I have two gorgeous sons, aged 4 and 6 years. We have a bedtime routine that calms and soothes. A routine which aims to create an environment in which they can happily slip into the land of nod in less than the average 15 minutes it allegedly takes for children to shut their brains down for the day.
Except that my children simply do not like to go the f&*k to sleep.
For my children, it takes – on average – 1-2 hours to get to sleep. Plus around a dozen pilgrimages from their beds to wherever their father and I have chosen to attempt to unwind for the evening – to tell us all about why they can’t go the f&*k to sleep.
Usually my response to their pleas starts out as:
‘Okay darling, but you need your sleep. Now go back to bed.’
By the time we get to the twelfth journey down the hallway, I have graduated to:
‘FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, WILL YOU JUST GO BACK TO BED??? PLEASE??!!!’
Now, given it is my calling – and my career – to place words in close proximity to each other in innovative, interesting and meaningful ways, this stagnation in messaging is simply unacceptable.
Tonight is the night that everything changes. Imma gonna get creative with bedtime.
If you, too, find yourself telling your offspring to just go the f&*k to sleep in an unchanging nightly crescendo, why not try some of these approaches yourself?^ It won’t make your child go to sleep any faster but it might just keep you from throwing your shoe after them as they stomp back down the hallway.^^
1. ‘If you don’t go to sleep now, Santa won’t come’
Child: But Santa only comes at Christmas.
Parent: Ah, that’s what they want you to think. Santa actually comes EVERY night of the year to children who fall asleep in less than 1 minute.
2. ‘Dors et fais pas chier’
Because telling your child to ‘Go the f&*k to sleep’ doesn’t count as bad parenting if you say it in French.
3. You will be dead in 11 days if you don’t go to sleep
Actually it might only take 8-10 days to die from sleep deprivation. Studies vary. There’s nothing like mortality as a motivator.
4. Mary Poppins says you can stay awake; don’t go to sleep
This will make no sense to your child whatsoever, but it will make you giggle about dancing penguins and jumping through paintings on the footpath.
You may also break into a rousing rendition of ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ – guaranteed to send any self-respecting child running the opposite direction for fear of being associated with you by their peers.
5. Bears can sleep for more than 210 days in a row. Be like bears.
Don’t be surprised if they growl at you on their way back to bed.
6. What are you, a dolphin?
Dolphins never sleep. Not completely, anyway. They do something called unihemispheric sleep. (Can we please take a moment to pity dolphin parents?)
7. Go to sleep now or your brother will grow taller than you
I read an article that said that sleep in children is critical for growth and learning. I’m choosing to extrapolate wildly and turn my sons’ strong competitive streaks against themselves. Because that’s what effective parenting is all about, right? Building on your child’s strengths.
^ This article does not contain any actual parenting advice, it’s just meant to make you laugh. Please don’t actually tell your child they will die in 11 days. That would be bad.
^^ Also throwing shoes at children is bad. Just saying.