My son is 3 and seems to take a long time to fall asleep at night. He takes about an hour nap at preschool. We put him to bed at 8pm, but usually, after stories ect, it is about 8:30pm before my husband and I leave his room. He is up sometimes until 10-10:30pm just playing in his room. I can tell he is tried, and he is usually grumpy the next morning. We have the same night routine, so I am not sure why he doesn't want to sleep or what I can do to help him fall asleep.
Give him a warm milky drink about half an hour before bed time and a light snack if he is hungry.
Don't allow him to watch any TV other than the children's programmes (which I have no doubt that is what you do). And no TV for him a couple of hours at least before bedtime.
Have the routine of getting him washed/bathed and his teeth washed and read the story as you do. But after the story, switch off the light but leave the bedroom door ajar with a light on in the next room. Sit with him holding his hand until he falls asleep if you have to.
Most of the time children are afraid of the dark and being left on their own. Some of them try to stay awake despite feeling tired as you have noticed.
He may be fine if you say that he is not to play with any toys and leave the door slightly ajar so that he can see some light. Or he may prefer you to stay in the room with him until he falls asleep. Just see how it goes and do what works for you.
I have had the same experience with my grandchildren and find that staying with them for a while will settle them down to fall asleep. I still have to leave the light on in the hall way with their bedroom door ajar when they sleep over. Their parents do the same at their home.
One of my grandsons does play up a lot and shouts he is not tired - I don't give in, I stay with him and he then drops of to sleep in no time at all. I think a lot of the time, he doesn't want to miss anything.
As your son gets older he will get more comfortable that you are not with him.
If you feel the light is too bright, I think you should follow your instincts.
You are probably right, and that is why you son is coming out of bed playing with his toys, instead of settling down to sleep. They all try to avoid going to sleep for as long as possible.
Is he your first child?
Try having the hall light on and his door slightly ajar, the light won't be so bright. When one of my young grandsons screams that it is too dark, I tell him to close his eyes and then open them again. This is to help adjust the eyes to the more subdued light.
My 3 year old grandson doesn't take a nap in the day unless he is unwell. But he still likes a lie down in the bed in the afternoon with a story. This great because I can lie down too (this is when I have him).
At home he has sisters and brothers, so there is always too much noise going on and excitement with them.
A little run about in the garden in the fresh air at home after preschool, may get him more tired.
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