old . We have never had a moments problem with all 4 of our grandchildren and they all stay over often.

I put it down to a couple of things. Firstly, rules . We have rules, they know them, they never change! Secondly, we're consistent . The routine never changes . Thirdly, we never threaten endlessly. If somethings happening we don't like. We stop them, tell them the problem and tell them the consequence if they carry on. Lastly, and most importantly, we follow through.

We also give a countdown so bedtime never comes as a surprise.

I think you're absolutely right , it needs a total routine change to break the habit.

Our grandchildren get up to go to the bathroom at night, then straight back to bed. The littlest one (20 month so) sometimes needs escorting. A nightmare will get them a 5 minute cuddle before back to bed. I know both my DDs let the kids sleep in their beds then complain everyone is tired in the morning.

We also put them to bed far earlier than their parents do. I think they need more sleep and at our house they get it.

I think your little ones parents need to push through the pain and implement a new regime ... I wish them luck smile

pollyparrot Wed 27-Jan-16 17:07:14

Some very good advice already on here. I'd just repeat the importance of consistency and routines. Also very importantly, the little ones parents need to behave in the same way. I'd suggest not battling with her but calmly implementing the routine.

A routine we used was after tea, a bath, a drink, teeth, story and into bed. Sticking to that means she knows what to expect. If she gets out of bed calmly put her back, but don't talk to her, or even look at her. Even if it takes 50 times, keep calm and keep doing the same thing. You'll have to camp outside her bedroom door for a while but it will be worth it. She'll give up in the end as she'll be bored and tired. Most toddlers will try it on the next night just to check it wasn't a fluke but again, follow your own rules not hers. After a few days she'll stop.

If she gets up at night, do the same thing with her. The critical thing is keeping calm/boring and not interacting with her.

Pippa000 Thu 28-Jan-16 08:31:29

There seems to be a general idea that routine for bed times or any thing else is old fashioned. My DS & DiL have no real routine when bed time comes along and therefore the children aged 3 & 5 play up all the time. Unfortunately as we live in Cyprus much of the time we do not have the advantage of having them sleep over, but on chatting to the other grandparents where they have a definite bed time routine on sleep overs there is never any problems. When we do take the children anywhere they know what we say we will do we will do and they are really brilliant. Why do modern parents allow their children to dictate everything including what they have for meals, but that is for another discussion!

Anya Thu 28-Jan-16 08:38:05

Yes, it's a learned behaviour Phoebe as it doesn't happen with you. We had exactly the same with GS3. He went down like a lamb and sleeps through at our house, but was just as you describe when at his.

DD and SiL used to joke we must drug him!

He's much better these days for his parents especially when he started school at 4. I'd just let them get on with it aand not worry.