Bedtime struggles

Our boys are 4&1/2 and 3. And for the last 6months or so bedtimes have been an absolute nightmare!! They fight sleep like its the worst thing ever. Any excuse to hop out of bed, any excuse to shout for us and say something.

I have tried everything I can think of from being firm to laying with me and hoping they fall asleep. Nothing seems to make a difference. For the last month or so our new rule is they go to bed one at a time and alternate who goes first. Its not working..... they stay up so late we end up with two tired grumpy children. But putting them to bed at the same time means they run around trying to play.

Has anyone else experienced this? They used to go to bed no trouble at all and I just don't know how or why this new bedtime behaviour has started?! But its a nightmare. I love my children so much but I also love my evenings with my hubby and I miss the one on one couple time we were having which is now replaced by getting frustrated with our parenting skills because our children refuse to go to sleep even when obviously tired.

Any tips for a tired mummy and two parents are beginning wonder what on earth they are doing wrong?! I really think they are both ready for the next step in their lives, school for Charlie and nursery for Harry which will start in September. Maybe they will settle more then? I am trying so hard to keep them stimulated and busy until then in the hope I will tire them out but time will tell.

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