We’ve all been there.  You had a big day, party is raging and it’s getting late but you want to keep going.  You’re having a good time, running around, knocking stuff down and then your Mama or your Daddy goes “Time for Bed.”  What do you do?  Here are the top 7 ways to power through and fight the clock

1. “Water” 

Many parents think that this is a reasonable request and this is an easy way to buy hours of time if you play your cards right. Just say “Bottle?” or “Water!” and they’ll walk out and get you something fresh to drink or sometimes pick you up.  PBT (Pro-Baby-Tip): Draw out a sip every couple of minutes and maintain eye contact so they think you’re still thirsty. Repeat until bottle is empty or you’re actually tired

2. “Book”

Parents LOVE reading bedtime stories, it gives them this weird sense of fulfillment and love so you can tug on those heartstrings all the time.  Usually it comes with the added bonus of getting to snuggle in the big bed for a while as they read so you’re buying time before being put into the crib.  PBT: If they have a couple of books out, ask for the first one again after they’ve finished and pretend you don’t remember they just read it

3. “Hugs?”

This involves a little acting. Offer a hug, give them a half hearted one, and make them work extra hard for the real thing.  Once the bait has been set, they need to get that full thing so give them a taste and when they ask for a better one look at them like “Are you sure? I thought it was bed time…?”

4. “Da-da” (or “Ma-ma”, depending whose tucking you in)

Parents will frequently alternate between whose turn it is to tuck you into bed: use this against them.  You can get a solid 15-20 minutes of bedtime “wind down” with your parent, slowly shutting the eyes and pretending it’s working before popping up and saying the other one’s name.  Mama giving you milk and telling you you’re a good boy? Ask for Da-da for 3 minutes straight and start all over. Da-da says “you’re his little girl” and he loves you the mostest? Ask for “Ma-ma.” 

5. Take off your Jammies

This one is tricky as parents’ will sometimes put you in a onesie, but if you’re lucky and are in a two-piece, pretend you forgot how clothes work.  When they try to put your arm in the hole, shoot it through the neck and look content like you did it perfectly.  Sure I know you know how to put them on, you’ve worn them hundreds of times, so the key is confidence in the delivery.  This starts over the process and you can start picking off socks while they reset your top.  PBT: If they do try a onesie, do lots of barrel-rolls.  Don’t scream or cry because this may lead to escalation, maintain an air of playfulness to maximize time on the changing table

6. “Poop”

The nuclear option.  Parents’ know they cannot put you into your crib with a dirty diaper. If you can fill a real diaper, you’ve hit the jackpot and just started the whole process over again.  The important part is they can do a smell check and won’t fall for it if you don’t. PBT: If you don’t have to go, try and time a poofy with a quick “Poop!” so you pass the smell test and they have to pick you up “just to be sure.”

7. Chain them all together

The best part about all of these options is none of them are mutually exclusive. You have the power to chain as many as you can in a single night and if executed properly, can easily turn a 5 minute tuck-in to over an hour.  The two main points are practice and not doing the same move too often.  Sometimes I hear “but I can only count to three, how will I know if I’m doing it too much?” and that’s where you will need to read faces and go with your gut.  I promise with hard work, it’ll take more than crib-bars to keep you down.


JR is currently 18 months and has mastered the art of staying up over countless nights and nap times.  At the time of this writing, he went down for his noon day nap at 2:20PM.


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