The Bedtime Pass: The $3 Craft That Saved My Sanity


Every night, it was the same cycle: tuck the kids into bed, shut the door, silence for approximately three minutes, get a show queued up, and then get pummeled by a stream of constant interruptions: 

“Momma, I need a drink.”

“Mommy, I just wanted to come ask what we’re doing tomorrow.” 

“Daddy, can you come read just one more story?” 

“Sissy keeps being loud and I can’t sleep!” 

“Can we PLEASE buy Animal Crossing tomorrow?” 

My husband and I were so fed up with our big kids’ inability to stay in their beds. Why do they hate sleep so much?! It’s literally what I look forward to ALL. DAY. LONG. 

We tried everything: yelling, time-outs, taking away toys. Nothing seemed to work. My husband and I simply wanted what every married couple with young kids want: a few hours of silence so we could watch The Mandalorian, tell each other about our day, and eat the hidden snacks! 

Then, suddenly, the idea came to me: they need something tangible. The idea of taking away screen time tomorrow was an abstract concept they couldn’t grasp. They needed something concrete to help hammer the “staying in bed” rule home. That’s how I came up with The Bedtime Pass. 

It’s essentially the same thing as a hall pass. When I was in junior high/high school if we needed to go to the bathroom or see the nurse (or, let’s face it, walk by our crush’s class to see if he’d notice) we had to have a hall pass. If you want to talk to Mommy and Daddy after we’ve said “Good night,” you’ve got to have a Bedtime Pass.

I went to Walmart and bought two small wooden tags. I painted one blue (for my son) and one purple (for my daughter) and wrote “Bedtime Pass” on each one before adding a white ribbon. That night, we explained how the passes worked. 

Bedtime Pass Rules: 

  1. Bedtime Passes may only be used ONCE a night. (They have to bring it to one of us and leave it there until morning).
  2. A B.P. is not needed if you have to potty, you’re bleeding, or there’s a fire. (We also added that it is not necessary to tell us when they’re using the bathroom. A direct quote from my husband: “We don’t need to know your bathroom business; just get it done.” *insert cry-laughing emoji here*)
  3. If you come out of your room for a non-emergency and you’ve already used your Bedtime Pass, you’re going straight to time-out. 

Holy father of Baby Yoda, it has worked like a dream! The kids used to come out of their rooms an average of 4 times a night–EACH. Now it’s 1 or less! This simple tool–that cost less than a cup of coffee–has saved my sanity (and my sleep)! 


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