Bedtime Gate: advice needed (send wine*)


Lovely Mumas and Papas out there, I need your help please.

You know how parents tend to preach that we should not under any circumstance tell other parents what to do, and offering advice is almost pukeish? Remember those dramatic blog posts stating loud and proud that nosy Mable should keep her ‘How to get your kid to eat veg’ ideas to herself? Well, my friends; forget it. Forget all of that, because I am asking, no actually, I am pleading for some advice today.

The situation is thus…

I have a 2 year old (who will be a threenager in Jan), who has just said goodbye to her cot this week (sniff, I loved the cage). She was beginning to climb out of it and so it just had to go.  We have replaced it with a toddler bed.  It’s oh so cute, we spent ages talking it up and choosing bedding lining up teddies on it, yarda yarda . ToddlerMonster thinks this is a right hoot, for all things other than sleeping on.

Over on the other side of the hallway we have Darcie. Our clingy-at-bedtime 5 year old. Darcie has only ever fallen to sleep with me in her bed, listening to story tapes after we have read together. This usually takes about half an hr!

Our bedtime routine is crucial to my state of mind as my husband works until 9pm every evening. Meaning Bedtime is my sole responsibility.

The past

I used to settle Darcie in her bed with the ipad or in our bed in front of the TV for the 10 minutes it took me to feed a sleepy toddler her milk. I’d feed Lila in her own room  before placing her in her cot. She was either asleep by now, or she would cry for a bit but as she couldn’t get out she would give up after a few minutes and choose sleep. This would give me the chance to then go into Darcie and do our reading / tapes / sleep routine.

It was like clockwork, a total dream, but ToddlerMonster is growing up and the dream is fading into a distant memory.

The dilemma.

ToddlerMonster no longer falls asleep with a bottle of milk. She can now just get out of bed willy nilly choosing instead to make evenings a total shi*tstorm. Darcie, who is now in year 1 needs to go to bed at a reasonable time, she is grumpy and over tired at the moment. The problem is that I can no longer settle her because we have a ToddlerMonster on the loose.

For the past week I have been waiting until ToddlerMonster literally falls asleep on the sofa and then placing her into bed, this is has peaked at 10pm! Meanwhile Darcie has fallen asleep slightly earlier on the other sofa… This cannot continue- it not good for any of us.

You know the game where you whack a popping up head with a hammer and then another appears, and then up again comes the original head. I just cant get them both down at the same time! Of course the association between hammer and heads are just purely for your understanding, and will remain a mere figment of my imagination…

The question


How do you put a wilful jack in the box toddler to bed? How do I ensure my 5 year old also gets to sleep, in her bed?

I am in desperate need of a new routine. I am appealing to you all for any tips that could help me out here. Remember I only have one pair of hands, this is a single handed situation, Daddy isn’t home until very late. Please don’t make me have to call Super Nanny.

Lot of love,

An exhausted tethers-end of a Muma.

Cuddle Fairy



20 thoughts on “Bedtime Gate: advice needed (send wine*)

  1. I dot have a quick fix answer but for me this is what works (most of the time).
    They share a room. We all have dinner together. Then I bath them, together. Then I let them watch tv until 19.30. Then we go to the toilet together. Then they go to bed at the same time.
    Sometimes the 3 year old can’t quite make 19.30 and falls asleep on the sofa.
    I think that the two of them doing this routine together really helps.
    Maybe try including your younger daughter in the tape/story routine. Even try talking to your 5 year old about how the old routine isn’t working, can she ‘help’ with a new routine?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you are right- a solid lead up to bedtime routine is so important, and getting our youngest involved is key!
      I’ll have a mental team-talk each evening before show time… Thank you so much for sharing your bedtime secrets with me!! Big love xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, mummy of a 6 year old girly here so I’ve only got one but here goes… when I went to the toddler bed I used the super nanny technique so each time she got out I would walk her back to bed, the first time you say night night darling it’s bed time and tuck them in. The 2nd time it’s just its bed time and the 3rd time and every other time until they stay there you say nothing. Just place them back in bed and turn and leave the room. It sounds harsh but it worked eventually for me, I think I remember 13 trips one night! But it does work and they do get the message. As for your big girl I would maybe settle her as much as you can and then explain how much you need to her to be a big brave girl for Mummy and try to get some sleep in her bed while you sort the little one. As she is so tired she might fall asleep in her bed on her own, if not maybe try a reward for how many nights she can fall asleep on her own, say 3 nights in a row and she will get a treat? These are only things that have worked for me so hopefully they help 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much- that super nanny technique is actually what the girls Nanny did this evening in my ‘bedtime lesson’!!! I think I am going to stick with it, it didn’t take long until she had put herself into bed and gave up the tears.
      My big girl is such a big baby and weeps n whales for Daddy who is at work! Getting the bedtime balance right will take a little while of fine tuning.
      Thank you so much for your ideas, I really appreciate it!! Sending love xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really don’t know. We are going through a little bed time regression of our own. Pinky is not quite 4. I know it’s because my husbands job requires him to travel a lot more than ever before but that doesn’t help much. I reached my limit yesterday and enlisted the help of my inlaws. That seemed to help but that can’t happen all the time. I guess just persevere? I wish I had more help for you. Otherwise super Nanny sounds like an interesting choice?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment and sorry for taking ages to see it- I think a few comments have been sent to spam!! I hope your own sleep prob is getting a little better? Clocks going back have certainly helped us! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats ok lovely, I often forget to check my spam and then think oopps! Yes oldly the clock change did help us a little.


