My exactly-two-year-old (tomorrow) shares a room with his older brother. When bedtime rolls around, stories are done, and lights are out... he will not stay in bed. Looking for any ideas.
When we first placed the two boys together, there was a period where both kids went basically insane. They thought being together meant nonstop all-night playtime.
After much frustration and debate, I started reading the kids The Sleep Fairy
three weeks ago, aka "bribe your kids to stay in bed with a pretend fairy as the agent so it's not really you that's doing it." I had resisted using this approach for some time because I knew my younger son wasn't cognitively ready for it, but I hoped that getting the elder child to stay in bed would somehow rub off on the younger child.
Well, it worked almost exactly as I feared. The older child now goes straight into his bed (hallelujah) and waits until morning to get up, and when he wakes up he finds a little present. The younger one? Still gets up every 1-5 minutes until he falls asleep, which can take an hour or more. He stands up in his bed, slithers out into the space between their beds, and if I don't respond he heads for the baby gate which he bangs with all his might, keeping the older brother awake.
I've taken to hanging out outside their room and have been trying the supernanny "put him back in bed with no talk, no cuddles, no nothing" approach. But he seems perfectly fine to get my attention in this limited manner for more than an hour a night.
Compounding my frustration is that he only sleeps 9 hours a night and is frequently up between 5-5:30 AM. So my whole night is spent outside their door, putting him back into bed, until he finally is asleep... and then I have to go to bed myself.
Separating the boys at bedtime is possible, but the problem is that the only other place a boy can sleep is in the adjoining room, so when baby brother gets up to bang on the gate he'll be doing so right into his brother's ears again. Plus now that one boy is completely passive I don't think that's really what keeps him going -- I think he's just bored and knows I'll come and move him if he gets out of bed, which is apparently enough for him.
Other things we've tried:
* a tot clock, set to change from blue (night) to yellow (day) at a certain time. We had to stop it because it was being completely ignored.
* letting the boys look at books in bed with a night light on. Led to them being even more riled up and an even later sleep time, no effect on staying in bed.
His naps ARE inconsistent, my wife tries to rouse him no later than 2:30 PM but that frequently doesn't work out due to whatever other challenges are happening around the house. Maybe that's an angle. Any others? I don't care if he chatters at his brother, sings, tosses, or just talks about his day. But he has to stay in his bed. What to do???