Bedtime can be THE toughest time of the day. Kids are tired; heck, everyone’s tired! This genius bedtime routine tip to help Kids stay in their room after tucking in will help!
Truth is, we had a great routine in my house until we didn’t. My boys started coming out of their rooms 32 times (rough estimate) after bedtime. It felt like there was no end to the constant disruptions and requests. And after a long day, I was left with almost no patience, and my parenting would fall apart.
Are you having this problem? I know I’m not alone on this one. I wanted our well-oiled machine back and also realized as my children get older, they could use a little flexibility.
Resetting a bedtime routine doesn’t have to be complicated. With the tuck-in ticket, you can reset the bedtime routine so that everyone can rest better at night.
In this post, I will share how to introduce the TUCK-IN TICKET as an action plan if your child struggles with bedtime routines to help upgrade the goodnight process in your home.
Why won’t kids stay in their beds?
I don’t know about you, but nothing feels more satisfying than kicking back, unwinding, and cozying up in bed after a long busy day. But for kids, NO WAY!
It’s hard to understand as parents why kids don’t want to stay in their beds after a full day of stimulation, playing, and learning. This can be especially frustrating if you’re feeling overwhelmed as a parent or can lead to total parent burnout.
Researchers have found that one of the foundational reasons kids don’t stay in their beds is that they simply don’t want to be alone. And can you blame them? We’re human beings who crave closeness and connection.
And yet, as a parent, the second I open my eyes, I also need some downtime to be a more present parent the next day.
When I think about helping my child with bedtime, I channel my preschool activity brain and recognize what helps children take ownership within the boundaries I set. This new bedtime routine needed to meet both of our needs.
We needed a change…
For years we had a great bedtime routine with our boys. It was a bath, books, and bed and everyone fell asleep shortly after leaving their rooms. It gave me plenty of time to unwind.
Now that all three of my boys are older, it started to feel like our bedtime routine was full of constant disruptions after we read to everyone.
Between last-minute potty breaks, refills on water, and requests for just one more book, bedtime became a never-ending process. Two kids begin to feel settled and hear the other child come out, leading them to see what’s happening. Rinse and repeat.
It needed to stop. Something needed to change so that we could all reset!
Rather than redirecting them every time and exhausting my energy…We created: the TUCK-IN TICKET!
The tuck-in ticket is THE SOLUTION for the routine that was working and now feels like chaos with 100 trips to fill up water.
What is a tuck-in ticket?
The tuck-in ticket is a simple, no-frills piece of paper (grab a scrap piece of paper you likely have laying around) and writes out the phrase “1 TUCK IN”.
After being read to and tucked in, they can come to get us for one final tuck-in. This visual ticket helps build a smoother bedtime routine. It also slows down the constant disruption of bedtime.
TIP: What makes the tuck-in new and different is it is not for the three-year-old that gets out of bed. I believe those years to be the training years, and a tuck-in ticket may be above their maturity level.
Tuck-in tickets are for ages 5+. So make sure, before you introduce this concept, that your child can understand the concept.
Before handing over the tuck-in ticket, establish a predictable bedtime routine. This is why we wait until children are older.
Simple bedtime routines are the most efficient:
Kids function with predictability and routine. Similar to the importance of establishing a daily schedule, bedtime routines are essential for adequate sleep, leading to healthy growth and development for learning.
If you need book suggestions, this Kindergarten read-aloud list is some of our favorites!
If you’re still working on establishing a predictable and simple bedtime routine, TRY THIS for a simple bedtime routine:
- Chat about three things that happened in the day
- Do an activity book together (I LOVE mazes and puzzle activity books)
- High Low Buffalo is sharing something great, something not so great, and something unexpected.
- Play a family board game.
- Read two books (maybe a tougher child picks them ahead of time)
Big kids use a tuck-in ticket
The idea is that kids are familiar with the routine and looking to stay up a little later than when they were younger. They are welcome to stay in their room but may only come out once.
If (but let’s be honest, WHEN) they come out, the ticket is “used,” and they will eventually learn to understand that this is their last opportunity to come out of their room for a goodnight request.
You don’t need to use the tuck-in ticket forever! It just needs a few days or weeks to get the ball rolling.
Why the tuck-in ticket works for ALL of us
Using a tuck-in ticket can allow you to recharge and be present for the next day. It can give you the time to clean up the kitchen, set up a breakfast invitation, make school lunches and spend time watching Netflix with your partner!
As exhausted parents, the tuck-in ticket can set the boundary you need, it did for us!
It can also give your kids the wiggle room to read or play quietly in their room until their bodies and mind feel ready and calm enough to fall asleep on their own.
Why this works long term
The tuck-in ticket has given my boys the control and independence to learn how to listen to their bodies.
When they are ready, my boys exchange the ticket for a final tuck-in.
It’s simple and effective!
You will be surprised how easy this bedtime hack can be. Giving your kids the physical and visual “ticket” can lighten the bedtime mood and give them a tool for gaining independence to prepare for bed. After establishing a simple bedtime routine, use the tuck-in ticket to help smooth the process.
Don’t forget to acknowledge and show your kids how proud you are of them for practicing a successful bedtime. Here are 3 Powerful Ways to Say Good Job the next morning!
Activities on Demand
Want great ideas without the ads? Download these 20 hands-on learning games for kids.
There are so many reasons why kids won’t stay in their beds at the end of the day. But one thing is universally understood: kids simply don’t want to be alone. They crave closeness and connection. So all those potty breaks, water refills, and endless requests are simply ways to delay that final goodnight.
Bedtime routines are most efficient when they are predictable. Keep the bedtime routine short and to the point. We like to do baths, books, and bed. You can try replacing the book with a quiet game or activity in their room.
The tuck-in ticket is nothing fancy. It is simply a piece of paper with the words “1 TUCK IN” on it. You can give this “pass” to your child at bedtime, and they can use it to come out of their room one final time to say goodnight or fulfill their last request. It provides your child with a visualization to help them understand when it’s the last time to make any bedtime requests.