  4. I don’t have many great words of wisdom I’m afraid, we will be getting rid of our daughters cot soon too and I feel I may be having the same problem with her. Our son (7) goes down an hour later and stays in bed but he does have a tendency to shout me upstairs every ten minutes. Somehow I think you are goin to have to get the oldest to fall asleep without you. Maybe you could talk it over with her, about her being such a big girl now, and maybe ask her if there is anything she would like to take to bed with her to make her feel close to you, whether it’s a top that smells of your perfume or a teddy (maybe even take her to build a bear workshop?), or a teddy wearing your top. I’ve found that when we ask them they actually come up with pretty good solutions and as they are part of the decision they’re more likely to go along with it. My son had really bad separation anxiety when he started school and after talking it through with him he decided he would take a small felt heart to school in his pocket and whenever he was missing me he would touch it and know I was thinking of him too. It did the trick. Hope you find a solution x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Thank you so much for your suggestions, and I’m sorry I haven’t replied sooner to thank you. It’s been a bad week! However, I think (touching lots of wood) I’ve cracked it. Just by being very very strict with the toddler, and wine to get me through her cries. Plus an understanding 5 year old who has been so exhausted from school, blessing in disguise, that she hasn’t argued with me!
      Good luck for when you ditch the cot, it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be thanks to Nanny for teaching me how its done!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I so wish I could help. Whilst I do have two good sleepers that go to bed well…they are one and two and yours isn’t the first post iv read about once good bedtime routines going out the window as they get older. I am living in fear that my world will fall apart and bed time will be a trauma. Also the two year old is still in cot cage which I think is making all the difference. The only thing I guess was perseverance It did take a lot of me sitting with my daughter in her room until she learnt to go to sleep without me. It was a bit of a slog but we got there in the end. Good luck and I so hope you get some answers. Thanks for sharing at #familyfun xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Tammy, thanks so much for your lovely words of encouragement, I’m so sorry its taken me ages to get back to you. It was a dreadful week – however I think we have cracked bedtime! Fingers crossed of course. I’ve just been extremely strict and it seems to be working…
      thanks for having me on #familyfun lots of love xxx


  6. Hmmm tricky one. Just brainstorming here …

    Gro clock bedtime clock thing? Comes with a little story book about staying in bed
    A reward chart for staying in bed/room
    Putting whatever she regularly asks for on a little tray next to her bed inc. e.g. A little drink of water in one of those munchkin non-spill sippy cups if she regularly asks for a drink (not sure how this would fit in with potty training – we haven’t crossed this bridge yet!)
    Giving her some freedom to get out of bed at night (cause must be a novelty) but she must be quiet and stay in her room and get back into bed when she’s tired
    Stairgate in her doorway
    Introducing things into her routine that she’s responsible for like putting her toys where she wants them, plumping her pillow, bringing a book to bed, turning a lamp on or off…so she feels like getting into bed is something she’s interested in and might feel keener to stay in it?

    As I say these are just brainstorm ideas, I’ve no idea if they’d work or not I was just trying to think like a toddler – which is a task in itself!

    Good luck! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for these suggestions and huge apologies for not replying to you sooner- you went to my spam!!! Xx


    1. It’s the million dollar question really I suppose isn’t it!
      Thanks for having a read- I’m trying the die hard super nanny way and actually it’s working which is baffling me! Tough love is actually what my kids respond to, I never knew!!
      Good luck with the boobage, there’s always something isn’t there xxxx


  7. Eek I can see us going the same way (with our nearly 2 year old and 6 month old) so it’s good to have an insight into the future to see what I should try and nip in the bus now. It’s just not easy though is it? I do anything to avoid tears and tantrums before bedtime or the whole evening just goes all to pot. The one thing I remember my mum saying when we were little was that bedtime was for sleeping, not for stories (which kind of goes against the advice today…Bath, teeth, story, bed) but I think she was right in a way. Kids have areal knack of knowing how to get ‘5 more minutes’. There was 18 months between me and my brother so our routine was story downstairs together, teeth together then we’: get into bed on our own and she’d come and kiss us both goodnight separately. No hanging about. I think she must have had wine (or maybe Babysham back then?) waiting for her downstairs…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember my childhood also being an into bed lights out loss goodnight. These 80’s Mumas had baby sham a waiting for sure!!
      So I have taken a strict regime and – dare I say it- it’s working: 2 ur old in her bed with 5 ur old for stories. 5 ur old transferred to her bedroom with story tape. 2 ur old kissed goodnight and door shut (she screams for 5 mins and tried to leave…) and then falls asleep in bed. 3 nights down and so far so good!!
      I’m not counting any chickens just yet though… Xxxxx


  8. I can relate to the bedtime shi*tstorm I have to say! I am not sure I have any answers as this is something we struggle with still 😦 Hope it starts to work out for you soon xxx #bloggerclubuk


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