The Challenges Of Getting A Child To Sleep At Night

Parents often talk about the newborn and baby days being the worst when it comes to sleep. I totally agree with that, but because little is said about issues with sleep when the kids get older, there’s an unspoken assumption that all is fine.

Well, I can tell you that this assumption is wrong! The challenges faced with slightly older children are different, but it’s basically the same result – a lot of faffing, plenty of annoyance and not enough time spent in the Land Of Nod for everyone involved. Let me give you a few examples.

With a preschooler / school-aged kid, you’re likely to be dealing with a night time ninja who somehow manages to get into your bed in the middle of the night without you noticing, then proceeds to take up all of the room to disrupt your night.

You may also have a child who doesn’t understand what a glorious thing a lie-in is (despite purchasing a Gro-Clock!). They choose to be up at the crack of dawn with child-mode cranked up to twelve – singing, dancing, shouting, playing, stomping and talking in your ear whilst you’re half awake.

Then there’s getting them into bed in the first place. As bedtime approaches, everything slows up and it’s excuse after excuse after excuse. All of a sudden, they’ve forgotten how to walk up the stairs, they’re unable to take their clothes off without help, can’t possible sit on the toilet themselves and spend 20 minutes choosing a bedtime story.

Finally getting them into bed doesn’t necessarily provide respite. The fact that they can now think complex thoughts and can vocalise them – as well as being manipulative little buggers – means you are at their beck and call until they finally drop off.

At 4.5 years old, L is pretty well practised in this. She’s well aware that a shout of “Daddy” or “Mummy” will have a parent at her bedroom door within 30 seconds. This gives her ample time to come up with a reason for calling us in the first place. Sometimes, it’s a genuine reason or question. Sometimes, it’s just a delay tactic.

I’ve got to hand it to her though. Some of the excuses, reasons and questions she comes up with are great – so much so that I’ve started logging them for purposes of this ‘ere blog post. It’s like that 15 or so minutes before she goes to sleep is a time for her brain to think about and process the day – which she then needs to vocalise!

So, here’s a selection (yes, selection!) of questions and reasons why I’ve been called into L’s room after I’ve said “goodnight” and left her to go to sleep:

  • “Daddy, I have a knot in my hair.”
  • “Daddy, I forgot to tidy up downstairs.”
  • “Daddy, is it still the World Cup?”
  • “Daddy, I need a wee.”
  • “Daddy, did you know that I can run as fast as a cheetah?”
  • “Daddy, I’m lonely. Can you stay in my bed?”
  • “Daddy, is my birthday in spring or summer?
  • “Daddy, what are you doing downstairs?”
  • “Daddy, it’s too dark. Can you turn on a light?”
  • “Daddy, I’ve been thinking about my breakfast – can I have Weetabix and Cheerios together?”
  • “Daddy, I need a drink.”
  • “Daddy, can we have a barbecue tomorrow if it’s sunny?”
  • “Daddy, can I have a big hug?”
  • “Daddy, did you know a peregrine falcon is a bird of prey?”
  • “Daddy, I didn’t have a pudding tonight.”
  • “Daddy, is it morning yet?”
  • “Daddy, can I take my brother to school when I’m an adult?”
  • “Daddy, my eyes won’t close.”
  • “Daddy, how do you say vagina in Spanish?”
  • “Daddy, why did you have longer hair when you were younger?”
  • “Daddy, I’m too excited to sleep.”
  • “Daddy, what did I have for school lunch today?”
  • “Daddy, what is a breakdown service?”
  • “Daddy, I’m too hot.”
  • “Daddy, when is it Christmas?”
  • “Daddy, I like the Greatest Showman.”
  • “Daddy, my feet are itchy. Can you rub them?”
  • “Daddy, you forgot to give me my socks to put on.”
  • “Daddy, I can’t find Pink Bear.”
  • “Daddy, erm…erm…erm…I’ve forgotten what I was going to say.”
  • “Daddy, I’m scared of monsters.”
  • “Daddy, I’m not tired.”
  • “Daddy, I don’t want to die.”
  • “Daddy, my pyjamas are too small.”
  • “Daddy, what are we going to do tomorrow?”
  • “Daddy, what’s the name of the song that says ‘I get knocked down but I get up again’?”
  • “Daddy, I’ve been very lucky today because I’ve seen five ladybirds.”

Does this sound familiar? Is your kid good or bad at going to sleep at night? Have you been called back into their room for any funny reasons? Let me know below!