My Preschooler’s Top 10 Excuses Not To Go To Bed

(Alternate Title: Go the F*ck to Sleep.)

Anyone who has a preschooler knows that the only thing more impossible than walking on water is getting your kid to go to bed.  Seriously.  (Probably this is true for kids of any age, but please allow me to delude myself into believing that this stage ends with the preschool years.)  If someone were to tell me, “today I scaled Mount Everest and ran the Boston Marathon and won Project Runway and got my kid to go to sleep within five minutes” I’d be all “oh hell no it did not take five minutes, you lying liar.  Also, is Heidi really that hot and skinny in person?  Do you even know how many kids that woman has had?”

Caroline is three, and she’s pretty much the queen of coming up with excuses to stall when it’s bedtime.  She’ll go to bed relatively easily the first time, but then she’ll get up 45 million times with all kinds of crazy-ass reasons why I should let her get up and stay up.  (Fingers crossed she’ll still be this difficult to get into bed when she’s 18.)  Here’s a selection of my favorites:

10. There’s a dirt spot on my wall.  Can you clean it?

9. My Pooh Bear won’t stop looking at me.

8. My hair keeps getting in my face!

7. I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about what my preschool friends might be thinking about right now.

6. I feel like you’re having too much fun out there without me.

5. I can’t sleep because I just keep thinking so many thoughts in my head.

4. Remember how you asked me what I did at preschool today and I said “I’m not tellin’ you?”  Well, I’m ready to tell you now.

3. I don’t think you brushed my teeth enough!

2. It’s hard to sleep when my mouth is making so much noise.

1. I still need to send out some emails!

Let’s hear ‘em… what are your kid’s best excuses to get out of bed… or not get in there in the first place?

(P.S., I keep forgetting to tell you guys, but if you find my child’s off-the-wall comments entertaining, you can get your fill of Caro conversations anytime here, at my Tumblr.  Enjoy!)

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  1. by Kristen

    On May 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

    1) I can’t close my eyes.
    2) I can’t stop talking.
    3) But I’m hungry (after already having a snack she couldn’t finish).

  2. by jane

    On May 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Lately my son (2 years and 8 months) has to keep the bright light on before he can get into bed. When he wakes up in the middle of the night and finds the light is turned off stealthily, he will scream and won’t return to bed until I turn the light on.

  3. by Rose

    On May 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    “I have to poop”
    “I need milk for me”
    “I need 3 more trucks”
    “I have to kiss you”
    “I have to kiss Daddy”
    “I CAN NOT”
    “I have to have the door open”
    “I need you to sleep with me”
    “I not tired!”
    He’s 2 years and 9 months. Total sweetheart, but he loves the bedtime fight. We’ve had a lot of success with a)ignoring the bad behavior (totally disengaging until he gets bored) and b) not letting him nap longer than 1.5 hours.

  4. by Jerrie

    On May 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    My niece spends every Friday night with me to give her mom some much needed time off. The other night she turned to me and said, “I can’t go to sleep because I just need some more time to be with you.”
    She is good at the delay game.

  5. by Jeannie

    On May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Some of Alyvia’s (4 1/2 years old) classic excuses…”Daddy, I can’t sleep in my bed anymore. There are too many (stuffed animals) eyes looking at me!”, “Mommy, I can’t sleep in this bed with the polka pox (polka dot) sheets.”, “There are too many bugs in this room!” as she points to the ladybug/firefly decor ALL OVER HER ROOM!!!

  6. by nour

    On May 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    my 4yr old son:
    1. my bed to too tickly!
    2.i need to pee ( can be used up to 5 times in a row)
    3.i want to wait for the sun to come up again
    4. i dont like to sleep at night
    5. i muss moms bed and pillow and smell – can come up with a very long list

  7. by Jamie

    On May 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    My son is 5 and sometimes he says “I can’t sleep because I’m bored” lol

  8. by Melissa

    On May 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    The best w’ve heard in the middle of the night: “I was having a dream and Bilbo/Gandalf said, ‘Wake up, Sam!’” Or: “I ran into some Hobbits and they beat me up!” (My husband is reading the Hobbit to our almost-three-year-old)

  9. by Janice

    On May 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    My son (2yr 5mo) uses:
    1. I scared!
    2. I need more helicopters…
    3. mom, mommy, mama…i miss you! Come see me! Wish you were here, mama! (substitute daddy or whoever he thinks might cave that night).

  10. by Gina

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Mommy can’t sleep I know there’s no but keep thinking monster in my closet!

  11. by Heather

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    My 3 1/2 year old likes to use the classic excuses “I’m hungry” or “I need a drink of water”… I would hate it if he was truly hungry so I usually give in :/

  12. by litzergam

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Well, we’re past the preschool years, and bedtime is much easier at age 7. However, the little princess has gotten very attached to her nightly piggyback ride to bed. If she happens to fall asleep in the car and is dumped in bed, she will wake up at some future point in time and beg for her piggyback ride. I try to treasure these moments because she’s getting so big and my back won’t be able to handle piggyback rides for much longer. But, whew, am I glad we’re past the toddler years!

  13. by Erin

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Patrick is five. His favorite is ”mommy you didn’t kiss all my toys goodnight yet”

  14. by Lara

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    My DD is 4 and I think my favorite I’ve heard so far is –

    “I need to stay up all night mommy, in case Gavin (baby brother) wakes up and needs to be fed or something.”

