This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

I have a new favorite phrase from our kids:  “Mommy, will you lay with me?”  Why is this my favorite? Let me tell you

Do you hear this every night, as I do?  “Mommy, can you lie down with me for a few minutes?”  (or, as our little one says, “Can you lay with me?”)

Our children want me to lie down with them every night.  This question is always on their minds because they love to spend time with you.

I know that our goal is to teach them to sleep through the night so they are well-rested, but these few minutes BEFORE your child falls asleep, and even before you say “Good Night,”  make all of the difference.

Mommy will you lay with me?

Several years ago, a friend of the family’s son passed away after several hours of sleep while he was asleep in his room.

A week later, another seven-year-old boy passed away, only one town away, unexpectedly while he was outside playing.

One year later, another child passed away at only 36 months of age, in the middle of the night after he was put to sleep in his own bed.

This is hard for me to think about, talk about, write about, or share today.   At the time of their passing, our children were very close in age to several children that had passed away.   (We have four kids: born in ’06, ’08, ’10 and ’12)


Do you know what one of our kids asks me every single night as I am tucking him into bed… “Mommy, will you lay with me?”  I am sad now thinking that my answer used to be:

  • Just for a second, sweetie.
  • Ok – for a minute. I have to make sure that your sister and brothers are all tucked in.
  • I have to clean up the kitchen, so I’ll just give you a kiss & hug, ok?
  • I have to do some work – so I’ll just tuck you in quickly.
  • Daddy and I are going to eat dinner since we didn’t get to eat as early as you tonight, so give me a big hug & then stay in bed and get right to sleep….”
mommy will you lay with me 1

…whatever the reason, they all say the same thing to him: “Just for a second.  Other things are coming first.”

I know, I know… as parents, we don’t want to start any sort of sleep problems, and many of us do not have a family bed or bed sharing (we don’t), but this is different.

This happens as you are putting them to bed.  When our son is going to sleep in his own room, while we are tucking him in, we just talk.

I know that we can’t lie there all night…   

Our son would expect this, as would all of our kids.  “You give an inch, they take a mile”.   We think we will lie down for 5 minutes; they want 20.  We give 20; they want 40.  (To be honest… our youngest child be happiest if I stayed 12 hours in her bed every night!)

Hold on… there is a catch. 

This is when the good stuff comes out.

This is when I hear all of those details that teenager boys and almost-teens don’t tell their moms anymore.
The things like..

  • So & So told me that I was cute today.  How disgusting.  Right, Mom?”
  • “Today we had a math test, and I got them all right… I was really distracted though and thought I might miss one because out in the hallway, the kids were setting up for the play.  Did I tell you about the play?”
  • “Did I tell you what happened at the football game in the student section last week?  It was crazy.”
  • “Do you remember when I had that toddler bed, and I slept with that blue stuffed animal?  Do we still have it?  I think I’ll give it to my kids one day. “
  • .“Mom, you know how you always say that family is everything and that the younger siblings look up to me?  I think it’s the truth – I heard them telling someone that they were going to play laccosse so they could practice with me.   I wonder if they’ll always be that way… it’s kind of a lot of pressure to know they’re watching me, but in a good way, because I can help them by being a good example, you know?”
  • “Yesterday, when I went running with a friend, he kept saying that his stomach was hurting from running, so we slowed down.  It’s so hard and pretty boring to run slow, but it’s more important to be supportive than fast.  It made me think about how many times you have had to slow down when we go on bike rides just so the last person isn’t riding alone.”
  • “When did you first hold someone’s hand?”
  • “You’ll never believe who ____ likes this year.  It’s ______ !   He told me in math class today.  Crazy, isn’t it?  Don’t say anything because no one knows yet, but I think he might ask her to go out.”

These are the stories that come out when we put everything else aside.

These are things that happen when we forget about whatever else we have to do or want to do.

These are the conversations that happen when we just listen… when we sit down with them with only one goal: to let them know we are there to talk & listen to them.  

My late grandmother used to tell me, “Enjoy our kids Enjoy every minute that you can.  I loved raising my kids and if you don’t enjoy it, you’ll be missing out on so much.”

