Got an Answer?
I think I was just a tough parent, we couldn’t afford to accomodate this sort of behaviour as we have three and are exhausted..no help etc. therefore we have to protect ourselves..and our sleep. Send him back to his room and tell him clearly that if he comes back in for no reason then he is not going to get to do sometHing he enjoys...because well, you’re exhausted by being worked up all the time. Yes it’s tough in the beginning and you worry you are setting them up for a lifetime of fear and worry,,,but actually after a week of good sleep you’ll realise that eveyone is well on their way to better sleep(him too), a happy life(him too) and you’ll be patting yourself on the back for being the adult on the relationship not at the mercy to his behaviours. I really feel you are actually encouraging him to do this, and other side effects will come. by actively not being strict and disciplining him personally, but each to their own.
You've just said YOU find it hard to go back to sleep as an adult- if your son is the same then he is FIVE and doesn't have the skills to fall asleep on his own or doesn't understand why he is waking. Talk to him about it- what's happening, what's he thinking about when he tries to sleep, is something scaring him, is he starting school soon and anxious? Find something he likes to keep him company, keep reassuring him that he will be OK, and if you spend the time helping him develop these skills, yes you might have to sit with him, or keep taking him back to bed and wait till he is asleep, then he will hopefully have a positive association with sleep....if you force the issue, leave him scared and alone, you might be setting yourself up for more sleep issues.
My son is the same.
We use a tick chart and he gets a reward
However once he get the reward he comes back into my bed!
Slowly getting better
Not quite the same, but our 4 year old would only go to sleep if we laid with him (then we could get up once he was asleep) and generally would get up if no one stayed in his room with him. I bought the $10 star projector/night light from Kmart, told him it was very special and he only got to use it when he was by himself. First couple of nights he got out of bed a few times when trying to go to sleep, but I took a hard line and ordered him back to bed. After about 3 nights, he's been great since. Sometimes he'll ask for it to be turned off as it's distracting. Otherwise we turn it off once he's asleep (it doesn't have a timer). He does have another night light though, as he doesn't like it too dark. You have to be mentally ready to dish out the tough love, so make sure you are in the right mindset. Have a plan to try something for a week or two before deciding if you'll try something else, as chopping and changing too often won't help.