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Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Posted by on Apr. 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 39 Replies
2 moms liked this

Confession Time: I am not a fan of "baby-led sleeping".

I understand the logic behind it, I do. And if it works for you and your family, that's GREAT! Seriously! But it just doesn't work for my family. We are a stick-to-it kind of routine family. And we've found that it works for us to be that way.

Ever since our oldest (now 12) was little, we've had strict rules about bedtime. Bedtime is not a negotiation; this is not open for discussion. Bedtime is predetermined by the grown-ups, and it is a very special occassion when a bedtime is allowed to slip. There are few things that I'm strict about, but bedtime? Dude, I am a bedtime ENFORCER.

You might wonder why I'd write about bedtime in a series devoted to mornings, and the simple fact is that the cause and effect here are pretty well-connected. I've found that if I waiver on the bedtime routines? Man, do we suffer for it in the morning. It's not only noticeable, it WILL KILL MY SOUL.

(Note: I am slightly dramatic.)

Bedtime in my house is as follows: the 5 year old begins his bedtime routine at 7:30 p.m. with a bath or shower (since when do five year olds take showers? but mine does), followed by a thirty minute routine involving PJs, nighttime stories, and sundry ablutions. He is to be in bed by 8:15 p.m., with lights out no later than 8:30 p.m.

The 12 year old follows a similar routine - slightly more relaxed - with bath or shower at 8:30 p.m., then PJs, a quick discussion about his day, and lights out by 9:00 p.m. Now, here is where I've been coerced to relax my standards: I'm now allowing the 12 year old to stay up and read until 10:00 p.m. READING ONLY. No electronics, no phone calls, just reading. (And maybe it's because I've been so strict for all of these years, but he JUMPS at that extra hour to read. Anything that makes him eager to read? Dude, I'm all in.)

But the general rule of the house is that all children are in bed by 9:00 p.m. After that? It's time for grownups to not be Mommy and Daddy anymore. (Or to at least go on-call.)

The structure of this routine helps the boys know what's expected of them on a nightly basis, and it also helps them wind down at night and actually fall asleep at a decent hour. The good side is that they get a full night's sleep and are usually bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning, ready to go. The bad news? Is that any variation or deviation to this routine sends them reeling.

(So we rarely deviate.)(Also, our lives are kind of boring, admittedly.)

Are you a nighttime enforcer? Or do your kids decide when to turn in for the evening?

by on Apr. 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Apr. 18, 2013 at 12:15 AM
I follow DSs bedtime lead. He's not even 2 yet. We get ready for bed between 7:45 & 8ish, & try to be upstairs by 8:15/8:20-ish.....then we read for awhile, turn out the lights & I rock him and nurse him to sleep. Hes usually asleep by 9:15ish. It's what works for us.

I'm sure when he's older I'll have a more strict 'bedtime' but now I just try to be home by 7:30 at night if we go out. Sometimes we are out past that time.

I usually watch 20 minutes of TV then go to bed. Adult time? What's that? (DH generally works in our home office until 10/10:30)
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by Tina on Apr. 18, 2013 at 12:44 AM

I tried not to be strict with bedtime routines. I kept a specific time but varied the routine in case we had to be somewhere or if there was an emergency. My daughter morphed into a roll-with-the-punches kid on all fronts so it served us well. It doesn't work that way for everyone but it worked for us.

by Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:14 AM

They have a routine.

by Deanna on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:37 AM
I have a routine although some may think it's strict. Dinner around 5pm. Then clean up, bath by 6pm snack at 6:30, brush teeth, book at 7:15 and quiet time by 7:30pm. In bed lights out by 8pm.
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by Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM
Ds has a bedtime and MUST go to bed.
If he doesn't hes a butt monkey and he's fallen asleep in school before.
That makes you look like an awesome mom.
by on Apr. 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM

 With babies, I follow their cues. With my older kid's, we have a routine. If I don't, they are grumpy in the morning. They do great with a routine.

by Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I am

by Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 10:02 AM

I do not let the kids decide when to go to bed.

by on Apr. 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM

I'm definitely an enforcer of bedtimes.  I like both boys to be in bed by 8 at the latest.  I see the side effects of my 4 yo not getting enough sleep.  Monday we were at older brother's musical & it was 9 before he was in bed.  Tuesday night he was probably in bed about 8, but he clearly was still on a sleep deficit because he was so crabby Wednesday morning!  He tends to be stubborn, but this was over the top for stubborn/crabby behavior.  He was in bed by 6:50, sleeping by 7 last night.  He did wake up about 5:30, which was annoying (largely because big brother spent much of the night being sick so I got little sleep).  But so far his mood is a lot better today.

by Member on Apr. 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM

We try to have them go to bed by  9 or 9:30. And it's all routine leading up to bedtime.

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