Just Say No

Losing Sleep

The Bedtime Stall

Your son took forever to get ready for bed. He wanted a drink of water, remembered something he needed to put in his backpack, and then insisted he had to show you something. Once he's finally settled down, he wants you to read him an extra book.

Why you should refuse: Procrastination like this can become a nightly nightmare. Not only does it eat into storytime, but it can reduce the amount of sleep your child gets (and the time you have to yourself at the end of the day).

How to say no:

  • "That's enough, lights out. Mommy's tired too."

Typical kid comeback:

  • "But you said you'd read me three books tonight."

Smart parent responses:

  • "Yes, I did, but you took too long to get ready."
  • "We would have time if you started getting ready for bed earlier, but that will take away from your playtime."

The Sleepover

Your daughter's best friend invites her to sleep over on Saturday when you have early plans for Sunday. Your daughter begs you to say yes and promises they'll go to bed early.

Why you should refuse: You know that she'll be cranky on Sunday -- as she has been after most sleepovers.

How to say no:

  • "Not this time, honey."

Typical kid comeback:

  • "That's what you always say."

Smart parent responses:

  • "When you're a mom, you'll be able to make the decisions."
  • "No. Sleepovers only work if you sleep late the next day."

The Late Show

It's a Friday night, and your child has been watching TV for too long when she sees the promo for the next program and begs, "Mom, just one more show and then I'll go to bed."

Why you should refuse: There will always be another show your child wants to watch. If you give in, next time she'll say, "You let me stay up last time." Kids need rules and structure, and it's your job to provide them.

How to say no:

  • "That last show was your extra one."

Typical kid comeback:

  • "But all my friends are staying up to watch it."

Smart parent responses:

  • "I'll record it for you, and you can watch it tomorrow."
  • "You have a big day tomorrow. You won't have as much fun if you're tired."

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