While she never suggested having a child sleep in my bed (I’ve always taught them to stay in their own beds), she always suggested talking to them every chance that I get.

She said that she loved raising her kids and that she knew I would be the same way.

My parents and my husband’s parents remind us that one day, they won’t want to spend so much time with us.  One day they will be older.

One day they will be grown and they will have many other things to take up their time, other people to listen to their stories…

It fills me with joy to know that one day they will spread their wings and fly, but at the same time, breaks my heart to think of the day when they need us less and less.   One day…

TODAY is not that day.  

lay with me

TODAY… I will lie down with our children when they ask.  I will sing Toora Loora Loora and Que Sera Sera (their favorite songs).  I will pray with them.  I will listen to them.  I will give them my full attention.

And do you know what?

If this new bedtime routine adds ten minutes onto the end of our night, when our patience is low, and our exhaustion is high, that is ten more minutes that I was lucky enough to have spent with our children…. listening, encouraging, telling them the unspoken words that say:



As I look in at my child sleeping, I think about how time goes by so quickly and how I am so glad to have these little moments now.  I can remember looking at my tiny babies sleeping in their crib years ago… and now, when I look at then sleeping, they are so much older.  Time goes so fast.

In ten years, those unspoken words will come back to me when he is grown, getting ready to head off to start his own life, and I ask him to stop what he is doing and sit with ME for a moment… and he does.

We only have a few years to really be present in their lives.   Let’s spend these years wisely.
ps- I want to invite you to sign up for my FREE e-mail series called One on One time.   It is completely free & I will send you this calendar to get you started. 🙂 

A close up of a calendar on a white background.

If you are having trouble keeping your CHILD IN BED or helping them to SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT, these posts will be helpful: 


The scary truth about what's hurting our kids
10 Damaging Parenting Habits
when your child wants you to lie down in their bed at night
make each child feel important
chores for screentime cards


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Becky this post brought tears to me eyes. I have 3 grown-up children and when they were little I spent as much time as I could, doing things with them and developing bonds whenever I could. I wanted to be able to say when they were grown, I did as much as I could possibly do. We were not rich, in fact we struggled. Today I have 3 adult children and I am so proud of them. They are all morally upright citizens who hold high standards and have successful careers. They are also the best friends that their dad and I have. Now we have 2 little grandchildren and 1 on the way and I plan to be a Nan who has time and attention for her grandkids so that they will be our best friends too. May God bless your little family abundantly.

    1. Oh my goodness- I love this! This is so great to hear. (& congratulations to you!!) Thanks for sharing!

      1. THank you. I need this reminder as my son says the same thing every night to me. Teared up reading the end of your article. I don’t ever want that day to come when they don’t need us as much why am I so quick to say “no” when they need us now?

        1. Thank you for this!! I need to be more mindful of these requests for more meaningful time together. My kids are growing like weeds and soon they many not beg for me to cuddle with them. Thank you for sharing.

        2. It eventually ends bc at 12 and 13, you don’t co-sleep. Do it while you can!!!

          1. Truer words were never spoken. Don’t try to push them
            Past those years. They will be over soon enough

      2. Oh my goodness. We have three kids, all grown. All in 5yrs.
        Taking turns, on rotation each Friday evening belonged to one.
        My kids mean more to ,e than life.

        Our eldest now 55 yrs was in a horrific auto accident in 2002. She is paralyzed and in a wheelchair.
        Our son (middle) is 53yrs. He was borned Autistic. By the grace of God he outgrew it. He became a handsome young man. He was x at age 52 with Colon cancer. He fought it for 13 and half mos We lost him Oct. 5th, 2016 at 3:45 a.m. 6mos ago. A Mother’s heart never heals. I did my best for him that I knew to do. And, I still have guilt feeling about some things.

        Our baby now almost 50yrs. 7yrs ago had breast cancer. She surviced!

        GOD knew what he was doing. I feel myself being molded into a gentlet, more humble creature.

        No one dreams of burying their child. But, someday we will all be together in Heaven.

