The many ways my child tries to avoid sleep.

Growing up I don’t remember having a strict bedtime routine and never thought I would want my children to have one. In fact I didn’t think about it at all! Then my son was born and it all changed. I became a parent that liked routines and my son became a child of routine.

Bedtime was a fun and enjoyable time that included a massage, a bath, some singing, reading, feeding, cuddles, baby in cot, lights off and baby sleeping within a few minutes most nights. ABSOLUTE BLISS! Obviously it didn’t go smoothly straight away but my son became used to this routine and bedtime was mostly uneventful. To be honest I felt pretty smug about it and my husband and I enjoyed having the evenings to ourselves.

Then my daughter came along and, you won’t believe this but she was a really good sleeper too. We felt like the luckiest parents on earth… until one night I woke up and my son was standing right there next to my bed staring at me. WHAT THE HELL!!! I have absolutely no idea how he got out of his cot but the fact is HE DID and from that night on the bedtime struggles and sleepless nights started.


Since then my son has been perfecting his bedtime avoidance techniques. I’ve heard some pretty funny and creative excuses come out of his mouth as he tries to squeeze every last second from the day before finally falling asleep.

very tired kid trying everything to avoid sleep

The many ways my child tries to avoid sleep

I want another extra extra book

It is not enough that we already read about five books and one extra one he always wants another extra extra one and sometimes an extra extra extra one! You might be thinking that maybe he is just not tired enough but I can assure you HE IS VERY TIRED and sometimes can barely keep his eyes open… go figure.

I’m busy playing

My son loves taking a toy to bed with him as well as his best friend Teddy. I know I should probably not allow this but I’m picking my battles, if you know what I mean. Of course that when I say he needs to put whatever toy he has away because its time for sleeping he is ALWAYS too busy playing and so in his own words, ‘sleep has to wait because I’m just too busy busy playing and if I stop now my motorbike will get very sad and cross with me and I don’t want that mummy you know?’ UMMMM actually I don’t know and you need to just put it away now before I IMPLODE.

But mummy did you know…

Granny and Grandad live in London and London is in the sky. I drew Mummy and Daddy and A today at school. A was pink because she is a girl. That’s right isn’t it Mum? Pink is for girls and orange is for boys because that is my very much favourite colour in the world.’ This happens most nights but if you ask my son what he did at school that day he will always say ‘I don’t know’.

I’m having a bad dream

‘Well, I really don’t think you have because I have just turned the lights off and you are not sleeping yet…’ and of course he always says ‘..but I was really and now I’m very scared.’ To which I respond, ‘there is nothing to worry about.I have made some magic and now bad dream can’t come in here on good dreams’. (Please kill me now!)

I have super powers and don’t need to sleep

That explains A LOT! I often try to ignore but if I’m not allowed to ignore it then I will just say that super powers fade away if super children don’t get any rest and so as long as he is ok with that he can stay awake. He normally wants to keep his super powers.

I don’t like my pillow anymore I want yours

I get my pillow for a swift swap in the hope that he will now be happy and just go to sleep but of course that was just wishful thinking. As soon as the pillows are swapped he obviously wants his own one back!

I don’t want to sleep with my eyes closed

That’s ok by me. ‘Just sleep with your eyes open if you prefer’. ‘Ok Mummy’. Seriously child just GO TO SLEEP.

After about an hour or so of doing what I call ‘the no sleep dance’ he finally drifts off into dreamland and Mummy can finally RELAX!

What are your children bedtime avoiding techniques? Leave me a comment below. I would love to read them.

Love, P

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  1. Ha ha ha I LOVE the super powers excuse! and the I don’t want to sleep with my eyes closed…priceless! My ‘big one’ is currently using the excuse of Cheeky Bird….his imaginary friend! #ablogginggoodtime

  2. Sounds so familiar. Sometimes our three-year-old goes straight to sleep, other nights it’s very much like your little boy. (Though she’s never used the super powers one, I LOVE that!)
    It’s mostly chatting, asking questions, asking for one more story (which has to come from my own head – talk about pressure!) and just when you settle down with a brew or to watch something with hubby, she appears at the top of the stairs again. As I said, it doesn’t happen every night, thankfully or I might go insane, but when it does it drives me mad!
    Good luck with your future ‘no sleep dances’ xx

