The Weirdest Thing Parents Have Done to Get Their Kids to Sleep? Find Out!

Sleep.  All parents want it, many kids resist it.  Out of desperation, parents try whatever it takes to get some shut-eye.   Some bounce and rock.  Some sing.  Some try to bore their kids to sleep.  Some find the one story, video, or show that works.  Other involve cars, bottles of rum (not for drinking!), and TUMs containers.  We asked moms from all over to share their weirdest thing they have done to get their kids to sleep.  If you think you've tried it all, read on.  We can almost guarantee you will walk away with some new ideas or at least a laugh.

There is nothing a sleep-deprived parent won't try.  As one mom said, “The list of things I haven't done would be shorter.”  Here are some of our favorite weird techniques for getting a child to sleep.  

  • With my youngest, I couldn't make eye contact when he was little. If I looked at him, he assumed I was going to interact, and therefore, he didn't have to sleep. So: no eye contact, while cuddling — but not holding him — and playing the white noise app on my phone… all while he was swaddled like he'd been resisting arrest, because he wriggled like crazy.
  • Bounced on a yoga ball with her in my lap and swinging a Bacardi rum bottle over her head and kinda to the side for her look at … She likes the glass pattern.
  • I sang American Pie for two hours because it was the only song I could remember.
  • Sang Jar of Hearts until I was hoarse.
  •  I try to bore him to sleep – my favorite is I'll read random Wikipedia entries to him.
  • Retold the entire movie plots of Moana, Frozen, Monsters Inc and Cars (1 & 3 only) 
  •  I'd say my weirdest scenario was laying in bed breastfeeding my 2-year-old to sleep with a 3-month-old twin on the other arm wrapped around with a bottle in her mouth with the second twin in a bouncer on my bed held secure between my legs and bottle feeding her with my foot.
  • Squeezed my boob thru the crib slot.
  • When my daughter was tiny, NOTHING made her happy. Except shaking a bottle of Tums. I can’t tell you how many car rides have been spent doing just that over her car seat because the second I stopped she woke up screaming. It’s like it put her in a sleepy baby trance.
  • Played Billy Ocean’s Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car on loop because it was the only thing she would fall asleep to.
  • My toddler used to fall asleep to Freddie Mercury, or at least calm down.
  • Held him or wore him in a carrier and did lunge bounces around my house until he fell asleep. Night after night. For like 4 months. My mom thought I was being too rough but after witnessing it herself rested her case.
  •  We room share with our infant, so he can see our bed and me from his crib. I've pretended to be asleep to get him to sleep out of sheer boredom. Once or twice I have fallen asleep and he didn't which was an acceptable victory in some small way
  •  I used to sing a song over and over. Then I discovered that a soft “zhooo-zhoo-zhoo” over and overworked even better.
  • Pushed my daughter around the house in her stroller.
  • My second kid, I had to let her swing under a tv playing King of the Hill on repeat for her to sleep at all the first 6 months of her life.
  • Played 5-hour long YouTube videos of waterfalls at max volume right behind the swing in which she was swaddled.
  • Bounced on an exercise ball while wearing her in a wrap. For 4 hours straight!!!!! I'd do this usually 1-2 hours a few times a day for 3 months and my quads got jacked
  • Bounced on a fitness ball while babywearing him … For the entire nap. Twice a day. Every day. For like 3 months. Because he would not sleep a wink otherwise.
  • When my youngest was a baby, he wouldn’t fall asleep unless he was swaddled, had a pacifier, was bouncing in my lap, and my hand was covering his face. His sleep habits aren’t much better 3 years later.
  •  My 5yo likes to squeeze the fat on my belly to relax. 
  • I did deep squats for 30 min straight. Buns of steel after that.
  • Backed in and out of my driveway about 37 times one night. The incline was like rocking her to sleep and she finally gave in.
  • Played the “guaranteed to make your baby fall asleep” video on YouTube. It's a weird book (The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep) but it works for a lot of people.
  • This is probably absolute sacrilege but I turn the TV on in my four-year-old’s room. As long as he’s lying in the bed watching the TV and his yellow blankie is covering him he will conk out in 10 minutes.

What's the weirdest thing you have tried to get your child to sleep?

What do you think?

The Weirdest Thing Parents Have Done to Get Their Kids to Sleep? Find Out!

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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