Strong willed and stubborn, Spike makes it known if something isn’t to her liking. This is why our toddler, who has been great at going to bed since we initiated a bedtime routine, is turning into a bit of a monster. Fully embracing the toddler bedtime stalling phase means that our quick 20 minute bedtime routine is now nearly double the amount of time!
Spike used to go upstairs, brush teeth, get dressed and drink a bottle. Once done she would lie down and listen to her story. She’d then go straight to sleep. Now, all that still happens, but with a variety of other things in between.
We go upstairs, which in itself can take ten minutes. We brush our teeth, which I either have to do or have to hold her for. Because naturally the only place a two year old can stand while brushing their teeth is the edge of the sink. We go in her room while I try and get her to lie down. But in reality I wrestle her to the ground as she looks or things to play with.
She still has a bottle. I know, I know. She should have given that up a while ago. Stalling this usually means refusing to sit on my knee, then deciding half way through she wants to. She can also stall the process of drinking the bottle by insisting Daddy kisses every possibly surface of her face. She points at the bits he misses.
Then, once the bottles out of the way she has to ‘cuddle, kiss’ me. Then ‘cuddle, kiss Olaf’. ‘Cuddle, kiss Icarus’. ‘Cuddle, kiss Ra-Ra’ (her wooden chair). Until finally ‘cuddle, kiss dolly!’
Once all that is out the way, baring in mind these four things are in each corner of her room. I lift her into her cot. Where she finds her dummy, because that’s still a thing at bedtime. She then has to pick one of her teddies to cuddle, and be wrapped in specific blankets, in a specific order. God forbid if you forget a blanket or put them on in the wrong order!
On a good night I can read a book with her lying down, looking at me. On a bad night I have to endure “mummy, whats that?” or “mummy, can I read that book?” Somethings I even get “Heya mummy” over, and over, and over.
Finally once the book is complete, I have to do a final ‘cuddle, kiss’, say the words “night night baby, sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” and leave the room.
Knowing something was missed will result in tears until its done. On a bad day I have to carry out 4 of the ‘cuddle, kisses’ to get her to go to sleep. On a really bad night she’s climbing out of the cot and screaming for hours.
The stalling technique is pretty funny, but exhausting. She, along with all other toddlers, do it because they don’t want to go to bed. They want to stay up and experience the ‘grown up time’. Discovering that there is more to life after bedtime is exciting, and thats what Spike wants to see.
I have on occasion made it clear that if Spike doesn’t do as she’s told she will go to bed without her routine. This usually kicks her up the bum a bit. Especially on the night where she tried to kiss and cuddle every one of her soft toys. Seriously, she has about 100, it would have taken all night!
Bedtime stalling is a usual phase, and one that a lot of kids go through. Spike is particularly good at it, however I think we handle it ok. I try and give a little but make it clear when she’s taking the p*ss. I try to be a little flexible and explain why she needs to sleep. And when she’s trying to flip which end of the cot she’s sleeping at I try and give her the choice but make it clear that her choice is final.
We’re soon going to be making the transition from cot to bed. Our cot is a hotbed so the sides need to come off. The ends are in two halves too, so they will be half the height. I am kinda dreading how that is going to go for Spike. Especially as I think it will make the stalling worse. But we shall see!
Did your little one go through this phase? I would love to know what you did to combat it and if you have any pro tips to share!