My 2½ year old son generally has no problem with going to bed and that whole routine but once he's lying down quietly it still takes him forever to actually fall asleep. "Forever" in this case being an hour or more.
I had much the same problem growing up; I would lie for literally hours and stare at the wall, or the ceiling, waiting for sleep to come. Most of the time I wasn't very much aware that I had my eyes open but often enough I realized that they were. I got myself one of those black cloth eye-masks you get from the airlines, and that helped. I believe it was because the mask made me actually close my eyes which was the subconscious factor keeping me from sleeping.
How can I help him understand that he should close his eyes to sleep? I can't very well give my son one of those masks to wear.
Update based on first answers:
- It's clear that he is tired when we put him to bed because he doesn't attempt go get up again. He gets plenty of activity during the day. Also, no sugary things.
- We try to remove distractions at bedtime as a part of the bedtime routine: toys are put away, stories have been read (or a single Barbapapa video), curtains are closed, and it's reasonably quiet.