Some children do not sleep much. My 15 year old hardly slept when she was a baby. She was good about bed and would stay there. I did let her cry it out for a couple of nights, and she was fine about staying in bed after that. I checked on her every few minutes to make sure she wasn't hungry, sick or in need of a change.
She just never slept much. Unfortunately, I am a person who needs sleep, or I am cranky. So she learned to keep herself busy quietly when she woke up at night, staying in bed. I was right across the hall, so I heard her if she came out.
She rarely ever took naps, either.(So I couldn't nap when she did!) When she was real little, we brought her into bed with us when she would wake up, but not after her 8th month.
She still does not really sleep much. She just cannot seem to do it. If I didn't sleep at night, I would have been cranky all the time, and we all would have been miserable because of it. Like I said, I need my sleep.
Her dad died when she was 8 months old, and a few weeks later I let her cry for a couple of nights. After that she was fine with being quiet. I left the night light on so she could see her sister. I left the door open so that I could hear her (I wake up at the smallest noise to this day!), I would let her have a toy/book (best to put this in the bed after she is asleep the first time). I still checked on her when I got up to go to the bathroom (about 4 times a night due to potty training).
She still reads when she wakes up late at night/early morning. After she is up for a couple hours, she goes back to sleep. This, of course, means that she is still not getting the sleep she needs. We have spoken to doctors and a psychologist, and there is really nothing to be done about it.
Since you are married, here are my suggestions:
* Put a rocking chair in the bedroom.
* Take turns with your husband getting up.
* Mmake sure your son is dry, not hungry and not sick.
* Maybe do the video earlier in the day, and add something else to the bedtime routine. Something that is not very stimulating: looking at the stars, coloring, telling stories...
* Let him sleep as long as he can.
* When he wakes up remember, it won't hurt him to cry for a couple of minutes. But I would do this slowly. The first time, let him cry for a minute, then a minute and a half.....
* When you go in, check on him and pick him up and sit in the rocking chair. Sometimes I would pretend to go to sleep, my face close to hers, and she would (on ocassion) fall back to sleep sooner. Make sure his head is near your chest (heartbeats are relaxing, reminiscent of the womb), and just rock him, without talking, quietly with soft lighting.
* Some children sleep better with soft, slow, classical music. Some do not.
* Some need a night light, some do not.
Whatever you do, just be sure to have lots of patience. They cannot tell us why they cannot sleep, but sometimes (or with some children) they just cant.
Remember, they may be cranky, but it is from lack of sleep.
Also, if he naps during the day, ths could be a problem. Though my daughter never really napped, some children that age do.
Maybe you could start cutting back on naptime. Say, if he naps for two hours, get him up half an hour early. When he is used to that, try for another half hour.
Everyone I know has tried putting their children to bed later to get them to sleep longer. This did not work for any of us! Their internal clocks automatically wake them up! And sometimes they are up even earlier.
At any rate, that is all I know. Letting them cry it out seems mean (it did to me!), but it does not harm them none in the long run. They won't even remember. And it will not hurt your relationship with him.