        1. Wow- I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine. I completely agree- all together in Heaven, one day.

    2. Hi-Just wanted to share with you that I got to “lie with mine both 17 and 20 years ago, and we have this amazing relationship now each and everyday! Keep on keeping on, the rewards can’t even begin to be measured! 😉

        1. This is 1 of the most beautiful, and insightful articles that I have read. I am 37 years old now with a son that is 12. I remember my parents seemed to always have time for me. Whether it was my dad just getting home from work and me hitting him at the door with, “Daddy Daddy come play with me”, or me wanting my mom to stop cleaning, somehow they would always include me. I remember my mom would say to me, while she was cleaning, that I could help her and we would get done faster so that then we can play. also, she would suggest things I could play sitting at the kitchen table where momma was cleaning, so that then we could still talk. Often, I would skip playing at the table in order to help Mom, so that we could get done cleaning; and, then my mom and I can play. looking back I really didn’t care what my mom and I played or did just as long as we spent time together. the same thing goes for my dad when he would get home from work, although tired 2 death, he would take that time just to play with me. BOY DID I EVER FEEL LIKE ROYALTY, for all the time they spent with me.
          I remember another time my friends and I were playing outside. Then as we were playing, something happened that changed my eyes forever. my dad drove up in his old brown rusty car and falling apart. The heater did not even work; and it was the ugliest car I had ever seen! my dad drove up in the ugly old car and I got embarrassed for just a bit or perhaps I was actually ashamed of that ugly. I remember thinking what would my friends think now? Boy ole boy, then it was like lightening struck my heart. ..I became ashamed of me, for not seeing my daddy 1st, rather than that ole beat up car.How dare I think about what my friends might think over what I knew was true about my dad. It had nothing to do with the car for my dad was always a shiny jewel. I felt I had betrayed my dad in thinking about what my friends may think. No one knew what all I was thinking, for I kept it to myself. I cried that night, as only a 12 yr old, suddenly infused with a moment of clarity and wisdom.
          I KNEW MY DAD DROVE THAT BEAT UP CAR, SO THAT MY MOM AND I COULD HAVE THE BEST. Because of his sacrifice my mom got to be a stay at home mom and I had plenty of all that I needed and wanted. HIS SACRIFICE NEVER WENT UNNOTICED and I knew he done it out of LOVE.
          Now, at 37, my parents are still my best friends and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do 4 them. Later as a teen, I learned God’s love so easy it seemed, for I had 1st seen HIS LOVE GIVEN TO ME BY MY PARENTS, THE 1ST EXAMPLE OF A GODLY LOVE, AND OF THE SACRIFICES MADE JUST FOR ME. HIS LOVE WASN’T HARD TO FATHOM; BUT JUST ANOTHER PART OF MY LIFE.
          My mom’s dream has always been to live on a farm and have our horses out back. Well 3 yrs ago we done it; we bought a farm. I say we cuz it took my parents and I to take on the financial load and not to mention the physical load. I had came to them with this “dream cone true” plan, outlined to the smallest detail. For before this, I had decided to give up where I lived, to sacrifice the best way I knew how.
          This story may sound like me rambling on about myself; but no way is it about me. This story is about two heros, my mom & dad. I thank God for giving me these two as a testimony he sent to me.

          1. Jessica, Your story is amazing and truly touching, brought tears to my eyes!! Thank you so much for sharing that ❤️

      1. What a beautiful perspective you have! I, too, have stopped to smell the roses with my children. After bath time, I read to them, prayed with them and sang to them. I breathed them in and held them in my heart as I got up to go to bed myself, sometimes with my eyes crossing. I have adult children now and was so blessed to have one more. He’s 10 and loves cuddle, too. We went from reading board books to Harry Potter and everything in between. Read “I’ll Love You Forever” and it really tells my story. 🙂 I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world.

        1. Oh so sweet!! (ps- our kids love that book, “I’ll Love You Forever”)

      1. My youngest granddaughter, now 5 years old, spends every other Friday night with me & I always lay with her at bedtime, we talk & giggle & I sing her the songs I always sang to my 3 kids. We say our prayers & God Blesses. I hope & pray she never forgets how important she is to me.