  3. Mine always gets out of bed, so I send her back and she informs me that she’s putting teddy to bed instead. And she does this with every single teddy that she owns. Luckily she isn’t talking properly yet though, so I don’t hear excuses like the ones that you’re getting. I think if my little one came out with excuses like those I’d burst out laughing and probably have to let her stay up, haha. x

  4. he he, mkaes me tired just reading this. My little man has been going through some sort of seperation thing and dare I leave the room? Nope his eyes are shut but as soon as I exit and close the door he is awake. It’s so annoying! #ablogginggoodtime

  5. What a BEAUTY. Look at those eyelashes! I totally am with you with all these excuses, I am hot, I am cold, I need bread and butter, I want a drink I’m scared, What is dying, Can you sleep with me….I try not get exasperated but sometimes you are so tired you just want them to sleep!! Thank you for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  6. Oh dear! My little one isn’t old enough to have a list of reasons ready yet – she just wriggles and tries to play with me and kicks her feet and sings,etc, etc… X

  7. You have my empathy…our kids never napped well and were awful at sleep! I’m still tired thinking about it. Now they still sleep with us, along the pooch. There are rolling legs everywhere. Sleep keeps me awake at night… Oy

  8. I have a very similar post scheduled for next week about the ways my kids avoid going to sleep. Having a bad dream (even though they haven’t even closed their eyes yet) is a very common one in our house xx

  9. Oh no. Please tell me this isn’t true. My sixteen month old boy is pretty good at putting off sleep and I keep telling myself “he’ll sleep when he’s two”. I’m not sure why it’ll change at two but it seems far enough away to seem feasible.

    Lovely post though! #bigpinklink

  10. Ahaha this is in equal measures cute and hilarious – but maybe not for you eh?! I love the super powers one. I wasn’t a great sleeper when I was younger so I am sure karma is going to hit me hard – TM has recently decided sleeping through the night is super boring so he would rather wake every 2 hours. JOY! #triballove

  11. I giggled at “I don’t want to sleep with my eyes closed”. Kids are such funny individuals and I do wonder what excuses A will come up with when she’s older. Good to see you joining #chucklemums!

    1. Sarah he is bloody hilarious but to be honest at the end of the day when I’m absolutely exhausted I totally loose my sense of humour. Look forward to reading whet little A will come up with. Thanks for the lovely comment x

  12. I was going to say just popping back again as I was sure that I had commented on this, but I can’t see my comment, perhaps I am in your spam, or perhaps I am going a bit bonkers! Those little ones will do anything to avoid bedtime. Mine suddenly become very, very thirsy and nothing will quench it! #DreamTeam

  13. This is basically my life at the moment. As a baby my son was such a good sleep, sleeping through the night from 11 weeks. Then he approached 1 and it went out the window. He’s now nearly 3 and it’s a nightmare. Unless he sleeps in bed with me then he wakes up pretty much on the hour, screaming and crying. It’s been hard work. I’m hoping it’s a phase (I use this word so much I’m beginning to wonder if it’s really a real word with any meaning). Hope things improve for you soon. #dreamteam

    1. Everything is a phase it seems 🙂 it’s ok though because one day they will be teenagers and we will be fighting to get them out of bed. I hope it gets better for you too and thanks the lovely comment x

  14. Mine are often still up after I’ve gone to bed and that is so weird! I still struggle with their bedtimes, sometimes, even as teens, especially on school nights. They procrastinate like hell and it becomes harder to force them to bed at a certain time. Not that I’m wanting to worry you, you understand! A great post with the most gorgeous of protagonists (even if he does cause you trouble!). Alison x #chucklemums

  15. They’re little buggers aren’t they?! My older boy is pretty good these days, but the younger one loves to procrastinate at bedtime. “get my digger”, “I dropped my dummy”, “I’m cold”, “I’m too hot”, “I need more water”, “leave my door open a bit more”, “not that much” etc etc etc…
    Great post! Thanks for joining #chucklemums

  16. Awww, this is both very touching, and very funny! Although I imagine very frustrating for you…! I love that he thinks he has superpowers and doesn’t think he needs to sleep!! That’s very creative and I like it a lot!! Not wanting to sleep with his eyes closed is also quite fabulous!! At the moment, my youngest is so exhausted by bedtime, that he physically doesn’t have the strength to mess around, and is flat out in seconds!! The eldest sometimes pulls out excuses to try and get out of it (none as creative as these!!) but once he’s asleep, he’s asleep, so I can take a bit of messing around knowing that he will then sleep… For now!! We all know that he will probably be partying all night in a few weeks time, and I’ll be wondering where my amazing sleeper has gone!!

