My sister has an 8 and a 5 year old


that won’t go to bed when she asks. They keep getting up and asking things, or they crawl into bed with her while she is sleeping. They are both strong willed kids.

Any ideas ladies?



Let them snuggle into bed with her and cherish every moment of it? My oldest two wouldn’t think of crawling into our bed anymore, and I miss that.


Maybe they are missing time with mom during the day? Perhaps if she focused on more time being with them, then bedtime would be easier.


[quote="Lucky_Scrunchy, post:1, topic:244864"]
that won't go to bed when she asks. They keep getting up and asking things, or they crawl into bed with her while she is sleeping. They are both strong willed kids.

Any ideas ladies?



Snuggling is great sometimes! If it's not a night for snuggling, then here's the key:

Parents don't ASK their kids to do things, they tell them. :shrug:

If she's asking them to please go to bed, it implies that they have a choice in the matter. If she tells them it's bedtime and enforces it with a no nonsense attitude, that would help.

Consistency and routine are also important. Maybe include snuggling with them in their beds at bedtime (that's what we do) so that they're less likely to get out of bed once she leaves.


[quote="Lucky_Scrunchy, post:1, topic:244864"]
that won't go to bed when she asks. They keep getting up and asking things, or they crawl into bed with her while she is sleeping. They are both strong willed kids.

Any ideas ladies?



Not going to bed when they are told and getting up and asking for thing isn't. They need their proper sleep and so does mom. They also need to develop their independence and sleeping in their own bed is part of that.

Sometimes kids may crawl into mom's bed if something frightens them, or they have a nightmare. My kids crawl into my bed when they wake up at the weekend which is fine because we are having a lie in, and they like to lie with me for a while. Sometimes we talk, or I get 'splatted' (I have two lively boys) and then we play games like rolling each other up in the quilt like a hot dog. All that's fine. Kids setting the rules isn't.

Establish a bedroom routine and stick to it. What are they asking for? Do they need it? If they don't need it say 'no' go to bed.


[quote="Lucky_Scrunchy, post:1, topic:244864"]
that won't go to bed when she asks. They keep getting up and asking things, or they crawl into bed with her while she is sleeping. They are both strong willed kids.

Any ideas ladies?



Where's her husband?

If they can't get a 8 year old and a 5 year old to go to bed at an established time they need more help than the normal person type into a post.


My first question is: Who’s asking? If your sister hasn’t asked for your advice, assume that even if the situation obviously frustrates her, she doesn’t want *your *input. Sisters who let their sisters parent in their own way are a priceless treasure. If the situation isn’t abusive or dangerous to the kids, stay out until you’re called in. If she seems to apologize, you can say, “Sarah, you have great kids. I don’t think you need to apologize or ask me for advice, unless you want to.” She might just kiss your feet.

If she isn’t discontented with the current state of things, it isn’t anyone else’s concern. If a mom wants to say, “I ask my kids to go to bed at time X and then let them noodle around about it and think they’re getting away with something until I enforce the real bedtime at time Y, and that works for us”, well, then that works for them. Giving unsolicited parenting advice to your sister is worse than not going right to bed for your mom at the time when you have come to know that she really doesn’t mean “now”.

But if *she’s *asking…

With kids, but especially strong-willed kids, you want to narrow the options for error, give them rein when you can give it (aka choose your battles), and stick to your guns.

She needs to choose a bedtime that fits their need for sleep, or she’s fighting an uphill battle. It is a great help to pay attention to how much time each child needs to sleep, because it is impossibly hard to enforce the wrong bed time. Once in a while, you can do it, but not as a routine. If you’re not going to win, avoid that battle if you can.

Having said that, you don’t ask a kid to go to bed. When they are little, you tell them it is time and you take them through the ritual until they take over the independence of doing the ritual themselves. The ritual includes taking care of the things they’ll get up for: do you have your water bottle, have you used the bathroom and brushed your teeth, etc. The ritual is when you take care of the unfinished business that can be used later as an excuse for wandering.

