My 3 yo does exactly all the things your daughter does if she has had a day time nap and the evening will be really exhausting. But if your child's bedroom is next to the family room the tv would disturb her and the tension from you guys will be as thick as butter. If you have to repeatedly have to put her back to bed then say nothing because she is looking for a reaction and no eye contact either.
Maybe a reward system instead of a punishment system.
Like ...you will get an extra teddy or extra book to read or a sticker chart woth rewards,etc if you stay in bed..instead of no teddies and a smack.
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My DD dropped her day nap at 2, and the biggest sign she was ready was fighting bedtimes. Now she doesn't nap and is tired when she goes to bed so falls asleep straight after her story. If I let her nap for 1 hour because she 'needs' it, she will stay up 3 hours later fighting sleep so she gets more sleep without the nap!
Persistence is the key, bedtime is an adventure for the ops child by the sound of it. keep persisting by putting the child back to bed when she comes out and she will soon learn to stay there. My ds1 had a day sleep until he was 3.5 and ds2 is 2.5 and still has a day sleep of 1.5hrs. When first transitioning to a big bed he would find it quite an adventure by mucking around and venturing out but 9 times out of 10 he now goes to bed and stays there. It was just a matter of him learning and us not giving into him.
By the sounds of the OP her kid is ready to drop the day sleep, the OP tried it and it worked...
putting them back to bed continuously isnt any good if they are not tired and simply getting too much sleep. We were doing this with dd for ages and it didnt work, just the same struggle every night till we ended up smacking out of frustration. It was our fault, not her being naughty.
She has been going down much better since dropping the day sleep. Still fights it a bit but i expected that as it will take her a while to get into her new routine. But a definite big improvement on the 3+ hours it was taking.
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