My DS Sean is 6 1/2 and ever since birth he has been a champ about bedtime. We'd have the occasional hiccup but overall I couldn't have asked for anything more. We set a routine very early on, and bedtime was always easy. But lately over the past 6 months or so, he has completely turned on us! He's not up all night or anything but there has been a marked increase in how often he'll appear in our bedroom at 3am. The majority of the time he goes back to bed without incident and stays in bed. But it's still occurring more than I'd like.
The other problem is at bedtime we'll do our routine (shower, teeth, books, etc) and all is fine and normal. Then the minute the light is turned out he'll say he's scared or something. Instead of a night light we have usually left his closet light on with the door cracked. We also have a humidifier in the room to create some white noise, which he says he likes. He has his favorite stuffed animals with him in bed, too.
He also complains and asks why he can't sleep with me and Daddy. I tell him the same things over and over - I reassure him, I say there's no reason to be scared, we're right here in the house, children need their own beds, Mommy and Daddy need their own bed, etc.
If he does go to bed okay then several times a week he'll come out of his room and say either he's heard a noise, he can't sleep (after ten minutes), he's not tired, or some random body part hurts. It's like he tries everything and anything to make an excuse to get up.
I have an old battered sweatshirt that I wear in the winter, and at one point a couple months ago he told me how much he loved the sweatshirt. I asked if he wanted to sleep in it so he could feel "safer." He loved the idea and has slept in it ever since. That curbed the behavior for awhile - but now it's back! Lately I have found myself getting more agitated than I'd like, especially because bedtime is supposed to be calm and soothing and a nice end to the day. I don't like to "threaten" him with anything when he's supposed to be calm. But sometimes I resort to that b/c I don't know what else to do. I'm good about following through with consequences so he usually gets the message then, but again I hate to get upset with him at bedtime.
I am getting very frustrated because I can't seem to get him over this "phase," if that's what it is. I'm not used to a difficult sleeper!!! Does anyone else have this problem and/or any suggestions on how to curb it?? Thanks!