If you have a goal end time for the ritual, then you can let the kids know that you’ll base your start time on how long it takes them to complete the ritual. If they dawdle around, you have to move the start time earlier. The opportunity for a later start time is a good incentive to keep the ritual as short as need requires.

This gives you two times to use in reward and consequence:

  1. The time the lights go out, based on their need for sleep, which may depend on the prevalence of chosen grumpy behavior but really ought to have something to do with fitting their real biological sleep needs and patterns to the realities of family schedule, and
  2. The time the ritual needs to start, based on how long it takes them to finally get into bed and stay there. This can move up for all sorts of reasons: That is, you can send them to their room early at night, but don’t expect them to sleep when their bodies aren’t ready. Try to force someone to do what they can’t do, and you’re asking for a battle.

As for crawling in with her, she needs to decide what she wants and doesn’t want, and establish her rules from there. Some parents have an open-door policy, and are willing to take the consequences, some unceremoniously escort night-time visitors back to their own beds without so much as another good-night kiss. If the bid for social contact is unwelcome, then don’t reward it with social contact, not even grumping and lecturing. Meet it with a no-nonsense, no conversation, no guff-allowed, back-to-bed with you. Again, her night-time policy can change based on whether the kids abuse it or not. “I don’t mind having the door open for an occasional visit, but if you don’t cut it down to once every two weeks or so, I’m going to have to cut it out altogether.” That kind of thing. It is fine to base it on what she happens to like, though. Provided she isn’t doing anything that is clearly inappropriate in an objective sense, she doesn’t have to concern herself with what others think.


Right, if she's asking:

They need to go to bed and stay there, maybe 30 minutes of reading if they are good. Remember, it might take a week or 2 for this to work if she puts them to bed every night, same time, same routine, but there is no reason for it not to (unless they have some other issues). A combination of patience and persistance should solve this. What you describe would never happen in my house, kids need their sleep, and they need to do what they're told.

One of our kids used to come in our bed in the middle of the night; I'd let him stay for a few minutes and quietly carry him back without conversation. This lasted for 2 months at least, but persistance paid off in the end.


Not enough info.

Does this family have have a structured bedtime routine (bath, brush teeth, bedtime story, prayers, lights out, or something to this effect) that they go through every night?

Is mom (and/or dad) actively helping the kids with their nightime ablutions, or are the kids just expected to put themselves to bed?

Are they going to bed while it’s still light outside, which is hard for some people, especially in the summer months and you happen to live in the north?

Are they staying up late, past 9:30 or so? My neighbor was letting her boys stay up until 11:00 p.m. on the weekends (they’re under 10, I didn’t get it, but there you go) and complained they wouldn’t go to sleep. Well, duh, they’re too tired to sleep. She eventually figured it out, but she hard a time of it getting them to bed that first weekend with the new bedtime.

Do the kids listen to their parents in other respects, or is this the only area of difficulty?

Why are the kids getting to bed with mom? Nightmares or night terrors? If so, which kid? Is one kid getting the other one up and then they’re both going into Mom, or are they showing up separately?


Are they active enough during the day so they’re genuinely tired at bedtime?

Are they eating sugary snacks after dinner?

There could be a million reasons for the behavior. Without more info, there’s just no way to tell.


Best to do is be firm and consistent. Establishing a regular bedtime routine such as bath, snack and storytime is helpful.


I am going to guess she has a hard time getting them to do other things too.
Sleep is very important for kids, I often think a lot of behavior problems are due to a lack of sleep.I don't want to get into any long statistics but there is a great book called Nurture Shock and the chapter where they study kids and sleep is fascinating.
that said consistency is key. I had a tough time too because at night time I am usually too tired to deal with them getting out of bed. But,I had to force myself to consistently put them back to bed and make sure that I didn't reward this behavior.It took a while but I got it done.


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