bedtime blues


New Member
my almost 6 year old difficult child will sometimes have an unexpected fit at bedtime. last night, i tried to help him with something that he was struggling with and i made it worse. from that point on he insisted that he cannot go to bed and that he was going to follow me wherever i go. i was in the middle of a video with my husband and it was getting late. i was able to settle him for a few moments by creative talk (he likes to fantasize about being the boss in our house and having all the junk food and toys that he wants). i then said goodnight and he remembered what he had been so angry about and spun right back to that place, didnt end up falling asleep until couple hours after bedtime. any ideas as to getting him settled at night? baths just make him hyper, no interest in stories. i actually bought a standard red hot water bottle that really helped over the last week. nights like last night, though , can wipe a whole good week clean. please excuse my rambling.


Well-Known Member
I run a fan in Duckie's room year round. The white noise helps prevent her from fixating on the rest of the household after bedtime. I also clue her into my boring evening: clean up the kitchen, change the kitty litter, take the trash out, laundry. etc. It doesn't seem like she's missing anything fun then. We also give her a massage when she's highly active or stressed near bedtime. I've also been known to advise her that Mommy needs her time to catch up around the house. She'll need to help out if she's stays up, which she's not particularly inclined to do.


Active Member
I just have a few suggestions. One is using a lavender sachet in the pillow case. It helped calm my difficult child when he was younger. I used to spray his room right with a lavender spray before bedtime as well.

Another suggestion is to make sure that you have an established bedtime routine and stick to it, regardless of when your difficult child goes to bed. I found that my difficult child needed that sense of predicibility when he was younger in order to calm himself down. He is 10 now and still sticks to the routine, even though I'm no longer directing it. (Now, if only I could get him to clean up the clothes on the floor!)

The other thing that I've done - more for my easy child, as he's a night owl - is to put him to bed earlier (I shoot for 7 - 7:30). I found that my easy child would catch that second, then third, then fourth wave of energy before he'd crash in exhaustion - leaving us both wiped out and cranky. If I manage to get him down earlier, then he sleeps better. I always rue the day when I miss my moment to get him into bed early!

Another thing to watch out for are sugars before bed. I don't let my kids have dessert after dinner unless it is at the weekend. They have their dessert - or sugar snack - in the mid-afternoon after school. That way, they still have plenty of time to burn it off before bedtime. Pay attention to foods with dyes in them (Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #5), as they can cause hyperactivity and can stay in the body's system for several days.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
I agree with wildflower on bedtimes.

We didnt have many bedtime battles with my boys because they simply wore themselves out during the day playing so hard but we also had pretty basic routines.

We had dinner at a fairly early set time every day. They would have been playing outside hard most of the afternoon so they were ready to eat and hungry.

After dinner we took a bath and got into pj's.

Then we had a tv show or two.

By no later than 8 pm they were in bed. 7:30 when they were toddlers and pre-schoolers. I read them a book when I put them to bed and that was that.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
I don't recall what issues your difficult child has or if he has been diagnosis'd? But for my difficult child, a good night sleep is a big issue!!!
We start the bed process early, bath when I can get her to, we do yoga a lot or some form of calm stretching, headstands work really well for calming, ( against a wall) massage, we will read, then we also spray her room with lavender and pillow, we have sound machine, and our difficult child has a weighted blanket that has really helped calm her and decrease her night terrors...
If she is rally amped up I will let her read for a bit in bed... and if she is cycling really bad and manic I will give her a video game her leapster and let her play that in bed. I avoid a fight and she usually wears herself out after 15-30 minutes... this doesn't work for all kids and mine doesn't ask for these things unless she really needs them. Most of the time we can wear her out enough to be tired at bed time.

Good luck


Active Member
My best results at bedtime usually came from giving up the battle. I told difficult child I was tired and was going to bed. He could stay in his room and read or draw or play quietly and that he should hop into bed when he was ready. Then I went into my room and shut the door. He'd usually draw and it usually wasn't long before he'd get into bed since he didn't have anyone to fight against.

Books on tape work well for some kids. They are usually short for young ages so I copied them onto longer tapes so it could play for 40 minutes.

Like Wildflower, I found that earlier worked better for 2 of my 3 kids. The keeping him up later till he wore himself out usually backfired on me.