'Oh it gets easier as they get older'. I hear that ALOT! However I am sorry to tell you that sometimes (and in my case) it isn't true.
WHAT CAN I DO?
I've heard alcohol is the answer (for me not them!). However as much as I might think that drinking myself into a drunken stupor most nights seems like a better option than dealing with bedtime I figured I better deal with the issues that the children have instead.
iPads/iPods/Phones/Tablets these are a big deal in my house bordering obsession including the husband. I'm a lone warrior against a ban on gadgets in the evenings as I fight against 6 people who can't step away from the technology. This really doesn't help sleep at all and probably the reason they all find it so hard to settle once they do go up to bed. It's constant during the evenings and at weekends and whilst I try and enforce it I get no back up and even the oldest members of the family break out in a cold sweat at the mere suggestion of stepping away from the technology and focusing on the sleep issues and family time.
It's difficult to implement rules for bedtime routines when you feel like you are doing it all on your own. Thing 5 who has problems settling down to sleep at night is my main issue. We go up to bed, I read him a couple of books and then tuck him in and turn the light off. However, I can't leave the room. First bad sleeping habit right there. Every night I sit and wait for him to fall asleep before retreating from his bedroom feeling slightly stressed yet relieved he is finally sleeping. However I have completely lost my evening and any chance of relaxing myself before my bedtime.
Each morning he is a nightmare to wake up for school. He is tired, cranky and moody. And yet every evening when I think he is going to be tired because of a full day at school and a rubbish morning wake up call it still takes another hour or two to go to sleep again.
Last night in desperation to get just 5 minutes of my evening to myself I let Thing 5 have the iPad as he wouldn't sleep anyway. Yet I still don't get 5 minutes as he calls me for anything and everything. The OH is blissfully unaware of what is going on and sits most evenings playing on his Playstation whilst I deal with bedtime and I guess that's what stresses me out even more.
So I think I am going to have to go with a complete ban on technology until bedtimes are sorted. No more afternoon naps for the teen and getting the OH in to help with bedtime with Thing 5. Once he starts losing some of his evenings he might realise how much it needs to be sorted.
As for the alcohol, I might get to have a glass once I regain my evenings! Or maybe some celebratory chocolates!