8 Ways NOT to put a Preschool kid to Sleep

A Day in the Life, How


Edie was what they call an easy baby, sleeping well, gaining weight quickly, and usually cheery and alert. Rory has been just as pleasant, already sleeping long stretches at night and growing like a moose.

But babyhood doesn’t go on forever- right now I’m afraid we’re in transition to lose Edie’s nap forever. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve worried about it and nothing is sure yet. It’s a bit disheartening, as I have always had this fantasy of all the children sleeping at once. Right now, my dreams are actually coming true, but that last round with the girl was hard won, like most of her sleep this week. While Rory crashes out all through the day and night, Edie has come into the age where being put in bed is about equivalent to being tossed in a dungeon.

It’s feeling less predictable which might work at any given time, but I have a few tricks I’ve been rotating through. The biggest trick is maintaining intentionality: setting the stage for sleep with a gradual transition, soothing routine, and having all the obvious physical needs- water, potty, snack- handled before the final lights out notice. Beyond that, we’ve tried out evening baths, gentle remedies, essential oils, massage, and guided imagery, each of which have felt positive and would probably work better if used consistently.

Here are some things that don’t work:

1. Get totally distracted by grown-up conversation and fail to move toward bed for an hour into target sleep.

2. Put kid in bed without water, potty, or Helen (or doll/stuffy of choice).

3. Get smacked by exhausted child, and reactively throw kid into dark bedroom.

4. Aggressively hurry child through bedtime routine, threatening cavities to children who miss their chance to brush teeth.

5. Travel to see exciting family members, arriving at bedtime.

6. Read bedtime story in triple time in order to quickly return to other child, now screaming.

7. Read bedtime stories you enjoy too much, especially with vivid voice acting and sound effects.

8. Successfully put child to bed, then remember vital accessories for evening chores stored in closet adjacent to child’s bedroom.

But you know, if Internet advice really worked….


Chicken Soup and Ochange

A Day in the Life

I’m still kind of sick. Sleepy sleepy eye. Mama. Please. Sad sad sad. Night night.

I take my nap but it doesn’t work. I can’t hold my body still and I can’t fall asleep. We try everything, stories, singing, rocking, laying still. Finally I get in Mama’s bed and snuggle some milk. We rest for a while and I sleep a bit. When I wake up we take a shower and go up for remedy food. Homemade chicken soup with mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery. I’m still hungry. Ochange? Ochange please? Mama peels me a clementine and I shove three segments in my mouth at a time. I sip my dandelion tea and chomp a few tomatos.

Mama asks how I feel. Happy. My voice is like a muppet and sometimes no words come out. I have a winning smile though so I use that instead.

Comet in Moominland and A Color of His Own

A Day in the Life

These are the books I read lately. I love the beautiful pictures in the chameleon book A Color of His Own¬†from Grandma, and it’s a nice story about sticking with friends and interdependance. The Moomin book Comet in Moominland
from Anty Heather has friends working together too. It’s in English now but it used to be in Norwegian. The story is about silly animals who work together to protect eachother from a natural disaster. They eat yummy-sounding snacks too, and when Mama read to me about the dancing I danced along. That book is really long. It took us a week to read it at naptime and bedtime.