        1. I love that! My grandma was my closest friend! I talked to her many times a day until she passed three years ago. It all started at a young age, too… You are doing amazing things for her!

        2. I am a Gigi(Grandma) of 5 now. I can’t get enough of them! They love jumping in our bed and being goofy. They want me to “scratch my back”? So, I scratch away. These times are priceless. God Bless all the children, young and old.

          1. My mom is Gi. 🙂
            Oh goodness- my kids want their back scratched, too. My mother-in-law is the queen of scratching backs, so when she visits, she takes that job for me. lol!

    3. Thanks for posting this, Becky. I was in tears after reading your post. I have a 4 year-old, and I do get irritated when she tells me she wants one more story, then another one, and then another one. But one day ti will end, and hopefully if I do read her “one more story” today, later she will sit with me when I ask her.

      1. I thought this was going to be a cautionary tale of why we shouldn’t lay down with our children, ya know one of those judgy articles written from a limited perspective. I was refreshed to see it wasn’t that at all. My parenting style has always included laying down with my kids or letting them sleep with us (safely)! In, 2014, my six year old son passed in his sleep, alone in his safe room, of SUDC (sudden unexplained death in childhood). Since then there are many nights a week that his siblings will stay with us in our room. Them being close to me, and us being close to them bring some comfort in a very deep cavern of loss after Trevor passed. There are precious moments that I will cherish always, and I will never regret that was how it was before Trevor passed to. My point is, you just never know, ever. I am blessed that I have absolutely no regrets on how I focused on my kids, including Trevor for those years. Trevor never had a sad day. We miss him dearly.
        Thank you for sharing this important prespective.

        1. Thank you, Kathy. I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet Trevor… my heart goes out to you. I am so glad that you left a comment today to remind us to take advantage of the hugs, snuggles & nighttime talks while we can because you never know & you can’t get those times back. Thank you.
          Thinking of you.

    4. I too laid down with my kids, and woke up with them in the middle of the night, and your right it was such a moving experience, I never felt closer to my children than at that time, it was wonderful.

    5. Gosh! I could have almost written that! I’m so glad for the wisdom of other mums who shared with me like you are doing! 4 young adult kids, and lying down next to them at night was SO important. Much better for them to talk things out and sort them in their minds before going to sleep to stew. Thanks for such a beautiful post!

    6. My son’s turning 6 today I lay down with him every night and I often fall asleep with him, these moments are precious to me. He’s on the autism spectrum and so energetic during the day running around and jumping from one activity to the next. When it’s time to sleep he can finally relax and we sing funny songs and he holds me tight and tells me he loves me and I close my eyes and even after an exhausting day I feel blessed to have this wonderful child in my life!

    7. I agree. We only have 18 years with them before things change and they begin to find their own way. In the grand scheme of things, that is a very short time. I always think of that. While mine are with me, I try to focus on them. I will have plenty of time to do my own thing, whatever that is.

    8. 2hours ago I came down the stairs after having laid down with my 10year old son and 4year old daughter and said to my husband, why is it they want to tell you everything about their day when its time for bed? I questioned them all evening about their day at summer camp and got I forget response until I lay down with them and got told everything in fine detail. I have literally just came across this article and it really hit me. I normally lay with my 4yr old but when my 10yr old asks I normally tell him i will when im finished with your sister but then never do. I will be making a consious effort every night to make enough time to lay down with distractions to hear all their fabulous stories about their day

      1. Please lie down with that 10 year old boy every time he asks & many times when he does not ask. He probably needs it much more than your younger daughter and the time to share like this with him will be ending so soon. Within just a couple years, he most likely will not want you to lie down for many years to come. Listening to him now will forge a strong bond to help carry him through the soon to be tumultuous teen years. It will help him to come and talk to you later (standing up in the kitchen OR when he’s alone in the car with you) about things he might otherwise be reluctant to share. I wish I could go back and do it now.

  2. Thank you for this. Having ten out of eleven kids at home, I often find myself rushing around in survival mode, trying to get things done. I really needed to read this.

