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How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps

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HONEST TODDLER
Igor Emmerich via Getty Images

1. Announce that it's time to go to bed.

2. Wait for your toddler to stop crying.

3. Explain that bedtime is not a punishment.

4. Explain that bedtime is not a new concept.

5. Explain that, yes, bedtime will happen every night.

6. Console your toddler.

7. Announce that it's still bedtime.

8. Let your toddler know that we don't call names in this house.

9. Tell your toddler it's time to go upstairs.

10. Watch your toddler move at a snail's pace.

11. Wait for your toddler to stop crying.

12. Pick up your toddler.

13. Walk your toddler upstairs.

14. Pick out the wrong pair of pajamas for your toddler.

15. Pick out another wrong pair of pajamas for your toddler.

16. Explain that the right pair of pajamas are in the wash.

17. Explain that you will not be doing a load of laundry this evening.

18. Console your toddler while he/she cries.

19 Explain that in this house we don't call names.

20. Watch your toddler struggle to get into his/her pajamas.

21. Ask your toddler if you can help.

22. Continue watching your toddler struggle.

23. Watch your toddler try to wear a pair of pants like a shirt.

24. Console your toddler.

25. Put the wrong pair of pajamas on your toddler.

26. Announce that it's time to brush teeth.

27. Explain the benefits of dental hygiene.

28. Console your toddler.

29. Carry your toddler into the bathroom.

30. Put a microscopic amount of toothpaste (poison) onto the toddler toothbrush.

31. Wet toothbrush.

32. When your toddler opens his/her mouth 1/45th of an inch wide, attempt to clean teeth.

33. Your toddler will attempt to spit in the sink, but will actually spit on the counter. Clean it up.

34. Console your toddler.

35. Ask your toddler to pick out two books.

36. Toddler will pick out the two longest books in your home.

37. Read the first line of every third page of the two books.

38. Field unrelated questions and interruptions.

39. Tell toddler it's time for a good night kiss.

40. Toddler will be suddenly and urgently thirsty, give toddler a small drink of water.

41. Toddler will ask a question. Answer question.

42. Say "good night" and kiss toddler.

43. Toddler will ask for a hug. Hug toddler.

44. Toddler will take up a sudden interest in potty training and ask to use the bathroom. It's poop.

45. Help toddler in the bathroom. Notice that there is no poop.

46. Toddler may become afraid. Assure toddler that there is nothing to be afraid of.

47. Toddler will ask a question about life. Answer question.

48. Toddler will need another hug and kiss. Give hug and kiss.

49. Toddler needs to urinate. Help toddler in the bathroom. Notice that toddler actually urinates.

50. Toddler requires a sticker for urinating successfully.

51. Put a sticker on toddler's potty chart.

52. Toddler may want to tell you a brief 10-minute story. Listen to story while backing out of the room.

53. Turn off the light.

54. Toddler remembers that he/she needs a special stuffed animal.

55. Ask where the stuffed animal is.

56. Toddler tells you it's in the car. Find your keys and look in the car. It's not there.

57. Look in the living room.

58. Look in the kitchen.

59. Look in the backyard.

60. Scout the neighbor's property.

61. Find the toy in your toddler's room, under the bed.

62. Ask toddler if he/she knew the toy was under their bed.

63. Toddler will ask for dinner. Explain to toddler that dinner ended hours ago.

64. Toddler will cry that he/she is hungry. Explain to toddler that he/she should have eaten said dinner.

65. Explain that we do not call people in this house names.

66. Toddler will ask for hug and kiss. Hug and kiss toddler.

67. Toddler will ask you to help arrange his/her pillows and blankets. Arrange pillows and blankets.

68. Toddler will ask you three essay questions. Answer them.

69. Toddler will notice that the tag end of the blanket is next to his/her face and will kick it off. Fix blanket, this time with care and precision.

70. Toddler will ask for the hall light on. Turn on the hall light.

71. Toddler will ask for another story. Explain that there will be no more stories.

72. Toddler will ask what the plan for tomorrow is. Resist the urge to say, "I won't be here. I'm running away tonight."

73. Tell toddler "good night."

74. Toddler will say his/her back, legs or butt is itchy.

75. At your discretion, try to relieve itchiness through lotion or wipes.

76. Put toddler back in bed.

77. Arrange blanket in the proper formation.

78. Say good night.

79. Toddler will say "good night."

80. As you reach the door, toddler will inform you that he/she is not wearing socks.

81. Choose the wrong pair of socks for your toddler.

82. Choose another wrong pair of socks for your toddler.

83. Choose the right pair of socks for your toddler.

84. Put the right pair of socks the wrong way on your toddler's feet.

85. Put the right pair of socks the wrong way on your toddler's feet.

86. Get the right pair of socks the right way on your toddler's feet.

87. Use your last thread of energy to stand.

88. Say "good night."

89. Toddler will say "good night."

90. As you leave the room, toddler will ask for a sip of water with pathetic sad look on face.

91. Give toddler sip of water and beg to be released from this Hades.

92. Toddler will ask for a back rub/tapping.

93. Tap toddler's back until you lose feeling in your arm and your toddler seems tired.

94. Slowly stop tapping. Stand up. Try to float out of the room.

95. Toddler will look at you. Say, "it's time to go to bed."

96. If toddler cries, pretend to be serious this time.

97. Say "good night."

98. Act like you're walking downstairs but just linger by the door, out of sight.

99. Pray.

100. Walk downstairs.

You may now relax for 2-5 minutes before you're called back in. Congrats!

The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting is out in paperback April 22, 2014.

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