At bedtime, my boys can sit and play and mess around, until they just pass out from exhaustion. So an 8 o'clock bedtime, turns into a 9:30 bedtime, turns into cranky boys the next morning!
So, my solution? First, we make sure teeth are brushed and pottying is done. Then we head up to bed. I will sit on the 2 older boys bed and we will talk. Talk about what happened that day, talk about their fears, talk about the future, talk about God. We have had some great talks and even a talk about how do you "get" to go to heaven, ending with my son, Austin, accepting Christ into his heart (officially) =). We also have helped overcome fears, prayed for others, and talked about the kind of people that God wants us to be. Then we say prayers.
They are then allowed to read quietly for a little while, and if I hear them talking beyond 8:45 pm, I tell them to go to sleep, and usually I don't hear another peep from them.
With boys, and maybe for girls too I don't know, they have to be whined down. They have to have a time when their little minds and bodies can slowly adjust to a bed and to sleep rather then going a mile a minute... It's less of a fight at bed, and it DEFINITELY works for me!