Every parent knows the feeling of sitting by their child’s bedside and eagerly waiting for that anticipated yawn. It’s usually done while spying out of the corner of your eye to check on the level of their sleepiness. Children have an uncanny ability to know when you’re looking for yawns, and sensing your excitement at their imminent visit to dreamland seems to only fuel their insistence to stay awake even longer.
Knowing how contagious yawns are, I often like to softly, and very innocently, yawn while the ‘I’m not tired’ child is looking at me. The only problem with this strategy lies in it’s very purpose, and that is that yawns are contagious! And being so tired myself, and not entitled to a toddler naptime each day, my own yawns make me even sleepier. I have in fact been caught out a few times when snuggled up next to her at bedtime and woken up after drifting off while she is still bright eyed and bushy tailed staring at me giggling.
This whole dilemma raises a few questions in my mind. First and foremost is where exactly do toddlers get their energy from? They rise early, operate at 110% all morning, fight nap time, give in to a short nap, and then operate at 120% all afternoon before fighting bedtime again. The second question is how are they actually surprised at naptime every day, when they have a nap every day! “I don’t want to sleep today….” Because apparently I caught you off guard with a surprise nap, at the same time each and every day!
So you can add innocent yawning to your bedtime arsenal, but be forewarned that it may just cause you to drift off before your charge does. Peeking through half closed eyelids at said charge is almost always detected too, just in case you were wondering….