Does your child resist going to bed at night?

Huxley loves to go to bed at night. You say “Huxley, time for bed” and he runs for the bedroom giggling.

Sometimes he stops on the way to read a book, or more exactly, get a book read to him because he can’t read yet. Sometimes the book is Goodnight Moon.

But some kids are not as sanguine with the idea of gong to bed at night and can give their parents a hard time. For those kids, we have this:


Go the F**k to Sleep is …

…a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing off to dreamland. Honest, profane, and affectionate, Adam Mansbach’s verses and Ricardo Cortés’ illustrations perfectly capture the familiar–and unspoken–tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night, and open up a conversation about parenting in the process. Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny, Go the Fuck to Sleep is a perfect gift for parents new, old, or expectant. Here is a sample verse:

The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the fuck to sleep.
Share and Enjoy:
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn

24 thoughts on “Does your child resist going to bed at night?

  1. I had a wind-up kid. His spring would come to a screeching halt every night at 9pm. He would sleep at 7pm, be extremely cranky by 8, and crash at nine into a sleep coma…. The spring took another 9 hours to rewind.. and he would wake up happy as a lark, to an extremely cranky mom!
    My younger was a night owl. Given the chance, he would stay up all night (still does). I would have to make them turn onto their tummies and stay there while I read a bedtime story, sitting by their beds. There are fewer distractions when they are on their tummies than lying on their back. They were usually sound asleep soon after the story finished.

  2. I can’t believe they’ve made such a book like that containing foul language that you don’t want your kids to say, and yet they are encourage to say it anyway in one form or another. I wonder how much would parents protest against this book as much as they did with “King and King” and “Queen and Queen” books containing gay and lesbian characters? Wanna bet a lot?

  3. Our little guy is 4 months old now, and doesn’t sleep much between about 10pm-2am, but will often have a good stretch or 6 hours some time after 2am. All the books my wife is reading say he should also be getting way more sleep than he does.

    Check-up at the doctor on Friday – planning to ask them about how much is enough and if altering a schedule is too much to hope for at this point.

    My sure-fire methods to get him to stop crying in the night:
    1. Turn on the faucet.
    2. Lay him next to me while I read comicbooks.
    3. Let him stare at this blue-light white noise thing while being held on my shoulder.

  4. Glendon, is the room lit or dark? Whichever, try the other way. We discovered that Huxley like it totally dark, which is a bit unusual.

    Four months is probably about the threshold for when you can start altering the schedule. There are differences of opinion on that, of course. Obviously, you can’t do anything that requires too much pushing. So, a little adjustment here or there will either work or not, and if it doesn’t, well, it probably will later.

    A major controlling factor is, of course, hunger. Its hard to feed up a little baby but as he gets older you can start to do that a bit more.

    For books, Brazelton is the way to go for infants and kids up to one year. After that, he’s a misogynist fascist pig, ignore him. But his techniques for to about one year (or a little after), not currently in vogue, work.

  5. My older son has a form of autism. He is very rigid as far as routines go. When he was three he would get up, go into the bedroom and put his pajamas on, and then come out to say goodnight.

  6. I’d definitely suggest darkness to help your child sleep. Even if you are holding him or laying next to him, keep the lights off.

    I’m a single mom and really need my sleep so I made sure to get my daughter to bed at the same time each night–it might need to be earlier than you think. I’d nurse her (I expect you aren’t doing that, but perhaps his mother is!) then put her to bed. One more nursing session when I went to bed at 10 or so. Use as little light as possible to change diapers at night. Leave window blinds open if light from outside is enough to see by or use a tiny nightlight. No light needed for feedings. Try to adjust your eyes to less light to see better in the dark. (Don’t go from a bright room to dark nursery.) A little bulb in the dark can appear very bright. Unless it’s a really messy diaper, that’s all you need.

    My daughter slept through the night very well, but I really think one of the keys was light. I have spoken to parents that turn on lights at night and have a lot more problems.
    Heck, my daughter slept in my room for about 18 months and I learned well to dress in the dark, or in a lit closet with the door closed.

    Now that my daughter’s 7 we have different problems. Just tonight whe complained about being afraid–she recently read all the Harry Potter books and I let her see a bit of the Lord of the Rings, which has frightened her a bit. We’re working on it.

  7. I used to teach three, four, five, and yes…even six year olds at a Montessori school. This is even more priceless than the book, Everybody Poops. Thanks for sharing! Ell Oh Ell!

