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Trying to get your child to go to sleep is a challenge that most parents face at some point. Whether you’re putting your little one down for a nap or starting the bedtime process, it can sometimes feel like a battle you aren’t going to win. And even if you do, there’s the staying in bed part that can be even more difficult.


It is very common, especially in toddlerhood, for kids to get out of their bed the moment you leave the room—making the bedtime process feel impossible.

After the 64th time of walking your child back to her bed, you might be wondering how you’ll possibly survive this stage, and what it’s going to take for her to stay put.

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As a mom who recently went through this with our school-aged child, I completely understand how taxing and frustrating the whole process can be. Thankfully, being a sleep coach came in handy in our situation, and we were able to use several key phrases that made a huge difference.

Here are 10 of them that you can implement in your household if you’re currently fighting this battle:

1. “I’ll check on you in 10 minutes.”

Rather than waiting for your child to get up and come find you, assure her that you will return in five or 10 minutes to check in. This will help give her a sense of security that you will come back and teach her that it’s okay to want you, but that it is still expected she stays in her bed.

2. “It’s time to sleep now in your bed. I’m going to sleep in my bed too.”

This doesn’t mean you also need to go to bed right away, but assuring your child that you too will be sleeping in your own bed, helps make that connection that beds are for sleep.

3. “You can have one pass tonight if you need one. After that, I won’t be responding to requests unless it is an emergency.”

We all know this trick. Children are put to bed and then suddenly want a glass of milk, another bedtime story, and a pony. While it is important to make sure your child is safe, responding to every single request can draw out the bedtime process. If you allow your child one or two “asks," then it can help him to think a bit more about how often to call out to you.

4. “If you don’t get your sleep tonight, we might not be able to do X activity tomorrow since we will just be too tired.”

This isn’t meant as a threat or punishment, but as a reminder that lack of sleep directly correlates with lack of energy. There are negative effects associated with not sleeping enough, and often our children don’t realize this unless we explain it in a tangible way.

5. “If you stay in your bed tonight, we can do an extra activity tomorrow."

This is not to be used as a bribe or to entice your child to sleep better by rewarding them with treats or other objects. Rather, it emphasizes the direct connection with “more sleep = more energy”—when children have something to look forward to they might take it a bit more seriously.

6. “Can we make it your job to stay in bed tonight and can we count on you to do that?"

Often when we give our kids responsibility it gives them a sense of ownership. Even if it is something as simple as staying in bed, providing them with a “job” to do, can help it feel less scary or overwhelming. You can also ask your child to put his stuffed animals or loveys to bed and have him tell them the same thing.

7. “I know you can do this and I’m here for you."

Despite our frustrations that our children aren’t going to sleep, it is so important that we provide encouragement as much as possible. Our children count on us to be steady and calm and when we model that behavior along with words of affirmation, our children have a much better chance of feeling safe to fall and stay asleep.

8. “What do you need in order to feel safe?”

It is very common for children to have separation anxiety and fear around sleeping alone and it is important to create an opportunity to address those fears. Talking about them and asking the appropriate questions will help your child work through any feelings of fear or anxiety.

9. “If you’re feeling scared it is okay to come get one of us."

School-aged children often have real feelings of fear and night terrors, and when you give them the option of seeking comfort from a parent, it can help them feel relief. I have seen the use of this phrase actually minimize the amount of middle of the night wakings because the child feels less anxious knowing they have our support.

10. “Once the light turns green or the timer goes off, you can go ahead and get out of bed."

The Ok to Wake! clocks or kid-friendly alarms, are a great way to encourage your child to stay in bed until the clock says it’s time. These are typically best to use for the morning hours, but you can also set them for the 10-15 minutes check-ins after going down at bedtime.

There are a few other important factors to consider when using these phrases:

  • Try not to use punishment or lose your temper during the process.
  • Keep dialogue short when responding to call-outs and questions after bedtime.
  • Remember that behavior at bedtime is usually a continuation of how your child behaves throughout the day (e.g., if your child can’t be alone during the day, that isn’t going to change at night).

These phrases can be helpful when managing a child who has a hard time staying in bed, but ultimately taking a look at why the behavior is happening in the first place is important to address the problem at its root.

Your child looks to you for guidance and support in all other areas of life and bedtime isn’t any different. By responding positively, while still implementing firm boundaries, you are helping to establish security and connection—and eventually a better sleeper.

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Caring for young children can be challenging enough on a perfectly normal day, but during an emergency those challenges are magnified. Natural disasters and emergencies—such as earthquakes, storms, fires, power outages, flooding or outbreaks that affect a wide community—obviously present a major operational challenge for childcare programs.

That's why childcare providers need to have preparedness plans for emergencies and natural disasters that are likely to occur in their communities. Be sure to discuss emergency planning with your day care, childcare program or after-school care provider.

