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3 1/2 year old tantrums, bedtime problems
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3 1/2 year old tantrums, bedtime problems

I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter who has been acting up since she was about 2 years old.  She fights at bedtime throwing temper tantrums, biting herself so she could have a band-aid, crying and waking up her baby sister ( 5 months old), taking her covers off then wanting them out back on, always wanting lights on ( she has 3 different lights), fan has to be on even in the winter, asks for 3-4 different things to sleep with then decides she doesn't want them throws a tantrum because she does not want them on her bed and refuses to throw them on the ground.  She seems to change her mind all the time to get attention.  It takes us a least 1 1/2 hours to get her to bed after bath, teeth and potty.  She started this before her sister was born but is now worse.  We have resorted to spanking because we geet so frustrated and that works at times but we don't want to do it.  When she throws a tantrum during the day we put her in time out but to get her to sit there for 5 min even 2 min is impossible.  The bedtime is the hardest thing right now because we live in a small house and she screams at the top of her lungs and wakes up her sister.  I know she is not getting the amount of sleep she needs.  Please help.  I have had the bedtime routine since she was a baby but my husband started her on the bandaids and now we can't get her away from that and she will hurt herself and make herself bleed to get the bandaids.  Once in awhile we will let her sleep on the living room floor to give us a break and so we don't feel like we are yelling at her all the time
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What I would do is have a schedule in place for bedtime. Write it down and go over it with her before you start.  Allow enough time.  Go through everything and maybe add a bedtime story.  Make it fun and caring.  When the teeth are brush, the pjs are on, the stuffed animal is picked out (only the first one she picks), she is tucked in, bedtime story read, glass of water if needed, night lights on, etc.  When everything is done and she is tucked into bed, walk out.  If she starts crying, you may checked on her but be firm and let her know that she needs to go to sleep now.  If she bites herself, make her get the band-aid (do not give her any attention for it). You need to be in control and ignore the screaming will help.  She may scream a few nights possibly three, but I think she will catch on and stop.  She wants control and that is why she is being so overly fussy at night.  She also is probably feeling jealous of the new baby.  Make sure you stay in control, be firm, do not get emotional.    
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