  8. Greg, come on, that’s the door to the entrance hall and he’s trying to escape! 😉
    Nah, I often get annoyed by parents (not you) who have only one kid who’s naturally well behaved in those questions and then act like everybody who is experiencing problems is just incompetent.
    There are a lot of methods and tips and stuff but I think the most important one is: don’t let them get away with it once they’re old enough to understand what’s going on. That might mean some troublesome nights, but in the end they’re worth it.
    Chaining the father to the bed for that time might also be a good idea.

  9. My oldest would only sleep for 30 min at a time until he was about 3. He would be up for 2.5 hours and sleep for 30 min around the clock. After three, he slowly lengthened his sleep pattern until he would sleep from 7 or 8pm till 4am. I learned not to fight it, and to keep his bedtime as consistent as possible. I also made sure he got PLENTY of exercise during the day. This was easy, because he was a naturally very active child. Luckily, by the time he hit nursery school, he had a ‘normal’ sleep pattern.

  10. The white trash side of my family always just kept giving their children Nyquil until they slept. Actually…I think the children Nyquil themselves at this point.

  11. Thanks Greg! I look into early Brazelton.

    It’s usually pretty dark – I read somewhere light in the room can add to near-sightedness (true? I dunno). But maybe we haven’t been consistent on the amount of light. Good point.

    We’ll usually get 3 days of good sleep, and the a few days off again. We’ve got a schedule to start watching and tweaking the current pattern.

  12. That’s a good point: Keeping an accurate log is VERY important. One may not think one needs this to know what is going on, but one does. My simple technique was to make a grid of half hour segments each row = one day, then mark off the ones when he’s sleeping. You can quickly see a pattern after a few days. Also, record feedings (timing and amount) to see how that affects things. And if there is a waking up for some odd reason (a loud noise outside or whatever) record that too, in order to keep separate his normal wake-ups.

  13. Well, and then there are evenings like this, when the little one fell asleep on our way home even though it was half an hour before the time when I usually banish her to bed, kicking and screaming, in spite of having slept 3 solid hours this afternoon, and is lying in bed with shoes and stockings one, while the first born kind of missed her point to fall asleep and is now trying every trick in the book.
    She’ll lose, she just doesn’t know yet.

  14. I probably wouldn’t, but would seriously consider reading that to my children. As a single momma (at least at night, during the day I’m mostly papa), only parent my children drive me fucking batty. I am not getting two continuous hours of sleep at a time and my brain is getting all melty. My youngest has been cut off from his milk in bed and my eldest has been cut off the tranquilizers he was on for about eighteen months before I got them.

    I am hopeful that given the extreme exhaustion of the afternoon, tonight will be a rather better night. But that could just be the magical thinking induced by way too little sleep.

  15. @DuWayne
    That sounds like a rather hard situation for all of you. Lots of chnages for thze little ones, and they hate those, even if they are surely for the better.
    I know what sleep-depreviation can do to a parent. Both my daughters took me to a point of extreme exhaution, not only physically but also emotionally and I understood how good people become agressive and abusive parents.
    When you hear about people mistreating an infant, the usual reaction is “how can you do anything to an innocent baby?”.
    Problem is, at some point, you don’t see them as innocent and powerless anymore. They are bloody tyrants and you’re in a heroic uprise.
    I never did anything to my kids, I realized what was happening and changed things.
    What I found to be the most important thing was to get back in control.
    This didn’t mean that the kids suddenly did what I was wanting them to do, but rather that I took responsibility for my decissions and actions again. They didn’t “make me do things” anymore, I decided what to do. Hell, I’m the parent and the adult around here and if I decide they’re going to bed, they’re going to bed. They might decide to get up again or cry like mad (I nicknamed the two of them “the Passion of Christ” and “the Wrath of God” because of their very different and characteristic ways of crying), but they wouldn’t drive me anymore.
    That was pretty exhausting, physically, but psychologiacally it was a huge relief.

    May I offer some advice?
    1) Get some sleep. I know, this sounds like I’m a total asshole since that is what you’re craving anyway, but make it your priority. The dirty laundry won’t disaapear if you leave it for a week, just make sure there is no food rotting in the kitchen. The rest can way. Whatever you think you have to do before you can take a nap, it can wait. I don’t know whether the kids are in daycare or school or whether there’s somebody you can dump them on, when they’re out of house, take a nap, even if you have to take a day off to do so.

    2) Take it easy
    Apart from obviously having changed their custodial parent and residency, there are a lot of other changes you’re mentioning. I can understand your desire to get them straight, especially to get the older one off the traquilizer, but maybe you can relax on other things and tackle them when the situation has calmed down a bit. A milk bottle might not be the adequate thing for the kid, but it’s surely not the end of the world. Maybe you can make a list of the things you want to change, order it according to your priorities and then work on it top to bottom, wilfully ignoring everything that’s less important for the time being.
    I’ve found out that very often, they disappear anyway.