Here are a few helpful questions to ask to make sure that your child's day care or childcare is ready for emergencies.

1. Does the parent handbook cover emergency planning? Is it up to date?

The parent handbook should serve as a guide for everything that takes place in a childcare program, from drop-off protocols to nap schedules, and it should also include information about the program's emergency plans, response, and recovery. As situations change or arise, the parent handbook should be updated accordingly.

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2. What is your communication plan for emergencies or disasters?

While 90% of childcare providers have written emergency response plans, only 70% have plans to communicate with family members during an emergency. Your provider should outline its plan of communication in its parent handbook.

3. Do you perform drills for disasters that are likely to occur in our area?

Ask whether your day care or childcare program has practiced its emergency response plans in a calm, safe environment—in other words, before it's necessary.

4. What is your evacuation plan?

In the rare event that an evacuation is necessary, it's important for providers to include up-to-date evacuation drills and protocols in the parent handbook. Caregivers, staff, parents and children should all know the designated meet-up point during a community evacuation.

5. Do you have a safe, designated evacuation spot in the event of a community evacuation?

Once staff and children calmly evacuate the building, there needs to be a safe shelter-in-place spot nearby. This location should be kid-friendly and have plenty of food, water and ways to keep young children occupied. The location should also be able to accommodate children with special needs and those with medical requirements.

6. What is your shelter-in-place plan?

During an emergency where parents are unable to access roads or public transportation, childcare programs need to have a shelter-in-place plan. Whether children stay at the facility or evacuate to a safe spot nearby, providers need to keep at least 72 hours worth of food, water, and medical supplies up to date. The program should also have parents write notes in advance letting children know that everything is okay.

7. Do you have post-disaster plans?

According to FEMA, more than 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster. If childcare programs close, parents cannot return to work and recovery cannot begin. Also, young children need a safe, secure, and familiar place to return to after a disaster.

8. How do you discuss emergencies in an age-appropriate manner with children?

A great way for care providers to introduce the concept of emergency plans to children is to have them help create emergency kits. This way children become familiar with emergency response items. Teachers should also let parents know how they plan to talk to children about emergencies in advance.

9. What are your policies for closing?

Childcare providers must give advance warning to parents about closures if there is an impending weather emergency. If roadways near the childcare program are typically out of use during an emergency, both parents and staff need to map out secondary pick-up plans in advance.

10. Are you in touch with local preparedness organizations?

Local emergency organizations can provide advice and tips to prepare for an emergency or natural disaster. Parents, care providers and community organizations should meet regularly and have the most recent copies of the parent handbook.

According to FEMA, in 2019 alone, there were 59 declared disasters in the U.S. These emergencies include earthquakes, tropical storms, fires, floods, severe storms, tornadoes, landslides, mudslides, extreme wind, and snowstorms. But basic advance preparation can go a long way toward helping parents and caregivers feel ready for emergencies and disasters, and can ensure that families and care providers stay safe.

A version of this post was originally published at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness

Learn + Play

The transition to motherhood is tough, and you deserve a little love! Join us March 28th for Motherly's Becoming Mama event in NYC for a day filled with conversations and connections that will leave you feeling inspired. Get advice from expert panels, indulge in a little pampering, and meet other local mamas IRL for a day of empowerment and support.


Register now for early-bird pricing, and access to limited VIP tickets with exclusive gift bags.

Here's what you can expect:

  • A mindful mama meditation to start your day.
  • Interactive panels and workshops focused on the hottest topics for new moms and moms-to-be. Check them out below!
  • A healthy lunch + delicious snacks
  • Pregnancy + postpartum pampering
  • Personalized gifts for you + your baby
  • The chance to test the hottest baby gear on the market
  • A swag bag filled with surprises
  • Amazing giveaways from our brand partners

Sat, March 28, 2020
10 am-2:30 pm
SECOND.
849 6th Ave
New York, NY 10001

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Here's what we'll be talking about on our panels:

Navigating the Fourth Trimester: Self-Care for Mom
While having a baby is a joyous occasion it often involves mom putting her own health on hold and speeding into overdrive to care for baby. Here postpartum experts will discuss the importance of postpartum mental wellness, and the importance of asking for help and finding support.

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The Motherhood Advantage sponsored by Medela
Motherhood brings so many advantages to the workplace, and yet, it's still a topic often talked about in hushed voices. We'll invite Medela to sponsor this very important panel that will evolve this working mom conversation. Together we can work to erase the Motherhood Penalty, support moms with the proper tools and lift each other up in the workplace.

Parenting in Partnership: Learning to Share the Load
There's never been a more equitable time to be a parent, and yet so many mothers still feel like they're carrying more than their fair share. Let's talk about how to create a parenting team from the start, with tips, tricks and expert advice on leveling the playing field between parenting partners.

