The 30 steps it takes to get a preschooler to sleep -

When bedtime rolls around each night, my husband and I draw straws to see whose turn it is to battle our biggest war of the day – the epic fight to get our preschooler to sleep. The losing party quietly celebrates by cooking dinner in peace, while the winner uses all their patience to weather the next 30 steps without losing their mind.

  1. Bath time! The only part of the night that doesn’t come with a battle. It is not, as described by many an article a “relaxing, winding down part of the evening” however, as it actually amps our child up even more. At least she plays happily with her toys in the bath, and washes without a fuss.
  2. Dry down. The child gets that bit more hyper and runs around the house naked, begging not to have her hair combed.
  3. Child is subdued/bribed and taken back to her room, dripping wet where she may or may not agree to her hair being brushed.
  4. Last potty before bed. “I DON’T NEED TO GO POTTY!”
  5. Pyjamas on.
  6. Time for books. “It’s super late, please choose short books.”
  7. “No, Hello Ruby is NOT a short book …”
  8. The most peaceful part of the night commences. Book time is glorious.
  9. Books away, chaos ensues. And by chaos, I mean trampolining off the bed and out the door.
  10. Time for a last drink of milk and brushing of teeth. “I need to brush my teeth so germs don’t make them fall out.” There, she does listen!
  11. We pretend it’s going to be easy for her to fall asleep. I tuck her in, kiss her cute cheeks and whisper “I love you!”. Perching on the bottom of the bed, this is the pivotal moment where most nights start to go downhill.
  12. “Mama, I’m not tired. I want to play.” Yep, it’s going to be one of those nights.
  13. The legs start vibrating under the doona and her eyes are wide open.
  14. “More milk!”
  15. “More COLD milk.” GEEEEEZ.
  16. “Sing a song for me, Mama!” A hundred rounds of Goodnight, Sweetheart later and the only result is I’ve got a sore throat.
  17. “I need to go potty!” What a surprise.
  18. “More milk!”
  19. “I need a Daddy hug!”
  20. “I can’t find Dolly!”
  21. “My tummy’s rumbly!” “Here, have a banana.”
  22. “What are we doing tomorrow, Mommy?” “School!” “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”
  23. “I’m cold, can you pull up my covers?”
  24. “I’m HOT, so HOT!” Air conditioner, on.
  25. “I don’t need Dolly.”
  26. “I do need Dolly!”
  27. “I want Daddy, not Mommy!” A well-known play, the last minute switch. The last line of defense.
  28. Legs stop vibrating and kicking, and the head finally rests on the pillow. The battle is slowly coming to a close.
  29. A little voice softly sings to herself. “Baby you’re a firework, come on show them what you’re worth!”
  30. The tiny voice gets quieter and the words become mumbled. The eyes slowly droop and her breathing gets heavy. Breathe a sigh of relief, the bedtime battle is over for another night.

This article first appeared on MommyNearest.

22 comments on “The 30 steps it takes to get a preschooler to sleep”

  1. Bedtimes are exhausting! Last night I have decided to start a sticker chart (I hate sticker charts) with some form of bribery at the completition of which. Sometimes parenting means you break all the rules, but you don’t break your sanity. (Fingers crossed.) Good luck tonight! (I’m looking forward to tonight. Sleepover at Grandmas while hubby and I go out to dinner! Yee Har!)

  2. Christine I love your posts with all of the steps!! And the bed time battles are a reality for every family I’m sure! Can’t even imagine it when we have 2 kids!?!

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