tantruming, open the door, put on your tough but firm voice and repeat the instructions about needing them to stay in bed and you will give them another chance. Repeat the 1, 2, 3 again with the door consequences. Most children get it then.
What about repeat offenders? Well I have certainly met a number of strong willed, determined children in all my years as a psychologist and parent, I can tell you that it is the bigger actions that actually mean anything. All the nice, 1,2,3 and instructions are a drop in the ocean. Its only the big consequences that have impact and inspire change. You know these children, they are the ones we see Super Nanny tackle and she takes them back to bed for about three or fours hours relentlessly. Think stamina. I would much rather avoid such 'I'm going to make you tactics' and opt for the more passive consequence as your child will have much more stamina than you on the average day and will most likely outwit, outlast and outplay you.
My strategy is to secure the door. Yes, unfortunately, once again it's the big actions that matter. It is preferred to have a lock or such in the hallway and on the third chance simply secure the door. Tell your child it will not open now. This is much better than a parent hanging on the door handle, child pulling and turning; parent pulling and turning; everyone getting frustrated, angry, yelling, emotions boiling over. Secure the door and walk away. A tantrum is likely. It's just a tantrum. Wait as long as you can, preferrably the longer time frame, fifteen minutes, go back, unlock the door, have a cuddle, reassure and start the process again. Sometimes it takes two or three goes and then your child gets the idea that their parent means business. And will usually follow the rules.
As you go through this 1, 2, 3 strategy for bedtime ins and outs be sure to praise and talk about when they are co-operating and what they are doing well. Try and catch your child, lying in bed, relaxing and waiting. Pop your head around the corner and say 'well done for staying in bed' or give a thumbs up sign or even a smile will do. This is rewarding the behaviour you want at bedtime. This too will go a long way to your child learning what you want and receiving acknowledgment for doing so. They will be pleased with themselves and their choices. So give this a go for the ins and outs at bedtime, remember to talk them through it a couple of times before you action it. There are many other times that you can use the 1, 2, 3 strategy succ