*While many of Motherly's events are family focused, there will not be specific activities or play spaces for babies or kids. This event is more mom-focused. Babies under 1 are welcome at this event, but a baby carrier is suggested. Please use your discretion.

Thank you to our sponsors buybuy Baby and Medela.

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When I think about Meghan Markle, her effortless style is usually one of the the first things that comes to mind. Whether she's traveling, taking her dogs for a walk, or attending a royal event, her outfits always look timeless and put together. Yet somehow she still manages to wear outfits that feel way more accessible (even when she is donning a gorgeous—but expensive—coat we've had in our cart for much longer than we care to admit).

While I can't quite afford a personal stylist yet or drop a few thousand on a bag, I did do a little digging and found that a few of her wardrobe staples are items that I can add to my closet, with a little investment. And, if you're not in the market to invest this much, don't worry—I found dupes that will do the trick!

Here are our favorite products to achieve Meghan Markle's classic mom style:

Meghan's pick: Rothy's flats

rothys flat

Confession: I own a lot of shoes. But I wear my Rothy's at least once a week and they're the first shoe I toss into my luggage when I'm traveling because they're so comfortable and can be machine-washed. The Point is my (and apparently Meghan Markle's) favorite style because it elongates the legs and goes with literally anything you wear. I love that they're made from recycled plastic water bottles, too. And, they just launched the Mary Jane—it has a bow!—if you prefer a more dainty look with a fun twist.

$145

Our dupe: ASOS ballet flats

asos black pointed toe

This pointed pair will give a similar elongated look at just $23. They come in half sizes and if you're unsure which size is best, ASOS offers a sizing recommendation. The material isn't machine-washable (like our prized Rothy's) but you can wipe these clean with a damp cloth to keep them looking like new.

$23

Meghan's pick: Wool wrap jacket

meghan markle wool coat

There's just something so elegant about this coat. Maybe it's the wrap waist that flatters any body type. Or, it's the way the collared neck drapes (seriously it'll even make wearing pajamas look chic). It's become one of the most recognized pieces from Meghan's wardrobe and we are obsessed.

$750

Our dupe: Tahari wool blend coat

tahari wool blend cape coat

Looking for something more affordable? This coat is marked down to $83 from $360 at Nordstrom Rack. While we haven't personally tried it, at 77% off, we can bet the quality is pretty up to par with a higher-end jacket. Plus, we're obsessed with the pale blue and port wine colorways. The removable waist tie belt and shoulder cape overlay will have you feeling like Meghan Markle in just about anything.

Bonus: We love this Amazon dupe that's just under $80.

$82.48

Meghan's pick: Longchamp bag

longchamp bag

On the quest for a bag that holds just about everything you need (without having to be a diaper bag)? Say hello to the Longchamp 'Le Pliage' tote. It's water-resistant, has durable leather straps and folds up into a square for each storage or packing. I've had mine for more than five years and it's still going strong—and it's schlepped a lot of heavy things over the years. Plus, it just looks nice with everything!

$125

Our dupe: Amazon shoulder bag

longchamp knock off bag

This dupe on Amazon has 59 great reviews and the large size is under $30! With three sizes, you can pick whatever best fits your style. Each bag comes with a zippered main compartment and interior pockets and yes, it even folds up just like the real thing.

$27.99

Meghan's pick: Birdies slippers

birdies slippers

Are they house slippers or the most comfortable flats you've owned? Spoiler alert: They're both. Meghan has been spotted wearing The Heron style (I've been spotted wearing the slides around my apartment all day) many times and we think the velvet detail dresses up just about anything, even leggings. The no-slip rubber sole and 7-layer support means you can run around in these all day long without missing a beat.

$95

Our dupe: Chase & Chloe pointy loafer

pointy toe loafer

While you won't experience the cloud-like softness of Birdies, you can achieve a similar look with this pair from Nordstrom Rack for under $20. Both black and tan pairs come with a padded footbed, grip sole and a flexible construction (so hopefully no blisters even from day one).

$19.97

Meghan's pick: Madewell denim jacket

madewell denim jacket

I didn't own a denim jacket until last year and since then, I've worn it in just about every season. Over summer dresses, paired with a T-shirt, over a blouse, you name it. It add just enough extra warmth without having to put on something bulky and is machine-washable. For an extra-cool and Meghan Markle factor, roughly roll up the sleeves twice.

$118

Our dupe: Old Navy denim jacket

old navy denim jacket

Grab this $30 distressed denim look at Old Navy. I'm not sure how they do it, but their denim jackets are *so* soft. This one is slightly fitted so size up if you're looking for a more oversized look. Just like the Madewell one, this hits right below the waist, making it great to pair with pants or dresses.

$35

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