Out-maneuvering the master of bedtime stalling

Out-maneuvering the master of bedtime stalling

Tonight I sang the Captain Hook song for Sawyer at bedtime. Oh, you don’t know it? That’s because I made it up. And last night it was the theme song from Stop That Ball.

Sawyer, age two and a half, has become a master of stalling at bedtime. I used to just read 1-2 books, hug, sing a song, pat his back, and leave him in the crib while still awake (done and done).  Those days are over in favor of a string of fresh diversionary tactics and my nimble escapes.  Together we have woven a ridiculous and ever-longer nighttime routine.

Attempted stall: Sawyer jumps up for a hug after I lay him down and pat his back with singing.
My counter-move: Uh oh, now I hug first and turn any additional hug requests into a hand squeeze.

Attempted stall: He stands back up to push me out the door, a maneuver borrowed from our daycare goodbye ritual.
My counter-move: I allow pushes from a laying-down position through the crib bars (sometimes through the side AND the overhead/top bars too). 

Attempted stall: Rather than requesting a lullaby in my extensive repertoire, he asks for an invented song related to the book we just finished or something else on his mind like ninjas or noodles.
My counter-move:  Yes, I wing it. I compose new songs nearly every night. Need help doing this? Pick a tune you already know and go for it. Repeating words is fine.

Attempted stall: One more song pleeeeeeeease.
My counter-move:  Sure, I’ll sing it as I walk out. Bye, now.

While I strive to keep our bedtime ritual predictable and ever-calming, I stifle a laugh each night as he tries something new and I create a new block. As of right now, we read 1-2 books, sing a made-up song, hug, sing another made-up song, kiss through bars, squeeze hands, he pushes me through the bars, and I sing another song as I walk out the door with a big grin on my face. He’s exhausting but so funny!

I think these amendments are just for me. If you babysit, you can do your own thing. I promise. What’s going on at your house?

Related: Bedtime at my house with 3 kids and OMG, they all share a room!

The following two tabs change content below.
RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

Latest posts by Heather Flett (see all)