Amanda Peet Dishes on Frankie's Bedtime Routine

11/16/2009 at 04:00 PM ET

Most parents will make it a priority to establish a good routine at bedtime, but if it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, Amanda Peet and David Benioff might take the cake!

During a Thursday appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, the 37-year-old actress said that her 2 ½-year-old daughter Frances ‘Frankie’ Pen “is a very good sleeper” who “doesn’t wake up at all in the night.”

The couple are so pleased with the shuteye they log, however, they go to great lengths to repeat the process. “My sister and her husband make fun of us all the time because we’re sort of like baseball players,” Amanda explains. “We have to … keep her surroundings exactly the same.”

The couple use blackout shades in Frankie’s room, and then add layers of “various articles of dark clothing, like David’s sock and scarf to make it really, really dark,” Amanda explains. “My girlfriend came over the other day and said, ‘Her room is so lovely, but you kind of seem like serial killers.'”

When they are away from home, Amanda says that the scene is recreated — courtesy of duct tape and navy sheets! She adds,

“We go into a hotel room and unpack the duct tape and the navy sheets and proceed to attach them to the windows. I’m sure when the staff that works at these hotels come and see our room they think we’re nuts.”

Frankie is the first child for the couple, who married in 2006.

Source: Late Show with David Letterman

— Missy

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 23 comments

Laura on

That sounds like something similar that my aunt and uncle did for my cousins when they were little. (they are now 12 and 13) They wake up at 7 AM when they are on vacation because it is too light out and the 13 year old can’t sleep with ANY light in the room. I think it is a bit extreme, children should learn to sleep in a bit of light and even with a bit of noise. It seems like an awful lot of work to keep the room dark, just teach the child to continue sleeping even if the sun is up. You can have regular curtains so it isn’t extremely bright in the room, but it doesn’t need to be pitched black. I suppose my opinion comes from seeing how my cousins are unable to sleep well in any other place but their own rooms whereas I can usually sleep just about anywhere and get a good nights rest.

Sonya on

I agree with Laura. My parents went overboard with the absolute quiet and dark with my brother (their firstborn) and to this day he has trouble sleeping in with noise or in the day. While by the time I came along my siblings were always noisy and I learned to sleep through anything as a baby and still do.

JMO on

Well whatever works! 🙂

Claire on

I used blackout fabric and duct tape too. The littlest hint of light and my kid wakes right up. Summer is so tough!

Keltie on

I find the darker shades help cue my DS that it is time to go to sleep (even at the mid-day nap), but he doesn’t need it to stay asleep.

Colleen on

Sonya-you’re so right! I am the firstborn, and I cannot sleep through anything. When I nap, the house has to be totally quiet. I was born in Arizona (not that it makes a difference), so I can sleep with light in the room.

Kat on

my mil and my pediatricians have always recommended against such things… (as has every book I’ve ever read)… kids need to learn to sleep. Yes, darkness helps at night, but they need to be used to some light and noise.

Kat on

sorry… mil= mother in law

Rachel-Jane on

I’m the firstborn but I’m afraid of total darkness! I need a little light in the room to sleep. Plus my room has always been near a main road so I’m used to sleeping through traffic noise. On the contrary my younger sister hates any light when she’s sleeping, which was always fun when we shared a room…

Allie-Rose on

While I find the duct tape and navy sheets part to be a bit extreme, that Amanda and David have Frankie sleep in a completely dark room doesn’t bother or shock me. But maybe that’s because I learnt to sleep in a pitch-black room too and that’s how I like sleeping. But that doesn’t mean I can’t sleep if there’s a bit of light on or that I’ll wake up at sunrise.
On the other hand, when I was babysitting, that parents had taught their kids to sleep with a nightlight – the kids ended up growing afraid of the dark and when they were 7 or 8, they just couldn’t sleep without a light on.

Mib on

I have to say that light makes me wake up too, and that I have trouble sleeping when it’s not dark in a room, and I grew up with midnight sun in the summer! Needless to say, I don’t sleep well in summer, on the other hand,I’ve got terrible trouble waking up in winter when it’s dark. I was in my twenties first time I slept in a room with a proper black out curtain and I have never sleept so good in the summer as that night! So I doubt my parents did anything to prevent me from learning how to sleep anywhere. Oddly enough, I have o problem napping in bright places, as long as they are noicy!

momof4 on

That is hilarious! Whatever works, right?

