“I’m not tired!” and 12 other excuses your toddler will pull at bedtime

Posted in Sleeping.

Fact: The closer it gets to your toddler’s bedtime, the faster the excuses start flying – and they don’t usually stop at one. Oh no! These crafty little beings can’t dream up enough ways to delay sleep, showing no mercy to weary parents.


1. My head won’t stop thinking

In fairness, this happens to us all. But clever tots know that this tactic could yield a lovely bedside chinwag with Mummy as she attempts to calm the busy toddler mind.

2. I can hear a fly

Or any other airborne insect. This will no doubt have you gazing up at the ceiling in search of an imaginary bug, and later have you unable to sleep yourself, convinced you can hear something buzzing …

3. But I’ll miss you

Ah, the emotional card. This usually comes with puppy dog eyes and outstretched arms that make parents weak at the knees. Sweet as it sounds, once you’ve heard it five times over the course of an hour, legitimacy of your toddler’s claim comes into question.


4. I need to poo. And wee.

Because, despite the fact that everyone knows that this is a ploy, your toddler also knows that we won’t risk having to clean up any accidents later. Cue a chaperoned trip to the bathroom. Or three.

5. Monsters! Hiding! Everywhere!

This is where your toddler watches amusedly as you scour the room for forces of evil that may be under the bed, in the clothes hamper, in between the pages of books (yes, apparently they can hide there), even inside shoes. Typically, this excuse involves returning to the room later to repeat the ‘cleanse’ for a different species of monster.

scary monsters sl

6. I need my bedroom door open

So you do this. Minutes later you are instructed to close said door. When, over the course of an hour, the bedroom door eventually finds a position that seems acceptable, your toddler will move on to the wardrobe doors and begin the process again.

7. I’m hungry. I’ll eat my dinner now

This. When an hour earlier they insisted (upon Teddy’s honour) that they would never, repeat never, eat the roast dinner you slow cooked for six entire hours.

8. I feel sick. Can I sleep with you?

A no-win situation. If you relent, you are guaranteed a sleepless night as your toddler practises his sleep ninja moves on your exhausted limbs. If you hold firm, you will be awake all night worrying if your toddler really is sick.

toddlers in bed with parents sl

9. I need another story

Your toddler will make a pleading face and explain that it’s the only way to get tired. It’s a trap! One more book means at least ten more questions and even more thoughts in their heads – bringing your toddler right back to Excuse Number One (see above).

10. I’ve got a question

Because let’s face it, the questions never stop. Like ever.

11. I want mummy/daddy to put me to bed

Usually said with a pout and an expression of sheer longing, this excuse is summed up perfectly by this cheeky little guy:

12. Just one more hug?

And you relent. Because by this stage you might actually need one yourself.

They may be little, they may be irresistibly cute, but tenacious tots sure do give it their all in the battle against sleepy time.

What are some of your toddler’s favourite excuses at bedtime?


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