Bedtime battles and a parenting revelation

At the end of every day I am ready for bedtime. My kids bedtime, not mine. I crave those hours between the boys going to sleep and dragging myself off to bed. Lately, my two biggest boys, who share a room, have been testing my patience by loudly refusing to go to sleep.

Out of utter frustration, Mr Wallace made a decision to separate the boys and put the oldest lad in the corridor to go to sleep. That came back to bite us. The big lad laid in the corridor listening to our conversation, watching us clean the kitchen and then went off to sleep. We later transferred him to his bed. It all seemed innocent enough.

The next night, we hear cheeky giggling. The biggest lad has relocated himself to sleep in the corridor. We should’ve seen that one coming. Of course, we don’t want him to actually sleep in the corridor. I sent him back to bed and a few minutes later, both the big and middle lads are laying in the corridor with their pillows. They both innocently smiled up at me. It was very cute and yet highly annoying.

The middle lad trotted back to bed pretty quickly. The biggest lad flat out refused to move. Nothing I said would budge him. I told him there’d be no iPad tomorrow, he said “I don’t mind”. I threatened to give his Lego to a little boy in need. That was an empty threat really, clearly a parenting no-no, and it didn’t work. I was getting increasingly cross. The biggest lad was being very stubborn (we have NO IDEA where he gets his stubbornness). The middle lad was amused by it all and of course, no closer to sleep.

Then, I had a parenting revelation. A rare light bulb moment. Ignore him! I calmly closed the bedroom door, leaving him in the corridor and laid down next to the middle lad. We had a cuddle, sung songs, it was lovely quite time. I heard a few bangs from the corridor but basically the biggest lad didn’t bother us.

It took a while, but eventually he dragged his pillow back into the bedroom and asked to have a cuddle with us. I gave him a cuddle and made no mention of the prior antics. We sung more songs and then he climbed back onto the top bunk. I said goodnight and the battle was over!

My parenting style is reasonably gentle and positive so I’d not tried the tactic of ignoring bad behaviour before. But it worked a treat! It occurred to me later that the biggest lad saw my nagging as attention and it didn’t matter that the attention was negative. It’s tempting but I’m not about to start ignoring my boys on a regular basis. I will however remember that trick in the future.

Since that evening the biggest lad hasn’t again ventured into the corridor to sleep. That rare parenting revelation worked a treat!  As a side note, the biggest lad absolutely did mind going without the iPad for a day.

Have you had a recent parenting revelation? I’d love to hear them!

9 thoughts on “Bedtime battles and a parenting revelation

  1. That’ll work until he finds some other way to dig his heels on . The ignoring tactic has often worked for me though. My eldest loves nothing more than to win an argument (can’t imagine where he gets that from) so often engaging with him just makes it worse! Glad it worked for you this time x

    1. Indeed, he is fond of digging his heels in! I think I’ll limit my usage of the ignoring tactic in the vain hope it works for longer.

  2. I will ignore my son if nothing else works. If I can’ reason with him, or just misbehaves more, I will completely ignore him. This works every time.

    I’m with you. I look forward to bedtime every night… kid’s bedtime 🙂

  3. That’s the best thing about parenting isn’t it, you can always learn something new!? Thanks for linking up with the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

    1. Indeed Sammie, I often say I am just making things up as I go along! Thanks for having me at the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

  4. I’m always learning something new. I am having a battle with bedtimes and musical beds at the moment… will our 2 yr old mainly. It’s hard work and it has me really frustrated I can’t crack it. We’ll get there eventually. Well done with your moment. Thanks for linking up to the Rabbit Hole. Jx

    1. Thanks for having me Jess. We have a almost 3 year old whose taken to wandering down the hall in the night, about midnight! It’s painful but I figure it won’t last forever!

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