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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.

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  1. My kids also like for me to spend time with them. My 2 year old especially likes to “uddle” with mommy. I agree that night times can be hard but one solution I have found is to spend the time with them at nap time. My 3 boys (5, 4, and 2) share a room and I will often sit on the floor at nap time and listen to them talk to each other. Oh the stories I hear…

  2. Wow, such a great reminder! It is so important to take those special moments completely in!

  3. Oh, Becky, I so hear what you are saying! My son – who is almost 15 – used to say the same thing and I would always stop what I was doing to lay with him. Nighttime seemed like the perfect time for all of those little stories and secrets to come out. Even now that he’s a teen, he’ll call me in for a chat. I love these moments. People tell me that they’ll end, but part of me thinks they won’t…and I pray that they won’t.

  4. Hi Becky, it’s so true, we need to take time to spend with our children. And when they are grown, they will take time to spend with us. My own children are grown and living their adult lives. I get to see my daughter on a regular basis as she visits with me weekly (and does her laundry). My son is in the Air Force, so distance keeps us from spending as much time together as I’d like, but we have a good relationship. Thanks for sharing!

  5. YES! Thank you for reminding us the importance of stopping for a moment for our children. To be honest, I’ve learned so much after becoming a SAHM. And I’m so upset at myself for all those years lost with my 14 & 10 year olds. I look back and wonder where time went and try to remember those tuck in times when they were younger. I can’t. And that makes me made. I’m cherishing every moment now, with my children. I love this post and can’t agree more with you. BTW: Love your blog!

  6. Wow! Just wow! I absolutely love the way you think and I agree. Some of my favorite moments as a child was going to bed, having mom or dad lay next to me until I fell asleep. I loved that and cherish those moments. I am trying to give the same to my son. He’s only 2 but I love being able to lay with him at bedtime, especially if it’s been a rough day. Just be able to relax, sniff his neck (do all mothers do that?) and talk about the day. I usually tell him about the day and things I really liked. I thank him for different things or tell him things he did that I’m proud of and always finish off with telling him that I love him. I think it’s tremendously important that we take a step back from our hectic lives at times and just be there for our children.

  7. I still rock my 3 yr old most nights and I pray with them every night! The questions they ask are so cute and revealing 🙂 wouldn’t miss it !!

  8. Around our house it’s more like, “Will you play a game with me?” or “Can you read a book to me?” In the moments where I have something I can’t skip or push off, I schedule their request on our family calendar. I feel that it shows the importance of keeping previous commitments while showing how important our children are to us.

  9. Thanks for your encouragement. I have 4 little ones, 5 years old and under. I so often tell them to “wait” or just flat out “no, I’m busy.” I’ve started taking just one of them with me when I go run errands on the weekends – oh the conversations that take place! That one-on-one time is so important. I was challenged just yesterday to SLOW DOWN and enjoy my kids. Thanks for your message…I was really needing it.

    1. Your little ones are so close in age like ours (7, 5, 3, 1) 🙂
      I”m glad it came at the right time.

      1. I have to say that as a single Father of two beautiful girls, age 4 and 6 the heading caught my eye. I was curious to see how similar a Mother’s experience was to the question I can see all of our kids ask, “will you lay with me”? Seems to me that the experience is all universal.

        My oldest is notorious for asking this question every single night. Every single night I try and oblige this request. It’s one of the best parts of the day for me. We snuggle up, we laugh, we chat. It’s a real bonding experience for me and I am sure for her as well. I try not to spoil her, but for me it’s hard because I enjoy it so much and I know that this is not going to last forever 🙁 The only time I really put the kabbash down is if the kids have gotten into bed later than is normal and they have school the next day. Most nights I end up falling asleep with her in my arms for an hour. It really just melts my heart.

        My youngest is almost the opposite of my older baby. Most nights she wants me out so she can go to sleep haha. Maybe one day she’ll say to me, “just two more minutes please?”, just like her older sister so I can enjoy it with her as much as I do with her sister.

        1. Keep trying with the little one! Our son was this way (our 4 year old) until just a few months ago & now he wants me to “sleep by me” which just means lie down and close my eyes for a second while HE sings ME a song… I’ll take it! haha! 🙂 I love that you commented on this- thank you!

  10. Great reminder Becky! I have one who still asks me to lay down at night and snuggle.With older kids it is fewer and far between, it is so important to create the memories when we can. I also learned, long ago, when they came to me, stopping for the little bit of time, never really took away from the things I needed to accomplish. The Lord orders our days and He can help us to complete those tasks when we take that time to minister to that misssion field right in our own home.

  11. thank you for the reminder. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the business of life and our schedules that we overlook precious times when our children really need us(especially if they don’t ask those favours all the time). I guess its important to be sensitive.

  12. Love love love this post! Thank you so much! I am mommy to a 9 month old little guy who is full of smiles and just loves to cuddle. We co-sleep and for naps he does best when we are holding him in the rocker. I have so many people tell me I need to sleep train, but I have some of the same thoughts in your post (and of all the comments I have read). They are only little once. Soon he will be grown and I will never wish I had cuddled less. Thank you for the encouragement to follow my heart with raising him.

  13. It is so important to remember to take the time for the little moments in life. Things pass by us before we realize how much they mean to us.

  14. Lovely post. The quiet times are the times we really talk to those we love. Your kids have a very sweet mom!