As a sleep doctor, I hear a lot of creative excuses that children come up with as the try to extend their bedtime. In the business, we call these “curtain calls” and are a key feature of behavioral insomnia of the limit setting type. My niece used to yell, “Julia’s hurt!” until her family came to check (she wasn’t). One mother in clinic told me how she pulled out four loose teeth on one occasion when her mother was having a friend over. I have heard children ask for:
- Glasses of water
- Another story
- Going to the bathroom (multiple times)
- For parents to check the closet/under the bed/ in the toy chest for monsters
- The pacifier that he or she just threw on the floor.I was listening to NPR today and heard about a little boy named Noah Shaw who surpassed all of these other children. Noah was born with a cancer of the eye called retinoblastoma (you can read about more about Noah, whose diagnosis led his father to develop a way to detect this tumor in baby photos). As a result, he wears a prosthetic eye in his right eye socket. Some nights, after his parents, would put him to bed:
. . . he used to play this little game with his mom and dad. They’d put him down for bed, then they’d leave the room. And a few minutes later, Noah would take his eye out and throw it on the ground. It sounded like an M&M hitting the hardwood floor. And then of course, Mom and Dad would go rushing back into the room, which would make Noah terribly happy. Read the full story here.
I have to hand it to this little boy for creativity. Most parents would have a hard time not going into that room. What are the most creative delaying tactics that your children have come up with?