My son is nearly 4 and refuses to stay in bed. The only way make him go to bed and fall asleep is to stay with him and keep him from climbing out. This can take multiple hours every night.
We get up around 7:30 in the morning, he usually has no nap during the day and we start putting him to bed around 20:00.
We have a regular routine, consisting of washing face, brushing and reading him two stories he can pick.
Whatever we tried, when he is left unguarded he will climb out of his bed and join us in the living room. I tried keep putting him to bed, but after 40 times putting him back to bed he got more and more naughty and started hitting me. At some point he didn't even wait for me to leave the room anymore and would immediately get up again to leave the bed, making it a sport to defy me.
Talking to him before, also had no impact. He agreed to stay in his bed, after reading him his stories and he keeps telling me so every time catch him and bring him back to bed, if I ask him.
We also tried changing his bed-time from much earlier to much later. But even with starting his bed routine as late as 23:00 and asking him to stay in bed at 23:30 he is not willing to stay in there.
Any suggestion on how to make him go to bed by himself, without needing one of his parents guard him for hours?
I tried to look for similar questions, the closest was this one: How to make toddler stay in his own bed at night However in our case, just repeatedly trying does not work.
Update: I decided to try Cecilia's approach and I am one week in now. The first day was brutal. I sat on the chair and my son, was fighting, yelling, pleading, kicking and throwing things. In the end he took all the covers and sheets from the bed and threw them as well. I patiently sat there and ignored most of it, only where he started hurting me or risked hurting himself when he decided to try throwing over a massive night stand. It took two hours until he finally climbed to bed and fell asleep whimpering. Day 2 wasn't much different, but it took only one hour and on night three it was down to four and now I am sitting on my chair for 10-20 minutes before he falls asleep and he is not trying to get out anymore and only asks if he has a genuine need (going to the toilet or drinking water).
What worked for me is to sit on a chair where I am partially visible to him from the bed, but have no eye contact. The second night I started to bring my phone, put my headphones on and watched a video. This not only helped me ignoring his rants and endure sitting there for an hour, but also made it clear to him that I cannot hear him.