Anyone who has children knows that toddlers hate to go to
sleep. This is where a toddler's true genius comes out. You would think it would be easy,
getting this small human being to lay her little head down and fall into
slumber after a long day of vigorously playing, climbing, building and tearing
down things, throwing food and spastically running away from you. But instead, they become their own little
special forces unit, implementing clever strategies and tactics to carry out
their nightly objective of not going to sleep.
Their ways are sometimes simple, sometimes complex, but overall, it's a
full-on campaign. And we as parents have
to hold our ground, be ready for surprise attacks and often have to call for
back up. Even if you are one of those
lucky parents who claims to have a dreamy unicorn child who "just puts himself
to sleep without a struggle" — first of all, PLEEZE!, and secondly, I know at
some point, you've seen your toddler pull a few of these shenanigans. Here
are 10 ways toddlers try to stall the bedtime process.
1. Poops Herself
I don't know how they do it, but they time it so perfectly and get their bowels to be so in sync with
plans to stave off bedtime. In our
house, it happens more often than you'd think, when three to five minutes after we've
laid her down and said good night, we hear her screaming "POOP" in a tone that
half says, "Help me!" and half says, "In your FACE!"
2. "One more story"
This trick is as old as time. After reading one or even two charming
bedtime stories, your little one excitedly asks for another. And then another. And another. You want to believe that it is because of your excellent character
voices or meaningful pauses, but let's face it, your toddler is PLAYING
YOU! Sure, he probably loves books and
learning, sure he probably has a vivid imagination that is fueled by these
stories, but he also knows that as soon as storytime ends, it's lights out and
Snoozeville for him. So the longer he
can keep you doing that overly precious "Good Night Moon" whisper-voice or
rambling on about a starving caterpillar, the longer he can be not
3. "I'm thirsty/hungry!"
This one is tough because on the one hand you don't want to be
foiled by a devious toddler's ploy to stay awake, especially when you know she
just downed a glass of milk, but on the other, to deny your child food or water
when they are pleading for it makes you feel like a total asshole. This anti-bedtime tactic is one of the most
effective. It also cleverly paves the way for the "pooping" and "peeing" stall
strategies, which may likely occur shortly thereafter.
When they pull out that power-punch, the trifecta of "I wuv you mommy" accompanied by lots of hugs and kisses, oh wow you're so screwed.
4. Owie Drama
My daughter seems to get spur of the moment invisible
lacerations on her fingers and elbows right around bedtime. Sometimes her foot even gets "boken" (broken)
by the air. This buys more time and
attention as we must address these ailments with healing kisses, a Band-Aid or
sometimes even a Pillow Pet splint.
5. The Melt Mommy's Heart Tactic
In this sleep-averse scheme, your toddler does something so
adorable that it's hard for you not to linger with her and interact with her a
while longer just to soak up that sweet, sweet moment and mood. You can quickly give appreciation and then say
"good night" for an unsolicited kiss, a "pretty mommy" or an extra long hug,
but when they pull out that power-punch, the trifecta of "I wuv you mommy" accompanied by lots of hugs
and kisses, oh wow you're so
6. The Entertainer
We clap for them and egg them on during the day when they go
into performance mode, so why wouldn't we encourage them when they channel
Taylor Swift at bedtime? I try my best
to put my foot down early with this one, but my daughter knows that when she
goes "Bey" on me, I turn into a weird superfan watching her in pure delight and
egging her on for one more song while I fumble with my iPhone to record
her. I have a lot of work to do on
7. "I'm scared!"
I have to admit, this one gets me EVERY time. Why? Two words: Marie Osmond. When I was young, my aunt gave me a life-size
(it had to be 3 feet tall) Marie Osmond doll that sat in the corner of my room
and threatened to kill me most nights. Though she only tormented me for a few
weeks until I got over my worry of hurting my aunt's feelings and told my
parents, she traumatized me, and I spent many nights trying to get over
that spooky, even if a little bit country, feeling. Point is, I remember how awful it felt to
be scared and to not know how to cope, so I run into my kids' rooms anytime I
hear the word "scared" just to reassure them. And I also will never buy one single Nutrisystem product, lady.
You've read Junior his 1 (or 3 ) stories, gotten him some
water, changed his diaper or taken him to the potty and kissed him
goodnight. As you walk away, he spits a
dagger at your heart, but mostly your patience, with a "You hurt my feelings,
mommy." My daughter is only 22 months,
so I'm uncertain as to whether she really know what that means, but I gather
that she gets the gist, and whatever the case, it still jars my guts when I
hear it in that itty bitty Toddlerese voice, giving it her best effort as a last
resort. Call me a sucker, tell me I'm
forming bad habits. Fine. But I always turn around.