How to Get Two Squirrelly Boys to Go to Bed

Not my boys, but I bet these ones are tough to get to sleep, too!

I have to admit, I never thought I would be writing a post about a positive bedtime at my house. My kids have never been horrible about going to bed, but they have never been great, either. Usually our struggles centered around getting up and asking for water, or wanting another kiss, or a million other excuses for getting out of bed.  We have lived in the land of good nights and bad nights for pretty much the entire time we have had children.

Then I read a post on the blog “A Mom with a Lesson Plan” that got me thinking. The post suggested letting kids pick their bedtime. It’s not as crazy as it sounds at first. The post outlined how this works.

The kids are given a time they need to be ready for bed and they go into their rooms. They can quietly play, read, do puzzles, etc. Then when they come out of their room, that is the signal that they are ready for bed. They then get tucked in, kissed goodnight, and all that good stuff.

Having two boys in the same room, I wasn’t sure if this would completely work. So I tried a modified version. I allowed the boys to pick books to take into bed with them and look at. I turned on the small lamp in their room and said I would be back to turn it off in 10 minutes.

Well, I got busy picking up, returning a phone call, and so on and it was probably at least 30 minutes when I realized I needed to go turn their light off. I went upstairs to two fast asleep little boys. I was amazed.

So far, this has been working pretty well. The rule is, if the kids get out of bed, then their book gets put away. I sometimes hear them getting up and picking other books, but I’m ok with that and pretend I don’t hear it. I have even left the light on until I go to bed and they are both fast asleep when I go in to turn it off.

I don’t know that I’m daring enough to give them free reign on what activities they can pick, other than reading books in bed, but maybe when they get a little older and are on similar sleep schedules. For now I like the limited options so one can sleep even if the other is awake. And I also love that I am starting a habit with my kids of reading in bed before they go to sleep – one of my own favorite activities.

How do you get your kids to go to bed? What works, or doesn’t work, for you?


  1. YEAH!!!! I’m so glad this is working for you! Mine are in the same room and I love the quiet play time they get together. Whenever one is ready to sleep before the other we simple turn out the bedroom light and pull the awake kid towards the hall. My favorite thing about this method is that it’s so easy to modify for each families needs and preferences! Thanks for the link. 😉

    • It is working great! And actually since has been working so well, as I read your comment I started thinking about moving some puzzles, coloring books, or other quiet toys up into their room. Kind of like a two-for-one – free up some space in other areas and give them some options at night! Especially with summer approaching and the longer days, this might be the perfect time to transition to this. Thanks for the great idea! :)

  2. Great idea! Might need to try this with Thomas.

    • It’s been working well for us. Even tonight Monkey said, “I don’t want to go to sleep.” I told him, “You don’t have to go to sleep. You can stay up and read in your room.” He said ok (and then was asleep in about 15 minutes!). :) Plus, I love to read before bed, so I’m good with getting my kids in the habit!

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