  17. Oh we have some of these! Kids and sleep or lack of is a total killer, we don’t usually have much issues going to bed, but we have issues staying in bed past 5.15am! Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  18. Haha “Please kill me now!” I have a lot of these lately. Somedays they just go to sleep just like that – somedays they team up and just be a pain for hours on end. I feel your pain! lol! Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost x

  19. I recognise ALL of these! In fact, just last night, Little Button was propping up her eyelids whilst singing ‘just keep swimming’ from Finding Dory with her Dory toy and the origami version we made after tea. On repeat. For an hour. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam xx

  20. “But Mummy did you know….” Oh my goodness I get this from my eldest ALL THE TIME! It’s amusing during the day but at 8pm, what I really want to know is what’s on TV, thanks. #EatSleepBlogRT

  21. Yep! They really are masters of sleep avoidance! And I always feel guilty not listening to his stories even though I know he’s trying it on, since someday he’ll be a teenager and will prefer sleep to me.

  22. Mine suddenly develops a ravenous hunger right before bedtime…then he’s really thirsty…then we have to lie with him for “one more tiny minute”…..waaa #EatSleepBlogRT

  23. Love this! My daughters both went through a phase of wanting 1000 stories every night. We also get the bad dreams before they ever fell asleep fun. And just a lot of “I don’t know why I’m awake” conversations. I actually just posted on my blog about all our bedtime struggles. If you’re interested in our stories, you can read them here:

    Enjoy your routines while they work! As you now know they don’t seem to last forever. 😀

  24. Oh yes, I can relate to a lot of these – the “no sleep dance” is a good way to describe it and ours usually lasts a similar amount of time! Your son is very creative with his excuses – I do love the one about super powers but you have the perfect answer for it. Had to chuckle over the motorbike getting very sad and cross with him. The list of do you knows made me laugh too – but why is it that they never know what they did at school? Thanks for linking up to #ftmob 🙂

  25. Oh how funny! (Even though its not!) I don’t have problems with either of mine who are both now 5 and 11. I’ve had a few “did you know mummy” moments when my 5 year old is pushing her luck but she soon falls asleep or stops mid sentence because she can’t stop yawning lol! #EatSleepBlogRt

  26. Currently I have two great sleepers – in fact Pie takes himself to bed if its too late! I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will continue!! I did particularly enjoy the ‘I have super powers so so don’t need to sleep’ you have to give him credit for being so inventive #EatSleepBlogRT

  27. Hahaha so cute and funny! I love the superpowers. Olivia has some bedtime delaying tactics too. I have been writing in my drafts too hahaha. She has no superpowers, but she keeps getting “mummy, I am starving”, the million trips to the toilet and all the drama. lol #ftmob

  28. No no no, this is not what I want to hear. I am smug mum with two good sleeps and the evenings to ourselves. Don’t get me wrong it took me a year of setting in routines etc for them both to do but they do now and its heavenly! My eldest cannot speak properly yet so she hasn’t yet mastered the excuse but if for some reason she won’t sleep she will sit in her cot and shout mummy, muuuummmy, muuuummmy, MUMMY as soon as I go into her she just smiles at me – I feel I am being played already… Anyway my dear, as a lover of the peaceful adult evening you have my sympathies and I do not the serial sleep avoider starts sleep again soon. Thanks for linking up at #FamilyFun, hope to see you next week xx

  29. Oh I sympathise as my son still kicks up a fuss and he’s nearly 13! All the avoidance tactics – all of them – and they get cleverer and I don’t seem to get wiser to them either! I think it may be more of a boy thing than girls to be honest. They are definitely more sensitive. I don’t have any tips because I am very weak! Your boy does sound totally adorable though!! #FamilyFun

  30. He he, calling back in from #FamilyFun, I remember reading this a couple of months ago. R is waking up loads at the moment and if he could speak I am sure he’d be telling me some of these! Thanks for linking up to #FamilyFun, Hope you can come back next week!

