Why won’t my child go to sleep?

Because she doesn’t want to. We could call in the psychologists and make it more complicated, I suppose, but let’s not. Time for bed…I don’t want to…I can tell you’re tired…Am not…You need your sleep…No I don’t…Everybody needs their sleep…Do not…Well, there was one girl who never slept…So…She’d heard of the thousand stairs…Mm um…You’ve heard of the thousand stairs…No…In Zanzibar, and at the top is a fabulous treasure…What?…Well, it takes a long time to tell. Are you sure you can stay awake?…Yes…She’d heard of Zanzibar. I don’t know how. I think she was the daughter of a famous explorer. And she hiked for many miles across desert and through jungle to reach the stairs. The weather was terribly hot, and she walked for hours everyday, exhausting herself. Putting one foot in front of the other. She wanted to sleep so badly, but more than that she wanted to climb the thousand stairs. Finally, after months of walking, she arrived and saw them rising into the sky so high that the top disappeared into the clouds. She sat for a moment, and it was then she saw the little bearded man sitting calmly on a stone at the bottom of the stairs. She said, “Hello,” and the man smiled and asked, “Are you here to climb the stairs?” She nodded. She was very tired by now but only wanted to rest for a while. “You’re wise to stop and sleep before climbing,” said the old man. “Many others have tried to climb without rest, and they never reached the top.” The girl asked, “What happened to them?” and the man said, “They all fell, but when they fell they became birds, and now they live among the trees in the jungle.” And then…the girl…(parental murmurings…goodnight).

Reprinted with enthusiastic permission from Ask Uncle Bob, 2012, with Uncle Bob’s hopes that it will work for you.

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