My first born was a very difficult sleeper and any noise whatsoever would wake him up. Those of you who say kids have to learn how to sleep have never had a challenging sleeper, I guess! We resorted to black-out shades and white-noise in the form of an air cleaner and that helped drown out outside noises (we were in an urban area at the time). Babies and toddlers missing out on naps and nighttime sleep is devastating for them and for the parents so I say do whatever works for you 🙂

Nicola on

My 5 year old actually prefers to go to sleep with music on. Something that he picked up in preschool where they played soft music at naptimes. He sleeps with a low LED nightlight and hates total darkness. We taught him to sleep when its time to sleep. Regardless of noise or light. This makes life much easier for parents who travel frequently. He knows that we don’t get up before 7am on a weekend or vacation day, regardless of the sunrise or time change when we’re traveling. We always have a clock handy so that he knows if “its time” to get up or if its still too early. Stopped that endless 6am Sunday morning routine — “Mooooooom? Is it time to get up yet?”. When we attended a late evening wedding recently, that clock hit 9pm and the boy zonked on some chairs, music, laughter, talking, and all the rest buzzing around him. Forcing sleep through total darkness (or any other means) is a recipe for disaster. In my opinion.

maggie on

Guys i have a question. I live in Europe but travel to the USA alot. Here at night we close all curtains and blinds/shades. Why is this unusual for some people in America? lol strange question i knoww.

michelle on

I was a good sleeper as a kid. Didn’t matter where or if there was noise or light, but then sometime in my 30s, I changed. Now I cannot sleep unless the room is pitch black, silent and cold.

Everyone is different and probably goes through different stages. I think parents should do whatever they need to do at each stage.

paula on

maggie, I lived in Italy for a few years. The homes there have shutters which, would create total darkness when closed. Here, most people have curtains or blinds, which allow a lot of light to enter. I had a hard time waking up there when the blinds were closed. When we moved back, it took me a long time to get used to the light in the room in the morning.

Christine on

I love it!!! My little one’s room is like that too! Blinds down, covered by black poster-board cut to fit the window, and then covered by black curtains. Nothing gets through!

Ivonne on

Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of the dark but I don’t even dream of putting my kids in a pitch black room. Most nights, I fall asleep with the TV on, but I will use a nightlight or any other form of light and sometimes I’ll sleep with the regular light on. I’d die of fright in pitch blackness. My kids can sleep in the dark, but because of me they can also sleep in light. They wake up early regardless because they go to daycare/school so early that it’s ingrained.

Merlin on

Is good to teach kid to sleep with noise or light, but unfortunately some parents don’t do that.

j on

He have an old house with creaky stairs and a lot of echo. Curtains are at a minimum ’cause our eldest has asthma. My kids can fall asleep almost anywhere so long as they are tired.

Hazel on

I have been living in the US for 9 years, originally born in England. I totally agree with Maggie above. Americans don’t do the whole curtain and shade thing. Where did the old tradition go of closing down your house at night. It used to be so romantic and homely. It doesn’t really matter if its dark or light in a house. Its the routine and the family values that you share with your kids. If you are always getting ready for the night, and you put them to bed at the same time every night after a nightime routine, they go to sleep, and don’t wake up till the morning. The actual problem is that one or both parents are out at night, while the kids are getting ready to go to sleep. It’s unsettling for them.

Jennifer on

I’m also a firstborn who has trouble sleeping in noise and light! How weird is that, I never figured it out before! Personally my daughter has travelled and slept all over the world and if I had tried to pull a routine like that every time we left the house we never would have gotten anywhere!

Gail on

I totally agree with the blackout thing. Our firstborn would wake up every morning at 6 am until we got blackout curtains and then she would sleep until 7:30 or so. They don’t totally blackout because some light still leaks around the side (I’m not into duct tape!) but it dims the room enough for a nap and to keep the morning sun out. We would take the curtains on trips with us because it is hard enough to get a young one to sleep in a strange place without it being a totally different environment. Now both my kids sleep with a night-light anyway, but we still use the curtains to help dim the room on sunny summer evenings with a 7:30 bedtime. We have also used a white noise maker for both kids because otherwise our old creaky house and the phone and the doorbell would wake them up all the time. After visiting someone many years ago whose young child slept very poorly in a silent room and who made the entire household tiptoe around when she was asleep (in a room with the door open and not a single door that could close in the public rooms of the house so every sound from the kitchen or TV room echoed up the stairs!) I vowed that I would not put life on hold just because the baby was asleep and decided that white noise was the way to go. It has worked like a charm.