So, I have one of those kids.
The kind that doesn’t need sleep.
So yeah, I am that mom. The one you see rolling into work, or the bus stop, or the grocery store unshowered, dazed, and wearing socks with my flip flops.
I have tried all the tricks in the book: ie, warm baths, strict bedtime routines, limiting screen time, reading 3 books, reading 5 books,and heck- even reading 20 books. I attempted everything from stern conversations to cuddle sessions to everything in between. If you have a non-sleeper, you get me.
No matter what I try, bedtime battles drag on, and it seems that right after my head hits the pillow, he is jumping on me to wake me up for breakfast.
The lack of “me” time and my incessant fatigue has led me to invent and try some desperate, unconventional methods. Are these methods guaranteed to get a non-sleeper to bed? I’d be lying if I said Yes. But do they work sometimes? On occasion, Yes.
Therefore, I am going to share these five methods; just in case there is a parent out there desperate for 20 minutes of watching House Hunters alone before your eyelids start to close against your will.
1) “The Snore Method”
This method has to be my favorite. When my kid is asking for food (he just ate), or asking for water (she just drank), or throwing out any other stalling tactic, this is my go-to move.
“The Snore Method” works like this: lay down beside my child and pretend that you are sleeping. Your child WILL try to wake you at first, but you must resist any movement or laughter. They will try to jump on you, tickle you, and shout at you.
Tonight, when I initiated this approach, my three year old attempted to place my own finger in my nose. I did everything I could to not laugh. Eventually, they will grow bored when they decide that you are sleeping. They will retreat and finally fall asleep.
Also read: Tips for Toddlers who won’t sleep without mom.
2) Sloth Technique
I will occasionally try what I like to call the Sloth Technique. This is especially useful for the nights when you know that your child is extremely tired and internally battling the Sandman.
This method is rather easy. Every word that comes out of your mouth has to be extremely slow and drawn out. Imagine that you are a sloth, and you are trying to soothe your sloth-child to bed. Literally take a full minute to say “Good night…”
The calm, slow voice will quickly initiate yawns in your little one. It will both confuse them as they try to listen and bore them right to sleep.
3) “But I’m a Baby, too” Mode
Fully dissolve any arguments by pretending that you are also a baby that doesn’t want to go to bed. In a baby voice, agree that it stinks that it is bedtime. If they ask for extra drinks or snacks, tell them you are only a baby and you can’t help them.
By eliminating the arguments and creating a level of confusion, the little negotiator will have no other option but to back down.
4) Stuffed Animal Friends Approach
Start by piling every single stuffed animal that your child owns onto their bed. Then, have them climb in the middle of the pile. Ask them what stuffed animal they would like to be that night. Tell them you are both stuffed animals and you are not allowed to move.
If they speak, throw a quick “Shhhhh” their way. No one can stay awake while swimming in a pile of stuffed animals. Eventually, they will succumb to dreamland.
5) Conversation Flipping
You must practice before initiating this plan of actions. In conversation flipping, anytime your child tries to stall bedtime or leave their room, quickly and softly bring up a distracting and unrelated topic. Here is an example:
- Child: Mommy, I am not tired. Your Reply: Oh ya? Are you excited that we are going to the beach for vacation in 6 months?
- Child: Mommy, I want another snack. Your Reply: If it is nice this weekend we should go to the park and then go on a hike.
- Child: Daddy, I am going to go watch TV downstairs. Your Reply: Saturday morning I think I am going to make pancakes for breakfast.
No child can avoid conversations about vacations, holidays, weekends, and breakfast food. These topics will distract them just long enough to forget their stalling tactics and let their exhaustion wash over them.
You will not find these methods in any parenting books. Your pediatrician will not refer you to try one of these techniques. Also, there is not any science to back up these methods.
However, with that disclaimer aside, if you are in the my-kid-doesn’t-sleep-club, you are more than likely open to try anything. Why not give one of these a shot?
Also, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally enjoy some of these methods.
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