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How to Handle Bedtime Excuses

08/07/2013 | Beds, Bedtime, Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

As a parent, the bedtime excuses I endure in the evening from my toddler are my least favorite time of the day. Kids can be master manipulators and will say or do anything their little minds can think of to get out of going to sleep. My daughter goes through the same routine every night. “Goodnight.” “Goodnight.” “Mum! I am thirsty.” (Mum brings daughter water.) “Goodnight.” “Goodnight.” “Mum! I have to wee!” (Mum brings daughter to wee.) “Goodnight.” “Goodnight.” “Mum! I’m hot.” (Mum removes blanket and tells daughter she will have a nervous breakdown if she doesn’t go to sleep.) Although you probably won’t be able to make the excuses go away, there are a few ways to go about handling them to make bedtime less painful for everyone.


Be prepared. You already know your child will act like they are dying of thirst, so have the cup ready to go. One less trip up the stairs, one less bedtime excuse. Make sure they know that they are only allowed one cup before bedtime, eliminating future requests for water and the looming threat of bedwetting. Place an extra blanket at the end of the bed, and let them know if they get cold they can get it all on their own. If you kid complains about the room being too dark or too light, ask them before you leave if they need a nightlight or the curtains drawn.


Make a routine. Follow the same routine every night so your child is prepared to go to bed. After dinner give them a bath. Brush their teeth. Get into pyjamas. Put them in bed. Read a bedtime story. (Let them choose the book for extra kid points.) Go through the ‘preparations’ and kiss them goodnight. While a routine won’t eliminate the excuses, it will prepare you child for bedtime much better than simply sending them to bed.


Kids and bedtime excuses go hand in hand. Every parent deals with this stage at some point in their children’s lives. It is important to keep your cool because getting upset only makes bedtime that much harder. Follow a nightly bedtime routine so your child understands that bedtime is coming, and prepare for the usual oncoming excuses. Try to remind yourself that every parent deals with the same thing, and take it all in stride. Enjoy the time of your child’s life when they want you around as much as possible, someday you will find yourself wishing for bedtime excuses.

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