  31. Our little girl still sleeps in her cot and she’s usually fine once she’s in there, but recently she’s started to ask for more books before bed, to look at certain toys and to sing songs. I really hope it’s not a slippery slope!! #fridayfrolics

  32. Haha – cunning aren’t they? My eldest is terrible for the one more book thing, but is actually a good sleeper. The little one is a nightmare with keeping herself awake and avoiding sleep!

    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time.

  33. I always find it fascinating that these kids aren’t desperate for some lovely sleeping time like I am by the end of the day. They’ll do anything to avoid it and why do they get wild and hyper when they’re exhausted?! My 6 year old was up mucking around till all hours last night and I found him flat on his front in the middle of his bedroom floor fast asleep, with all his cuddly toys in his bed. He must have played so much that he literally just splatted on the floor with exhaustion. #stayclassymama

  34. Too funny! We went through sleep avoidance stages here as well. The request for “one more story” must happen in almost every household. Right now my 6yo needs the closet to be closed all the way in order for her to get to sleep. And an adult has to do it – she cannot get out of bed in case the monsters come out and get her. Kids have wild imaginations, don’t they?

  35. They are so cunning! The Tubblet does everything very slowly to make sure that getting ready for bed takes ages and she goes at her preferred time rather than hours

  36. aaaah the pillow swap, I haven’t had that one in a while. I often get told he is too busy though. His favourite trick at the moment is needing the toilet. It can just be so painful getting him to stay in bed some nights #stayclassymama

  37. I’m kind of looking forward to the stage when my daughter’s verbal skills are good enough to avoid bedtime this way. Right now if she doesn’t want to go to bed, she just screams. I’d prefer all the ridiculous excuses! #stayclassymama

  38. Mine are all fab at sleep generally but the other night I went to work and they wanted to stay up and wait for me to come home. They weren’t allowed obviously but then woke up sobbing and I had to reassure them that I was home safe. Zach didn’t care and just slept 🙂 #stayclassymama

  39. “My hip is bleeding, Mummy” and “I have hurt my shadow” are particular faves that my girl has come out with as to why she shouldn’t be asleep! #stayclassymama

  40. This is brilliant. To think I used to go clubbing to the wee hours an then work. Now I need 6-8hrs and my goal is to train my daughter so I get it. #StayClassyMama

  41. I usually start asking Evie to go to bed around 7.30-8pm if it’s not a school day but it never happens. Thing is with her she is just not tired. She just can’t seem to switch off until 9.-9.30 most nights. I get the teddies are lost, mummy i need a hug, mummy i love you, oh mummy we haven’t done this and you said we would…it is the most exhausting part of my day. #stayclassymama

  42. My girls are pretty good at going to sleep. There aren’t normally any issues. Routine is key though!

  43. Sleep is an enigmatic adventure over here. Big, would never slepp, since birth. We hired a sleep doula to come over, sleep and handle the whole situation, and she failed miserably, saying never before did she have such a tough case. She came back a few months later, after consulting with the professional mentors, and still no luck. It was a 2-3-4-5 hour process leaving us all exhausted, angry, and unfulfilled. When Little was born, we had one of those gems that slept when you put her down. We wer triumphant and felt sucessful. Until all turned to hell and she forgot that she liked falling asleep. To this day, at 9 and 6, they sleep in our bed with us. This will probably continue through to death — mine of course. Good luck! May you be way more sucessful than we are! :0 #stayclassymama xoxo

  44. Hahaha my little man has just started this… he will go through the bedtime routine k but then after a while of being in his bed on his own he will decided he doesn’t want to and will get up and proceed to get into our bed… which most of the time were not actually in yet as are still downstairs! Buggers aren’t they?! #stayclassymama

  45. Hahaha cheeky chops! With my daughter it was always “can we ring Grandma” “I’m thirsty” “there’s a ghost in my curtains”. Greg’s speech isn’t there yet but I do get cries of “more milk!”

    Why don’t they just sleep?!

  46. Oh my God Patricia I think I’d just end myself! I’m a ‘my way or the high way’ parent so I think if any of mine tried this, they’d last about 5 minutes lol. There again, that’s easy to say from a position of smugness as mine do indeed all sleep well. The almost 13yo struggles but she wouldn’t dare come out of her room. As others have said this is both funny but obviously hard for you. (And can someone please give Lisa Pomerantz a medal for the last bit of her comment which made me howl.) #stayclassymama

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