How bedtime routine became a dream

There was a time, long ago on a little island in a beautiful world when my child went to bed every single night at 8pm without complaint. It sounds like a fairy tale … Even to me but it happened and I have no idea why!

These days at least until recently bedtime was no longer a dream come true… It was more of a nightmare that I relived every single evening starting at about ten minutes to eight. If I’m being completely honest, I felt helpless. I am the parent for crying out loud and yet they seemed to have complete control of how each night went. I knew we needed a huge change but I was at a loss as to what that change should be.

At Ella’s 4 year checkup I asked her pedestrian what he thought about our bedtime fiasco. While it was all good advice, it was the same things that I’ve read before. I’d tried the lavender sleepy time bubble bath, all I can say is that my kids must be immune to that stuff because it was more like a water-park than a restful spa. I needed a drastic answer – a magic answer if you will.

And wouldn’t you know it? When you wish upon a star wonderful things can happen! Now I know it’s not the most conventional method but it’s done miracles for giving my hubby and my time back to us! A couple days after the appointment I was listening to a talk given by a very respected parent consultant and right in between dealing with ‘x’ and ‘z’ was my Y! So here’s what I tried…

That night as bedtime came around I got everyone into their pajamas, we brushed teeth and read books and soon the complaints started to roll forward. This time however I was ready. As the whines and whimpers began to decent and sympathized and agreed.

‘You know what. When I’m not tired I have a really hard time going to bed too. Would you like to go to bed or stay up?’


‘Okay.’ At this time Taylor’s eyes were as big as saucers as he tried to figure out what had just happened to his wife. He was about to interject but I continued, ‘…this is mommy and daddy’s time to be alone. I know that when I don’t feel sleepy it’s really hard to just lay in bed wide awake. You can stay awake as long as you would like to but you need to stay in your room and you need to keep the door closed.’

They loved it and agreed. Bedtime has been wonderful ever since implementing this new idea. I will warn you that the very first night they are going to test it and stay up as late as their little bodies will allow. Silence finally fell on the kid’s room well after 11 pm. And there is a good chance that once rest has finally won, when you go to check on them they probably won’t be tucked nicely under the blankets. We found Paysen asleep on the run in just a t-shirt the first night. But for this little house it’s been a welcome solution to our bedtime wars.

It’s been really interesting but as the nights have gone on they’ve gone to bed earlier and earlier. Ella didn’t even try to stay up last night. Instead she just told me she was tired and needed her rest. I guess it’s obvious, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before? Aren’t we all that way? We want what we can’t have and we need to feel like we have control. Why would children be any different? This is one area where we are happy to let them feel in control within safe boundaries that we have set up.


  1. Okay, this is brilliant. SO brilliant. We need to try this….especially so we can get Avi back into her own bed.

  2. I agree!! Brilliant! We tell our kids, you can be up but you just need to stay on your beds with the door closed. They go to sleep now around 8ish.. love it! On emergancy situations we use melatonin.. a herbal remedy for when they are just too tired to sleep, you know when they are so wound up sleep just isn’t possible? It works great! As always I love your pictures and follow your blog religiously. :) Hugs

  3. I’m thinking about it. Seriously thinking about it. But do you have any advice for the child who wakes up all night long, and comes into your room, just to give you a commentary on what she is thinking? Like, my sheets weren’t tight enough. Or, I couldn’t find my blanket (she’s holding it). Etc, etc, etc. My one year old is sleeping better than my 3 1/2 year old. And something is seriously wrong with that.

    Oh, and, (as always), your picture is absolutely precious.

  4. Carrie says:

    Way to go Leah! I’m so proud of you! What a sweet post :)
    (Ha! I can just picture Taylor’s face when you told them they could stay awake!)

  5. This was a good post! We have 2 boys (5 & 7 now) we let them talk, laugh, sing as long as they are in bed laying down. They share a room, bunk beds ;)

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