How to Put a 3 Year Old to Bed

Every parent knows the kind of night I’m talking about. The kind where your 3 year old just does not want to go to bed for anything. Despite the glaze in their eyes that tell you your child is really most of the way asleep, you keep seeing him or her wandering the house wanting just one more thing.

It goes about like this for me:

Just like any other night, I take my son to the potty, let him do whatever he’s going to do there, put on his diaper and jammies, read him a story, rock him in the darkened room, give hugs and put him to bed.

Too bad it didn’t work.

Five minutes later he’s up again. Thirsty. So he takes a drink and is put back to bed.

A few minutes later he’s up again, needing the potty. He wants to poop, so it takes a while. He requests the ‘Everyone Poops’ book. He listens to it with great zeal, as only a 3 year old can. Who knew that listening could be done so enthusiastically? But of course no progress is made on the potty during the story, yet after he insists he still needs to go.

Fifteen to twenty minutes later, he’s added about 2 drops of liquid to the toilet and is ready to concede that he’s done going potty. Time to brag to Daddy that he went potty!

Back to bed he goes. He complains that I did something and his back needs to be kissed better. I guess it’s better than saying I hurt his toes or somewhere else. I tuck him back in and turn out the light.

He’s up again because he’s sad. He doesn’t know why he’s sad, he just is. And only Mommy is allowed to put him back to bed, despite Daddy’s offer.

Ten minutes later he’s playing with his sister’s door, wanting to get her up too. Thank goodness she’s deep asleep. This time Daddy does put him to bed.

Zombie-like, he’s up again. His eyes barely register my approach. No particular reason to be up this time, so back to bed he goes. Finally, he remains in bed.

It’s been a long night, but at least sleepy children average sweet when they want to stay up so badly. Better than dealing with tantrums, high fevers or vomiting for a reason to stay up half the night. Maybe now I can get to bed.

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