Author Topic: Three Year Old Throwing Tantrum at Bedtime  (Read 9342 times)

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Offline n2mom

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Three Year Old Throwing Tantrum at Bedtime
« on: November 16, 2006, 04:22:21 am »
My three-year old has recently been extremely difficult when it comes to bedtime.  We do the same routine each night with him, and as soon as the last story is read and lights are out, the excuses begin - I need to go potty is the favorite (one time pee, then the next poo and back and forth), and he will use it several times in a row.  Then, an all out fit begins and continues for up to an hour or more.  To give some more info, we have a new baby that is 7 weeks old, but this has never caused any issues before.  Also, he still takes a nap during the day - usually from 1:30 to 3 PM.  We start his bedtime routine at 8 pm usually but tonight started it at 7, b/c it takes so long to go through the fits and all.  ANY thoughts/recommendations will be SO appreciated.  I have considered giving up his nap, but when we go somewhere, he falls asleep in the car, leading me to believe he still needs it.

Also, I would love advice on how to deal with this problem of him constantly coming out of his room and then the fits.  I don't know how to keep him in there and to get him to go to bed without this fight every night.   ???

Mom to Nathan Jack (Nov. 10, 2003)
and Noah Oliver (Sept. 28, 2006)

Offline Catharine

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Re: Three Year Old Throwing Tantrum at Bedtime
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2006, 05:09:23 am »
A friend of mine was telling me that her first daughter was fine with their new baby for a while and then started acting out when she finally realised that the baby wasn't leaving & staying for good. So it might still be because of the new baby.

My dd was doing the same thing recently: delay tactics (newly potty trained), tantrums, crying hysterically and getting out of her bed and room.

Our head-on battle wasn't working only making things worse.

Our bedtime routine:clean teeth, wee, bedtime stories, choose a favorite toy to sleep with, talk about her day & what she's going to do the next day (5mins), hug & kiss, turn off lights & leave the room straight away.

So when it was time for our talk, I told her what I expected of her when its night time and that she needs to sleep, stay in bed, stay in her room until the light comes through the curtain. We had introduced a reward chart so I told her that she gets one sticker closer to her reward if she does it. I reassure her that I'm right downstairs & that I'm very proud of her for being such a big girl.

I also made some ground rules about our routine: maximum 3 stories and 1 toilet run.

I go through the same conversation with her every night. We had one or two middle of the night wakings but I put her back to bed reminding her that it is not morning yet, and leave the room.

Now when she wakes up in the morning and comes out of her room. She would ask me if its morning yet. I would say yes and that I'm very proud of her for waiting till the sun came in before coming out of her room. Then she runs to her dad and tells him what she did and what a big girl she is.  ;D

Our successes with dd like moving to a big girl's bed, potty training and sleeping on her own were all achieved through talking to her and reiterating what is expected and positive reenforcement. Hopefully it will work for you too.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2006, 05:12:01 am by Catharine »


Offline imsmum

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Re: Three Year Old Throwing Tantrum at Bedtime
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2006, 18:31:20 pm »
I'm thinking that the bedtime behaviour is probably a bit of a control thing.  My older dd was 3.5 when my younger dd was born, and I agree with pp, that it sometimes takes the older child a while to process that their life is changed permanently and that's when some of the acting out starts.  You might want to try to build in a little more one on one time during the day or adding an extra activity to the night time routine--one selected by your ds--while still keeping things more or less on track--with older dd she could watch one episode of Scooby Doo with dh while I put our younger dd down for the night and then we do our usual routine.HTH

Offline Florencia

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Re: Three Year Old Throwing Tantrum at Bedtime
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2006, 18:32:42 pm »
Hey Kelly, you've received a great advice from Catharine and I'll just add a few thoughts.

Maybe Nathan feels he needs to get more attention from you given his recent thought that lil bro is not going anywhere. Perhaps he's starting to realize he can get that extra attention in the night when lil bro is already sleeping. What you need to do is positive reinforcement as catharine adviced like hey sweetie I love to play with you but right now I'm tired... if you go to sleep now we'll play tomorrow morning. And when he wakes in the morning make sure you book a special time for him and remind him:hey what do you want to play? close to bedtime, book another 20-30 mins for special you and him time (no lil sibling included) apart from bedtime routine. That way he's getting the attention he's begging for just not at the time he thinks it's appropiate LOL.

HTH and congratulations on your new baby!
Mom to Manolo, spirited monkey and Jose Miguel, an angel cupcake