Like many parents, I have tucked my children into bed only to have them come out of their room minutes later for all manner of reasons, real and invented. Forgot to pee. Thirsty. Itchy pajamas. Fan too loud. Bug in room. Monster under bed. Et cetera.
One night I decided this had to stop. I had each kid one-by-one raise their hand and repeat after Daddy…”I, (insert name here), promise not to come out of the room for any reason until morning.” My daughter, 7 at the time, then wrote down on a piece of paper the official “Rules for Sleep” which she taped on the bedroom door. It said, “You must stay in the room after Daddy tucks you in and kisses you good night unless you have diarrhea or have to vomit.”
My younger son, who was four at the time, one night forgot to go to the bathroom before bedtime. He dutifully followed my rules to the letter, remained inside the bedroom and urinated in the trash can next to his sister’s bed.
Sometimes Daddy’s rules work too well.