  3. Becky, this post really hit home for me. My 5 year old asks me to lay with him every night, and while I always do, I say the same things you do. There are always lunches to pack, dishes to wash, clothes to iron for work the next day…and more often than I’d like, I find myself saying those things to him 🙁 bargaining…5 more minutes mommy? No, how about 2 more minutes? This was a great reminder that it won’t always be like this, there will be a time when I won’t even be putting him to bed at all.

    Great post!

    1. yep- that’s exactly how our night goes. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

    2. Mine are off to college. I want a do over. I should have laid there until they feel asleep. Not left them for something more important. Because nothing else was looking back more important.

      1. Audrey your comment brought tears to my eyes, I feel the same way. My oldest is in high school and I look back now wondering if I could’ve loved him better and spent more time with him and less time caring about things that don’t matter. I loved this post and I’m going to try so hard to be present in each moment and put this stupid phone down and not worry about the dishes or laundry while there are kiddos who will still let me spend time with them.

  4. I like you lay with all three of my kids talking to them or singing songs. Heck I will even from time to time rock my youngest if they want. These are the moments I can look in their young eyes and see the wonders and love they have. And like u said the other things can always wait.

  5. Well said. I have a 7 year old boy, 4 year old boy, and 2 year old girl. The last two are 16 months apart and a handful together! I have so much mom guilt at times because the last 4 years have felt like it was in survival mode! We have a tight budget, and it breaks my heart we can do certain things as a family, like trips, to build memories with the kids. I feel like my oldest misses out because the little two need so much attention. I feel like bedtime is rushed so that we can relax for a few minutes without demanding kids needing something. But, I look at them and think about how one day it’ll all be over, and it hurts my heart! Anytime I hear of a child passing away, my heart breaks. I can’t imagine losing one of mine. Thanks for your simple, yet meaningful words!

  6. You are so right! I have 5 children, and the oldest is 739 miles away at college right now! There are days that I miss her so much that it physically hurts!

    My youngest just turned 8, and every single night he expects me to lie down with him….. I do, and I stay until he falls asleep.

    I have always rocked to sleep or laid down beside each of my children. When they are grown, I don’t want any regrets. I don’t want to look back and wish that I had held them more, or rocked them more, or laid beside them more…..I can remember when my first three were a baby, a 21 month old, and a just turned 4 year old. My husband worked late hours, so I put those three precious children to bed each night all by myself. I would get in the twin bed with the 21 month old and hold the baby (nursing him or just bouncing him). The 4yo would be in the other twin bed an arm’s length away. I would read stories and then sing songs in the dark until they all fell asleep. Then I would ease out of the room and place the baby in his crib.

    Those three children are now almost 15, 16, and 18, and they are all taller than me! 🙂 But I don’t regret all of those nights for one minute. However, I will admit, that there are times when I am tired (who isn’t at bedtime?), and it’s past 10:00 PM, and the 8 and 10 yo are having a hard time settling down, and all I want to do is go downstairs and go to bed…..but I think of my almost grown children, and remember how fast the time passes. I make myself slow down and lie down with the younger two.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Such a great story & great reminder. Thanks for sharing (right back at you) 🙂

  7. I am expecting out first right now. This post is a great reminder for me now and I am sure that I will need to be reminded of this many times in the future.

  8. Having 6 children is the best blessing I was ever given and I actively try to remember what you are speaking about daily. We have to remind ourselves often to enjoy every minute….thanks for reminding me again!

  9. I think that all kids want us to lay with them at bedtime. If I could just get mine to bed earlier then it might work. Because once I do lay with him like you said, he wants to talk, talk, talk. Which I love but it just gets later & later. I will make more of an effort in this area. Thanks.

  10. This blog post is so beautiful. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mum! When I am a mum one day, I hope I’ll be like you. You have truly inspired me.

  11. I work a similar thing with our cats (yes cats not kids 😉 but the premise is the same, I stop and give THEM time, as it is these moments I treasure later on. It drives the other half nuts but I stop what I am doing and hand out a few treats, give a cuddle and talk to them. It is the precious gift of time, the gift they repay a thousand fold be they child or animal – the gift they give you of trust and love.

