See this guy here, the one on the left? He is the grand master of the bedtime stall. It’s actually become the bane of my existence really. I’ve come to dread bedtime because of his truly diabolical stalling skills. His brother? (the one on the right.) Has not such problem, he needs no routine, just put him to bed, and he’s out in a matter of minutes. Little dude though? It’s a matter of hours.
Let me me give you the run down.
7:30pm Bath time
7:45pm Stories, prayer, bible time, and a song
8:00pm Into bed (this is where the
diabolical plan fun starts.
8:01 – I want a song (this is part of routine)
8:03 – I have a secret to tell you (routine)
8:04 – I want a blanket (he has four to choose from, also routine)
8:05 – I want socks (almost done with routine.)
8:06 – I want a hug and a kiss (This is the end of the routine)
At this point, things get interesting. After leaving the room (almost immediately) he starts calling “Daaaaaaad.” We typically ignore this for 10 minutes. At which point he climbs out of bed and starts calling from behind his door. Now, he never opens his door. It might as well be locked. So, finally after 10 minutes and increasing volume we go and see what’s going on. At which point he says something like “It’s too hot for socks, take them off.” Our response? “Take them off yourself.” Which triggers a major meltdown, at which point we leave again. Two minutes later he’s back at the door. 15 minutes later, with an epic meltdown in progress we again ask what’s wrong. Magically his socks are off, but now? “I want another hug and a kiss.” And who can refuse a hug and a kiss request right?
Now, I’m starting to think he knows the hug and kiss thing, because he always pulls that card. But at this point he usually requests more blankets. Or, if he’s been really upset, he’s usually done some sweating and needs to change is PJ’s. So now, he’s been in bed for 45 minutes to an hour. And eventually he gives up. But I’ll be dammed if he doesn’t get out of his bed at least three more times asking to have his socks back on, or for the A/C on, and then back off again. Or ask to go to the bathroom, which is another thing that you can’t say no to, but he never actually goes. He’s a smart one he is.
Here’s what we’ve tried, being nice and listening to his requests, and giving him what he wants. This has lead to two hour stalls. Not giving in, and in fact taking his stuffed animals away. This worked the first night, but no further. We even tried spankings, but since we’re not really a fan of that idea and only did it out of desperation, we never really spanked hard, in fact he would even roll over and show us his bottom voluntarily, as if to say “ya, it was worth it”. Yeah, he’s a tough guy too. Last night, the tactic was
bribery positive reinforcement, which worked last night, and cut the stalling to 45 minutes, once we finally decided to use the tactic. Now, we’ll see if it continues.
In a last ditch effort I put the request out to all the super hero parents out there and got some great suggestions, ranging from “crying it out,” to gently placing him back in bed, but not acknowledging his requests, to melatonin, to duct tape and whiskey. What say you?