Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Published 12:17 PM by with 1 comment

Should Children Have a Bedtime?

Sleep. Before parenthood, I had no idea that sleep would become such a precious commodity. Now that I'm finally getting three to four hours of sleep in a row (Harmony still wakes up once or twice a night to nurse), I'm feeling much more rested!

Since I teach music lessons in the evening during the week, our bedtime routine is a bit different than what might be called "normal". Harmony refuses to go to bed without me present. Chris feeds her dinner, if she'll eat any solid food that day, and begins getting her ready for bed. I arrive home between 8:00 and 8:30, she nurses, we read "Goodnight Moon", finish getting ready for bed, I sing to her, and eventually she falls asleep, usually between 8:45 and 9:15. She wakes up in the morning around 7:30 or 8:00, and always appears rested; plus, she is FINALLY taking decent naps, once in the morning and usually an afternoon nap after I've left to teach, so that has been a huge improvement compared to the no-napping months we went through at the beginning!

As Harmony gets older, we'll adjust our bedtime routine. Once she stops nursing, that will make life easier for everyone. Maybe she'll let dad put her to bed then.

She is always tired when bedtime rolls around, so getting her to go to sleep is not a big deal at all, thankfully. But what about when she gets older? When she's three, what will her bedtime be? What about age five? Eight?

One mother believes that it's better to let the child decide what time they should go to sleep. It's an interesting idea, and would certainly eliminate many bedtime battles, but I'm sure there are downsides, as there are with anything. (Before you write your thoughts on this idea, please read the actual article to see first-hand what she says! Thanks!)

What does YOUR child's bedtime routine look like? And also, what time do they go to bed? Is it a set time by the parent that changes according to age? What do you do when your child doesn't want to go to bed yet?

Please let me know what you think!

Note: I didn't have much free time today, so instead of the usual Wednesday Wanderings post, this previously written post is what's for lunch : )  Hopefully we'll see some folks respond!


Brenna Forrey said...

Honestly, we've always been super loose on bedtime. I can stay up all night if needed since I'm naturally a night owl, but I cannot function before 9am. (And my brain usually isn't "on" until about 10am.) So instead of a firm bedtime, we have a firm morning rule. But even that is somewhat loose - they can wake up before 9am, but they have to play quietly in their rooms until the 9:00 is on the clock.

We also have had to steer clear of any sort of routine for the day, period. My son is very, very specific in how things are done, and if our routine wound up being even just a minute off he would melt down. As more kids were added to the mix, it became even more impossible to be exactly on time for everything, so for the most part we have general times for doing things, but nothing really set in stone.

I do have an alarm that goes off at 9:30 each night so that the kids have a reminder that it's officially time to be quiet and start calming down for the night, and if we have a particularly busy day the next morning then I'll make sure the kids are sleeping by 10:30. If they're reluctant, I remind them that if they don't get enough sleep then we can't do all the things that we want and need to do, and they're pretty okay with sleeping after that.

Other than that, as long as they're quiet so the parents can sleep, they're fine. Yonah did stay up all night once, but the natural consequences taught him that it was a really dumb idea that shouldn't be repeated. And he hasn't done it since.