    3) Are they old enough for motivational boards?
    If you don’t know what they are, those are boards where you mark progress for a certain goal.
    The kid has to be old enough to understand what (in most cases) a week is and be able to plan that far.
    You make an agreement over a certain behaviour/task with your kid, say like “brushing you teeth in the evening without complaints or me having to force you”. You start easy. For each time they do so, they get a point that’s marked on the board. For each week there is a goal, say 4 points in week 1, 5 in week 2 and so on. If they reach their goal, they’ll get a treat you agreed on beforehand, a trip to the ice-cream parlour, Mc D’s, anything. My daughter would do anything for a 2 bucks Playmobile doll 😉

    Hope you got some sleep and forgive my dumping of unasked for advice on you, but I really know how hard it can be.

  16. I am never one to disparage advice (unless it is less than constructive).

    The reason for cutting out the milk, is that Dave was wanting it refilled multiple times per night. He also happens to be dealing with a lingering ick (they were living in a house where people smoked inside for almost two years – not good for infections on his part) that seems to be rather keen running his nose off his face. I have a feeling we may be in for more tubes in his ears.

    As far as charts go, we have them and are using them for other issues. Dave is three and has trouble with conceptualizing the future. He is starting to get it, but it is limited and mostly just following his brother. His chart focuses on the potty, respect (he mimics his brother a lot), cleaning up his toys without complaining, no fit throwing and spaces for doing extra specially good things (such as picking up his toys without being asked). Caleb’s (nine) chart is the same as Dave’s, except in place of potty, he is discouraged from self-deprecation and “you don’t care about me” “you don’t want me here” sorts of statements. In the place of cleaning up, he is discouraged from explosive (read – nearly instantaneous)behavior – with or without physical aggression. We (Cay’s therapist and I) figured that the charts should focus on longer ranging issues, hoping that the sleep issue will sort out more quickly.

    The biggest problem right now, is that I am at the tail end of the semester and the remodeling of my parent’s basement into an apartment we are now living in. I have a week between this and the summer semester coming up and should finish the apartment and my summer semester will be easier to manage.

  17. @DuWayne
    You have my sympathy.
    Sounds like you got priorities sorted out and sleep didn’t make it 🙁
    That’s the bad thing about working in education, your time is planned for you.
    I know it’s hard to hear phrases like Caleb’s when you’re actually working your ass off for him. Even though we rationally know that it’s not true, parents aren’t made of stone.
    How does Dave feel about herbal tea instead of milk?
    I did that when I weened my youngest, works well with babies, maybe with older kids, too.
    Good luck with the apartment.

  18. Honestly? The hardest thing about hearing that sort of thing from Cay, is that I can’t just let it slide – the same is true of much of his behavior. I have screwed up rather royally and his mother actually took off with him and his brother for two years, reducing me to seeing them monthly and having daily phone conversations suffice the rest of teh time – then last semester she told me I needed to take them and the boys have literally heard from her twice in the six months I’ve had them. I can totally understand him feeling like shit, though I can’t even begin to comprehend his experience. But we talk about it – the various factors that have made life so hard for him, why I wish we could avoid discipline and why it is so critically important.

    On the upside, Dave bonded with me more than his mom as an infant and is just happy to be with me again.

    As far as tea goes, we occasionally have rose hips and chamomile with rose syrup. It doesn’t make much difference for either of them for sleep, but it does seem to make Cay feel a little calmer after school.

  19. I’m sorry, but I have to disappoint you.
    You don’t qualify for royally screwed up. I don’t know what you did, but I know families where the father royally screwed up and daily phone-contact was not a feature.
    Dukely at best. 😉
    It must be really hard for Caleb. He’s old enough to realize things, but too young to understand them. Modern family life hasn’t made things easier for kids, but they’re also lucky: they’re the first ones in the history of mankind where people actually give a shit.

    What’s probably the effective ingredient of the tea is the ritual. I’m a big believer in the power of rituals. They give kids security (and adults, too).

  20. I have screwed up rather royally and his mother actually took off with him and his brother for two years, reducing me to seeing them monthly and having daily phone conversations suffice the rest of teh time

  21. My child would be perfect, if he ever slept. With sleep and feeding, there is an approximately 12 second window either way. If you hit food and sleep within that window, you’re golden. If not, welcome to hell.

    If he takes a nap during the day (like at school), then he’ll be up to 11:00 or so and wake up about 7:30 in the morning. If he doesn’t get a nap, then he’s OK going down for about 7:30PM, but he’s up before 6… sigh.

    Ah well, he’s nuts, but he’s awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.