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Dr. Becky explains the real reason kids procrastinate at night

young girl getting ready for bed Dr Becky sleep separation
Melanie DeFazio/Shutterstock

There’s a meme making the rounds on social media right now that takes an old The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon skit (where the host is trying to sing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” but Will Ferrell keeps heckling him with questions about the lyrics) and compares it to a parent trying to put their kid to bed. It’s pretty hilarious—and pretty accurate.

In Dr. Becky’s latest viral reel, she leads with the meme and then explains the real reason why kids procrastinate during bedtime, and it’s honestly so endearing.

“Here’s why kids procrastinate at bedtime,” she says. “They’re not giving you a hard time, they are having a hard time because they’re anxious about the upcoming separation from you.

That’s right: at night, sleep struggles are really sleep separation struggles, and if a kid keeps asking question after question after question, they’re often less interested in the answer than they are in getting a little bit more of you, their parent.”

The Good Inside author and mother of three then shared a sweet tool you can use next time your kiddo is struggling during bedtime. “So the next time your kid is asking endless questions at bedtime, instead of answering them over and over and getting annoyed, pause and say this to your child: ‘Wait a second, I just want to give you a really big squeeze. Ooh that feels so good to really connect before bedtime,’” Dr. Becky reveals, “and I promise you, the questions will be fewer because you spoke to their real need—the need for connection.”

Of course, sleep struggles don’t begin and end with your kid asking questions while you’re trying to get them into bed. Bedtime routines can be rough when you’re at your wit’s end after a long day and your kid doesn’t want the day to be over. But simply changing the way in which you ask your child to complete a task can do wonders with dissolving power struggles.

A recent viral video demonstrates the differences between effective and ineffective ways to handle bedtime. TL;DR: Being prepared, active, engaged, motivated and connected will help bedtime go smoother for everyone than being repetitive, distracted, passive, disconnected, uninvolved or reactive.

With daylight savings coming up, we can use all the tips we can get for getting our kids to bed quicker and earlier. And these techniques will definitely help.