  15. by Christal

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    My bugers are makening bugers, I can’t sleep, my eyes are stuck, not tired ugh name it with 5 girls

  16. by Jordanne

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    1-i dont have eyes
    2-i need to pee
    3-i need to poop
    4-my music stopped
    5-i need a kiss
    6-i cant cover myself!
    7-i dont have eyes
    8-i need to pee
    And it goes on and on an on!!!

  17. by Tracey

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Katherine, age 3: “My eyes make it too dark!”

  18. by sarah

    On May 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    All in one night my 3dads year came up with:
    he was thirsty
    he heard a bear
    he was cold and needed to be tucked in
    he forgot to brusg his teeth
    he wanted to sleep with me
    to he again heard a bear
    he had to pee
    he had to poo
    he was cold again!

  19. by Shawnie

    On May 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    My 4 year old:

    It’s too dark
    It’s not dark enough
    I’m afraid (of what?) I don’t know, i’m just afraid.
    I want to get up and play
    I need a snack
    I need more juice
    I can’t stop thinking thoughts
    I need to ask Daddy something
    What was that sound? I need to check.
    I need to see my pet lizard (who passed away and is now a star in the sky – thank you Princess and the Frog)

  20. by Melissa

    On May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    My boys ages 9 years and 3 years old wait until it is bedtime to decide they are:

    Hot, need the fan on
    Need another blanket(although they may already have 3)
    Have to use the bathroom
    And the latest excuse by the 9 year old is: “the cannibals are going to eat me” (his friends were talking about cannibals, which he had never heard of before.)

  21. by alissa

    On May 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Its not midnight yet.
    Ill have a dream and dont want to

  22. by Stephanie

    On May 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    “I can’t see when I close my eyes!”

  23. by Kristina Reed

    On May 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    One of my favorites is “I can’t see.” He’ll call me back in 6 times to make sure I’m going to leave the hall light on. He needs a different blanky or pillow. He’s hungry or thirsty (seems to be popular). We need to sing more songs because tonight of the 8 I sang I missed (insert song here). I also love that we fight tooth and nail to clean up toys, but God forbid even one thing is out of place before we get in bed. “Mommy, I forgot to put my hat away. Oh wait, what about Percy? I didn’t put my clothes in the hamper yet.” etc. etc. etc.

  24. by Sue

    On May 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    My little guy is 4 and it’s getting worse every night-tonight it was 1.5 hours to go to sleep. A few faves:
    1. “the sound is soooo beautiful so I can’t sleep” (his sleep sheep whale noises)
    2. “it’s too loud/too quiet/too dark”
    3. “I’m STARVING”
    4. “I forgot to do this and this and this today”

    if it’s not those excuses, it’s 20 min of talking about tv/books/game characters and storylines

  25. by Toni

    On May 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    My now 3 year old has been using the same excuse for 6 months, “I too busy.” Now that we got her a kitchen for her 3rd birthday it’s, “I’m cooking Momma!” lol

  26. by Krysten

    On May 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    My 4yo’s favorite is “I want you”. We have yet to discover what he wants other than staying up later.

  27. by Ghinwa daher

    On May 7, 2012 at 1:08 am

    My daughter is 2.5 years old, also she refuses sleeping at 8 she has been using some excuse as ” want to coloring star, play with Lego, mommy read story” and she always when I read story and sleep behind her 5 minutes and she will sleep.

  28. by Summer

    On May 7, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Are my three boys weird? They go straight to bed… :/

  29. by Gwen

    On May 7, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Mine is 2yr 3mo & here’s hers.

    1. “I cooking”
    2. “I hungry”
    3. ” JUICE!”
    4. “I not tired”
    5. “I don’t wanna go to sleep”

    The list of stalling excuses goes on.

  30. by Angel-lena

    On May 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

    1.She’s hungry/thirsty/hot/cold/itchy or in some other way so VERY uncomfortable that she just can’t sleep.
    2. She sees something (coud be anything…
    3. She’s missed me/daddy SO much all day that she can’t sleep becasue she wants to talk to me/him.
    4. Her movie stopped.
    5. It’s too dark/light.
    6. She’s not tired.
    But the one that comes to mind that really took the cake was when she actually told me that if she went to sleep now that she would wake up in the middle of the night and not be tired anymore so I would have to get up and play with her!

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    On July 10, 2012 at 10:32 am

    [...] My Preschooler’s Top 10 Excuses Not To Go To Bed | Unexpectedly …May 2, 2012 … Alternate Title: Go the F*ck to Sleep.) Anyone who has a preschooler knows that the only thing more impossible than walking on water is getting … [...]

  32. by Trish

    On July 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    6 year old: Hungry, cold, hot, thirsty, bathroom, borrow a book from her brother, can’t sleep, doesn’t like to sleep, scared, saw or heard something, can’t see her book to read, wants her hair up, can’t find a certain toy or book, “Why do I have to go to bed?”, etc etc etc.

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    On March 23, 2015 at 10:39 am

    [...] more creative bedtime excuses, we recommend this article from or 40 good ones from Babble; but don’t let your kids read them or they’ll have more [...]