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Need help with bedtime woes for my almost 4 year old.

Where to start? We just moved to another country. Long trip, no access to our furniture for a long time, lots of hotels, new house... still don't have a car. Needless to say it's a stressful time for all of us. Since we arrived in the new country though my almost 4 year old (two weeks till his birthday) has started having the WORST fits... they have happened when we are out trying to shop and at bedtime.. but bedtime is the worst. We've been here long enough for everyone's sleep schedules to have adjusted... but now when we go to put him down at night he keeps changing his mind about stuff just for the attention... (ie. wants to be tucked in, then doesn't). If I don't cater to him changing his mind (and I don't) it starts a massive tantrum. Tonight I lost it and just finally put him in his room and wouldn't let him out. I had to go back three times to remove hard objects from the room to keep him from throwing (cont..)


Asked by CorgiMomma at 3:08 PM on Feb. 21, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (7)
  • Have you tried a bedtime sticker chart? Like picking up toys (place sticker when done), then bath (place sticker when done) then bedtime snack (sticker when done), brush teeth, etc, so he knows the time is coming? It will ease him into bedtime mode, make it fun to pick out stickers for the chart, and he knows that it's coming?

    Answer by midnightshadow2 at 4:02 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • to keep him from throwing things at the door and damaging it (or hurting himself). I am SO close to loosing my temper and I don't even know what to do to help him. All he will tell me is that he doesn't want to go to bed. I can't reason with him... the "SuperNanny" trick of calmly taking him back to bed over and over doesn't work at all once he has started throwing the fits. Sometimes (like tonight) after about two hours of him screaming and throwing himself off his bed/out of his room/at the door, THEN I can get him to calm down some and get him to agree to stay in bed. He's always been hard headed about going to bed, but this is ridiculous and I don't know what to do. I am ready to just break down and start crying (actually, I've tried that too!). Can anyone PLEASE give me any advice that could help?!? PLEASE?! I'm at the end of my rope and dangling by a thread!

    Answer by CorgiMomma at 3:12 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • Poor little guy.

    People have saying about kids that make them sound somehow evil. One of them is that they do things just for attention. As if they thought it out and decided I think I will do this just to get attention. A 3 year old. If that is the case the child has a problem that will probably involve a psychosis.

    A child may act out in frustration if the parents use punishment as their main form of parenting and the child has learned to resent the punishing or the parent.

    I think your son needs more mom, not being closed in a room alone. Let him go to bed when he is more ready and lay with him and help him fall asleep. Sing to him. Play CDs. Teach him to meditate. Reading is a bad idea, the child can try to stay awake. Do something positive.

    Answer by Gailll at 3:23 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • Homeopathic chamomile pellets.


    Answer by Anonymous at 3:34 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • I just read your second post.

    My grandbaby cried almost all the time. His parents couldn't take it anymore and moved in with me when he was about 6 months. My son is a RN and was his primary caretaker. My son would have to swaddle him tight and hold him and let him scream to take a nap. It would take 30 min of screaming.

    I couldn't do it. I started playing him music videos on the computer. I found James Blunt would put him to sleep. No crying.

    He is now a toddler and they have their own apartment. He stopped crying when he started walking. I take care of him most of the time. There is one James Blunt song that can knock him out when he is fussy and needs a nap. At night there is a short Owl City concert he likes. He likes other music but these are what puts him to sleep.

    He has a horrible life-threatening genetic disease and has itchy rashes covering his body that make it hard to fall asleep. Music can work great!

    Answer by Gailll at 3:35 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • His entire life has been disrupted being moved to a new country. You are going to have to give him time to adjust. He is old enough to understand so why don't you ask him (when he isn't freaking out of course) how he feels and what he misses and stuff from the place you moved from. Explain to him all of you miss your old home but that this new place is going to be so much fun etc. Be positive and focus on things there that are good.

    You can't uproot a child and expect them to immediately adjust to a new environment. For the first few years of their lives it's all about schedules and keeping them on one because it is easier for everyone. That carries over into their toddler years and a sudden drastic change to the way they've had things done or done things their whole lives can be somewhat traumatic.

    You are going to have to give him time and BE PATIENT WITH HIM. I get you're frustrated but imagine how he feels.

    Answer by Allergic2Stupid at 3:57 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • Until you have all your things and can make his room more like the home he's used to, give him the choice: go to bed in his room or camp out on the floor in your room (or even the living room with you for that matter). Just be clear that whatever the choice, he has to go to bed and stay in bed. Then you can do the whole putting him back in bed.
    A move is a huge change for a child and so you need to be patient. It can be almost like when you first transitioned from crib to bed. Hang in there, do what you have to in the mean time, and then when you have all your things and you're settled, you can work on putting him to bed in his own room again.

    Answer by twinclubmom at 9:12 PM on Feb. 21, 2010