Top five children’s bedtime delaying tacticsPosted: November 14, 2013 | |
Children are cunning creatures. They are particularly cunning when you are least capable of countering their cunning with craftiness of your own – at bedtime.
It’s been a long, hard day. You’re ready to collapse in a heap, but first you have various tedious jobs to do – stuff like washing up, sorting out washing, filling in umpteen forms to send back to school… Before that, however, there is the small matter of getting the kids to bed.
They know you want them to go to bed. You have told them several times already, in an increasingly loud and hysterical voice. It seems like they haven’t been listening, but they know.
Here’s the problem. They don’t want to go to bed. A battle of wills commences. They will get sudden urges to perform songs from their school play, reveal the forgotten homework, or choose this moment to tell you, in astounding detail, what they’ve been doing today – information previously forgotten or withheld.
Bedtime is the perfect time to wind you up. Tired, impatient and battle weary, you are no match for their devious bedtime delaying tactics. Here are the top five methods employed by my two children. I suspect parents across the land will recognise some, if not all, of these.
Ah, the bedtime story. A nice, cosy few minutes for you to share quality time with your little cherub. It’s also the perfect opportunity to catch you off guard with a delaying tactic. You’ve finished the chapter. “Right, time for bed,” you say, in a kindly yet determined fashion. “Can I have another chapter?” asks the cunning child, unleashing puppy-dog eyes. “Pleeeeeaaaaase?” And you find yourself thinking “Well, I did quite enjoy reading that and having a cuddle…” They sense this weakness and capitalise on it. You’re fair game for the expert bedtime delayer.
Kids never ask for a drink. Having a drink interferes with playing. Well, I say never, but that’s not quite true. They never ask for a drink EXCEPT at bedtime, when they a) realise they actually were thirsty all along and b) it buys them an extra few seconds of awake time.
Often a side effect of the evening drink, “I need the toilet” is perhaps the most compelling bedtime phrase. It will get you leaping out of your chair or bed, abandoning the washing up and legging it to your stricken child’s side in seconds. Why? Because of the possible consequences. A wet bed. A nappy to change, perhaps. And let’s not even bring the fear of poo clear-up into this. Kids know this is a winning trick. They can always force out a paltry trickle of a wee if it means delaying bedtime.
Aw, poor ickle bubba is scared. Hmm, really? Or have they remembered that this means bonus cuddles, some extra attention and – top prize – the possible necessity to sleep in mummy and daddy’s bed. A moving shadow, a ghost in the wardrobe, a lingering memory of an episode of Scooby Doo… Real or imagined, this state of terror needs nipping in the bud as soon as possible, because it will otherwise lead to wailing, screaming and possibly even thrashing about.
The best tactic of all, and a real speciality of my little angels, is to throw something completely unexpected into the mix. Two examples:
Daughter: Dad, can you help me?
Me: Why, what is it?
Daughter reveals she has tied her tights together. In a knot. While wearing them.
Me: Can you get ready for bed now, please?
Son: No. I’m dead.