How To Ensure That Your Children Become The Worst Possible Sleepers, Ever, In The History Of The World

I am a sleep failure.

If I were to write a book on sleeping, it would be called “How To Ensure That Your Children Become The Worst Possible Sleepers, Ever, In The History Of The World.”

Bestseller, yes?

I have a guest post on one blogger’s experience getting her kids to sleep. She’s anti “crying it out,” and has chosen to keep her kids with her until they are 15-18 months and then move them gently to share a room with a sibling. It’s sweet and comforting and what works for her family. Like everything else in parenting, that’s really all that matters. There are no rights and no wrongs; It’s parenthood, not the SATS.

Actually, I take it back. There are wrongs and where sleeping is concerned,  and I did them all.

If there are any mothers out there struggling with sleeping, or wondering how to best approach it, I’d like to share with you exactly what I did so you can do the complete opposite.

You’re welcome.

• Force your newborn to sleep on top of you. I couldn’t breastfeed Lily, and was convinced that she would never bond with me because of it. To achieve a sense of closeness, I forced her to sleep on top of me during her early days, which of course resulted in nothing but a newborn who couldn’t sleep unless she was on top of me. It took months and months to undo.

• Don’t make them cry. Ever. Despite my name, I am quite a pussy when it comes to hearing my children cry, especially when I know they can be soothed simply by my presence. The minute they let out the slightest whimper, I’d be in their room rescuing them. (From a restful sleep.)

• Don’t set any type of routine. I always thought it was annoying when people couldn’t leave the house because their kid needed to nap at a particular time and vowed that my children would be flexible. And, they are, right up until 11PM.

• Fall asleep with your kids. Evan sleeps in his own room, but only if I’m with him, in his twin bed, crammed up against the wall.

• Become an accidental co-sleeper. Most nights, at least two out of three of my children end up in my bed. It happened out of laziness (it’s so much easier to just let them in bed than walk all the way down the hall,) but is now a pattern that we just can’t escape.

• Get them used to sleeping in the car. So they only, you know, want to sleep in the car.

• Have no plan. I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of parent, but sleep is the rare exception where I think a plan is valuable. There are a gazillion books on different sleep methods for a reason– they work. It may have been wise to have read one.

So, there you go. Heed my warnings and I see many restful nights ahead for you and your children.

Unlike us.

About the writer


In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)

From Around the Web


samantha 9 months ago

I just died laughing…. It’s all too true! Our son is just a few days shy of 18 months and we have had a total of four ‘sleep through the nights’…FOUR!! He’s our first and I always was against crying it out but tonight my husband and I agreed something had to change. As I was laying here listening to him cry in his room I just kept reading and reading and reading all over the internet for ANYTHING to give me hope that someday he will sleep soundly and then I came across your post; we have done everything wrong as well. Thanks for the laugh!

Sara 1 year ago

Probably really late to post, but I saw this and it spoke to me! I did everything you did. My son is 14 months old (almost 15 months old) and still sleeps in a pack and play in our room. And when he wakes at night I pick him up and put him in our bed until he falls asleep again. We have tried his crib and he screams until he can’t breathe. I feel like I’m abandoning him so I give up. He is so happy in the pack and play in our room. But he does have to be rocked to sleep or held. I’d love it if he fell asleep on his own and in his crib… we’d like our room back eventually!

Danielle 3 years ago

Oh I do not miss the co-sleeping days. Sleep training was so hard but the results for both us and our daughter are so worth it.

Trendy Tummy Maternity 3 years ago

ha ha great article… the last time I had a good, restful sleep was the day before my daughter was born. Funny how it ALL changes.. I will heed your advice.

kath 3 years ago

my cousin practiced the drums during her pregnancy. She always had loud music on and when my aunt watched her new grand child, she could never get the child to sleep, or to settle down. My aunt had men come to repair the roof and when they heard the crying baby they promised to keep the noise down. She told them it really wouldn’t matter and within five miniutes of them starting the job, her grand child was sound asleep.

My nephew was convinved that an elephant lived under his bed and wouldn’t sleep unless his dad was *right there* his dad told his son that elephants had a better sense of smell than sight and by leaving his bathrobe next to the bed the elephants would be scared away…

My niece decided that bed time wasn’t going to happen and was constantly in and out of bed… untill I told her the story of the monster under the bed… the next day when her dad checked up on her she was laying in the middle of the bed with her arms holding the covers pretty tight to her body. (she was fast asleep with no fuss) I told both my niece and nephew that elephants, and monsters can’t hurt you if you give them a silly name. They are so mortified that they just run away.

The moral of the sleep story is. Sleep when the baby sleeps, and very few teen agers ever want to be seen with their parents, so you only have a few more years to go before you have your room to yourself.

Shani 4 years ago

I’m a fan of routine. My daughter sleeps 11 or 12 hours per night now (she’s 14 months old) plus takes 2 naps. Sleep is so important for kids’ brain development and for parents’ sanity!! She didn’t sleep through the night until 8 months. But routine really helped us!

Thrifty With triplets 4 years ago

I think most Mom of high order multiples would agree that if you don’t sleep train your babies, you might just lose your sanity! We are not perfect, but serious sleep training made a huge difference for us. I did this when they were about 6 months old. and I think it took all of 2 night of a little crying to teach them the crib is for sleeping. If you are sick, Mommy gets you out of bed, other than that, you sleep in your bed. Worked for us and still does. My triplets are 2.5 and still in their cribs….. so scared to see what will happen when they go to big kid beds. Would it be weird to keep them in there cribs until they are 10 ?:)

Old School/New School Mom 4 years ago

This is so awesome. It makes me feel so much better about the fact that Ari refuses to sleep until 11pm. I can completely relate to being jammed up again the wall of a twin bed. Why won’t these kids sleep?!


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