7 excuses toddlers use to avoid going to bed on time

Posted in Behaviour and Discipline.

Let’s get this straight. I’m a strong-minded, independent three-year-old. I can pretty much do anything and everything by myself – just ask me – and, best of all, I can do it all on very little sleep.

So, why is it that I’m made to go to bed sooooo early? There are so many things I could be doing at 7pm instead.

Yet, mum and dad are pretty insistent that this is the rule. But, I’m not one to give up easily. I’ve devised a number of ways to drag things out. I reckon one day they’ll just give up.

Here are my top bedtime procrastination tips:

1. Being more dehydrated than the Sahara

As you get into bed, demand that you need a drink because you’re sooooo thirsty and don’t be put off by “well, now it’s too late”. Too late, my butt.

This thirst ain’t going nowhere, mama. Simply keep shouting or reappearing to state that you’re very rapidly channelling the Sahara Desert.

When the drink is granted (which it will be, mwwahhh), drink it really slowly and intersperse with some friendly chat.

The same approach applies for the “I’m soooo hungry” technique and remember to chew your food at least 20 times.  

2. A sudden need to tell a really long story

As bedtime nears, start dropping a few tasters about the happenings of your day. Start to elaborate more as time ticks on.

When the pyjamas come out, step things up. Launch into a detailed account about your time in the sandpit, the finger painting you did or the dinner you ate. Anything goes.

A really good tale can last up to 20 minutes. But why stop at one?

3. Being scared

Put on your best whimper and repeatedly shout that you’re scared.

If no one comes (heartless souls), appear in the lounge. Adopt your best lip wobble and clutch your teddy as if your life depended on it.

Insist that you can’t and won’t sleep unless someone lies with you. When they accompany you to bed, launch into a story – refer to above.

4. An interest in oral hygiene

Remember the times when you used to armour up to fight the teeth cleaning battle? Well, consider those days gone. Teeth cleaning is now your friend.

Take the recommended cleaning time of a minute and double it … and double it again.

Insist on cleaning without help and develop a sudden interest in oral hygiene. Ask ALL the questions about teeth and, if you’re unsure of the answers (which you may well be…cough, cough), ask again.

5. Lose something … anything

Think of something that you haven’t seen for a while. Maybe it’s an old toy, a cuddly or even a long-forgotten t-shirt.

Insist that all of a sudden, you CAN’T sleep without it. It’s making you oh so sad — cue watery eyes.

Assist by getting up and helping to look for said lost item. When it’s not found (most likely and best outcome) launch into a mammoth meltdown – a long one at that.

6. Embrace your curiosity

The “I really need to ask you something” is a good one to pull out the bag. Remember, all topics are open, the deeper, the better.

For example, maybe you need to know all about dinosaurs – how many are there? Where do they live? But, where have they gone if they’ve died? But why did they die? Did they get eaten by other dinosaurs? So, are those uneaten ones still left?

The questions are endless.

7. Pull on the heartstrings

Insist on another cuddle and another kiss. Enough said.


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