It's 11:10PM, and my son is still awake. We put him down at 8:50, already a late bedtime for someone his age, and he's STILL awake, despite the fact that my husband stayed with him for 20 minutes after his bedtime story. First he needed to pee. Then he said he heard a scary noise. Then he got up to "tell" me something. Then he complained he had not properly said good night to his sister (of course he had, many times). Then we heard him crying and tried to ignore him, and when we finally gave up and went to him, he had thrown all of his covers, pillows and "friends" (what we call the group of stuffed animals he sleeps with) on the floor. That's when our patience wore out. We told him if he got up again there would be consequences and tucked him back in the bed. We told him if he got up again, we'd have to put his friends away for the night. But lo, he woke up AGAIN. We put his friends away (in the crib his sister has yet to sleep in). Then we explained that if he got up again, we'd have to give away ("permanently retire" as a friend who uses this strategy calls it)). We thought he'd stay in, but 15 minutes later, he was up again with another fake complaint. We took away one of his Hot Wheels, which is now in our "to donate" pile. He got up again 10 minutes after that episode to say his thigh was itchy. I looked and didn't see a rash of any sort but decided maybe we were mean to basically throw out his toy, so I got in bed with him and tried to explain that he needed sleep to grow, to play, to not be grumpy in the morning. He nodded that yes, he wanted to sleep.
"YES! HALLELUJAH! AMEN!" I thought to myself. I have saved myself from making a fool of my parenting skills for the night. Woo hoo! Soft-toned explanations worked better than stern-faced threats. I began to clean the kitchen (we ordered in, so it's the least I could do around the house for the night). Not 10 minutes later, again with the cries. This time, my husband, who was about to fall asleep himself, came out and raised his voice. That was 14 minutes ago. We'll see if the Schmoop finally threw in the towel. So I ask my sage friends with older children: What do we do? We've tried so many different tactics and none seems to work!