    1. Everyone/thing alive, human or animal, needs love, comfort, attention and a sense of security to thrive and grow. I have a 39 yr. old daughter, (ocupation therapist working with autistic/special needs children) married and has an almist 3 yr. old son; and an almost 37 year old son (a chef/cook) and 4 cats, 8+ years old.
      Every bedtime I would read their favorite books, sing favorite songs or tell a story I made up for each if them. Sometimes I would fall asleep first (I returned to work when my daughter was 5 1/2 and just started first grade and my son was 2 1/2, financial reasons), and either wake-up hours latter or when the child waiting to be read too came looking for me. No matter how tired I was I would never miss the bedtime ritual, it was just as important for me as for them, the memories…priceless. As they got older they would aak me to come into their rooms to get advice, discuss a problem or school issue, sometimes just to talk or vent about something or someone. While I sat on their beds listening, I would think about the bedtime ritual when they were young and realized that the ritual had laid the ground work for the talks we were having, and feel blessed that as teenagers or 20 something adults they wanted or needed me talk too. My daughter, and when her husband could, has read to their son since he was a baby, just like I did with her and her brother, it established the bedtime ritual early. They don’t realize yet, but they are laying the ground work for healthy communicatiins when he is older and needs to talk, or vent, etc.

      As for my cats, 3 of the 4 sleep on my bed and one sleeps on my sons bed, they have done this since the day we brought them home. They have given us hours of entertainment, attention, love and affection because we raised them with those attributes which they freely give back to us. So whether it’s a baby/child or an animal, what you do or how you do it when they are young, you are laying the ground work for a great respectful relationship when they are older. I am blessed, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, that I raised two beautiful, wonderful children to be the adults they are and yes 4 crazy affectionate fur balls. I know I did things right, with misteps and errors on my part and agonizing and feeling guilt sometimes over what I was doing or did, for them to be the adults I see today. I know it was worthwhile and yes for the majority of the time…I did it right. So spending time, making time, giving the time and giving them “you” to your children is the most precious gift they will ever receive. So try not to miss a chance to be with them, even if you have a limited amount of time, just make sure it’s quality time, you can always make-up for lost time when you have it

  12. It’s so sad how quickly time passes and we no longer have the chance to lay with our kids and enjoy those few quiet moments at the end of the day when their secrets spill out.

    I have two teenagers who I would lay with and sing to for hours when they were little. We had such wonderful memories of that time and it brought us so close. My teen son still is “mommy’s boy” and spills his secrets to me late at night. I wouldn’t change those moments for the world.

    I do have a harder time now that I’m working to spend the same time with my younger too and I feel that loss. I’m always tired at the end of the day or trying to get those last few chores done before everyone goes to bed for the night. I’ve started trying to read to the younger too since long ago they asked me not to sing to them anymore (who knew kids could be such music critics at 4?) This opens soft conversations and quiet moments of just them and me.

    As my oldest is getting ready to graduate, I have to remember that this is what it’s all about, even during the hard times. She’ll be gone soon and I’ll be left with the memories of the short nights laying together, talking, reading, and singing. Thanks for the reminder. I think I’ll take an extra few moments tonight with each of them and savor the moments.

  13. Thanks so much for this! It’s coming at the right time for me as I’m beginning the transition to quitting my job in corporate America to stay at home with my kids so I CAN have that extra time I’ve been yearning for to spend with my children. Funny enough, when making the decision to become a one income family several months ago, I downloaded and read your eBook on my Kindle. I’m going to be watching my niece and nephew and started a blog in the hopes of one day generating a small bit of income from that as well, so it’s really neat for me to have you on my Comment-a-thon list and get to tell you how you personally touched my family’s life. I’d love to connect at some point. Feel free to email me (I believe you’ll get it through the comment, but it won’t be published publicly).

  14. I think ALL mom struggle with this. As a new stay at home mom I feel I have to keep the house in tip-top shape; something I am working on! I’ve started doing less while keeping the house ‘clean’ and spending more time with my boys. They will only be home with be for another year before starting preschool. I have to cherish this time instead of say, mommy is busy, not right now, etc. Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. Thanks for the reminder to stop and do those little things with them. My kids are getting older and it is harder but every now and then it is so good to just stop and be in the moment with them.