Paying for bedtime

retro-mom-money-images-Graphics-Fairy004 (1)(I know it’s been awhile since I wrote. End of school activities/ summer starting, you know the drill.)

Anyone feel like they’re “paying” for bedtime? I mean literally shelling out dough so their kids sleep?

‘Cause I do. Since I moved my little guy to a “big boy bed” I think it’s cost me. In sleep, sanity and cold hard cash. Seems like the only way he’ll stay in his bed is if there’s a reward after the night’s sleep.

We started out big with little die cast airplanes (at $10 a pop those can add up.) Then we moved on to a series of Little Einstein books. Fortunately for my wallet those were discontinued so I had to buy them used on Amazon for merely a penny (plus the $3 shipping; I’ll deal.)

But unfortunately those little (in content and name) books seemed to have waned in interest here in favor of bigger and better gifts. Last on the list? A $14 digital clock. I’m hoping his time telling skills will help to negotiate me out of these daily payouts.

After that? Oh, I promised him a Crocodile Creek placemat (anywhere between $2-5 depending where you are) and after that it’s anyone’s guess.

So as my wallet gets lighter I need to figure out a new sleep strategy. Can’t use food – I save that for car rides and watching big brother’s baseball game. Can’t use the iPad, I use that for getting dressed in the morning, carpool and when my nanny is here and I have to get some work done.

I know deep down I need to go cold turkey on my little bribery ring. I’m being blackmailed by the cutest con man around. But I have to show him who’s boss, right? I’ll just have to go ask my husband for a raise.

p.s. if you have a good toddler sleep strategy that isn’t costing you an arm and a leg I’d love to know… 


  1. It will still cost you, but if you start some kind of sticker charting system you can work him up toward that clock and reinforce that by the time he earns enough stickers (2 weeks?) he will be an official big boy bed sleeper. And during those 2 weeks you can try to stress how great it is that he’s doing this etc. and wean him off cash prizes.

    I’m just guessing on all of this, BTW. Our issue was getting him to stay in his big boy bed when it was time to fall asleep. If I disclosed our methods on the internet family services might come after me.

    Once he has a clock, draw him a picture of what the clock will look like when it’s time for him to get out of bed and come to your room. I think we did something like this (with success. Moderate success.). If he does come in your room in the middle of the night or too early in the morning for no apparent reason, have him sleep on a blanket or something on the floor. First near your bed and then slowly move the spot toward the door to your room.

  2. When we moved our oldest to the big boy bed he was about 2-3. My strategy was to put a child gate up across his door so he couldn’t get up and wander around the house. When we would put him to bed, I would tell him he had to sleep until the sun came up. Now, they make these awesome little night lights that point to the sun/moon so kids know when it’s time to get up. I have an 11 month old now, so in a year or so I’ll probably be investing in one of those to see if it works. Good luck in your endeavor – it’ll work out!

  3. First off, you have a hilarious writing style. I really enjoy it!

    As far as how to get out of paying the cutest con man, I like Kim’s idea of slowly weening him from the habit. Baby steps!. Once you feel comfortable he is on the right track, you can implement the gate in his room.

    Any status update on this for us since it’s been month?

  4. selfmademom says:

    I’m still paying, actually. To get him to ride his bike, now. It never ends!!! Thanks for checking in.

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