Tactics for Keeping Children in Bed

1. Rewarding good behaviour, e.g. “If you stay in your bed ALL NIGHT, we’ll buy you the toy of the minute, as determined by Nick Jr.”
RESULT: Fail. Children are incredibly stubborn and self-assured liars. “So are you going to buy me the toy today?” “No, you didn’t stay in your bed.” “Yes I did.” “No you didn’t, you’re in our bed right now.” “No I’m not.”

2. Threats: “If you don’t stay in your bed all night, you won’t be going to that party tomorrow.”
RESULT: Fail. Common response is, simply: “OK.” But they don’t stay. Damn.

3. Hostage-taking: “Stay in your bed or Mr Puppykins gets it .”
RESULT: Epic fail. Results in a lot of apology and begging for the child to stop screaming, and usually a trip to the shops the next day to buy the toy of the minute, as determined by Nick Jr. Bad parents.

4. Guilt Trip: “If you keep getting into our bed, Mummy will get sick because she won’t get enough sleep to stay healthy.”
RESULT: Fail. Kids really don’t care.

5. Guilt Trip Extension: “And if Mummy gets sick, she won’t be able to go out and get you the toy of the minute, as determined by Nick Jr.”
RESULT: Fail. They still don’t care.

6. Santa is watching.
RESULT: Fail. Despite pretence to the contrary, deep down, kids know where the presents really come from.

7. I’ll tell your teacher.
RESULT: Fail. What the hell are you thinking? You know this is going to come right back to you via the teacher whose authority you’re trying to hijack.

8. Strap them to the bed.
RESULT: Untested.

9. Vodka in the bedtime milk.
RESULT: Untested.

I am WIDE OPEN to suggestions people. Wide open.



  1. Lorraine · October 2, 2011

    Hahaha ! Just found your blog via your link on goodreads, this is just soooo true !Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions. We play musical beds most nights. No amount of bribing or threatening works. And I always end up watching the latest toy as determined by Nick Jr.Sigh… Being a parent has never been the easiest job has it !

  2. Paul Fenton · October 4, 2011

    I'm not giving up on the threatening tactic Lorraine. I just need to escalate the threats somehow, without drawing the attention of Child Services.

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