Last week, a fellow blogger shared my post about when your 2 year old is still waking at night. In the post I talked about our early bedtime and it led someone to leave the comment “Who puts their kid to bed between 6:00 & 7:00 pm?” … so today I wanted to tell you WHY I put our kids to bed between 6:00 and 7:00pm.
I put our kids to bed at 7:00. I have done this for as long as I can remember.
We have always gotten a lot of negative feedback on this, but let me explain…
We have four kids (see them here). Our older boys are 8 & 6. Our younger kids are 4 & 2. They are young and they play hard. (None of our children are napping anymore – we just do quiet time.) They are worn out by bedtime!
They are worn out by bedtime!
Early bedtimes are good for everyone in our family! They kids are happier because they are well-rested. It is good for our marriage, as well – Did you know that one of the things that kids stress & worry about more than anything else is their parents’ relationship? I read that in a study last year and it really stuck with me. My husband and I have been together since we were 14 & 15 , but we still like to have time to ourselves at night, to unwind and catch up… and it is good for our marriage. So- we don’t usually let them stay up this late unless it is Their Special Night.
Our older kids, 6 and 8, stay up a little later (they have reading time with my husband and I). If that have football or wrestling, they are up even later, but we AIM for an early bedtime! Our six year old has a really hard time waking up for school at 8:00 am when he doesn’t get his full 12-13 hours of sleep, so I do try to get him to bed as early as possible. Most nights, the older kids aren’t getting to sleep until closer to 7:30 or 7:45. I hang their spelling words and important numbers by their bed. They look at it (and learn it) while they are falling asleep.
Sleep is so important. Kids need a LOT of sleep. When they aren’t getting their full 12 hours (it ranges based on their age), it makes a really big difference in everything that they do (development, focus, etc…) This chart is from parents.com
Kidshealth.org says: “Most kids between 5 and 12 get about 9.5 hours a night, but experts agree that most need more. When your body doesn’t have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly. You might have a hard time following directions, or you might have an argument with a friend over something really silly. A school assignment that’s normally easy may feel impossible, or you may feel clumsy playing your favorite sport or instrument.
One more reason to get enough sleep: If you don’t, you may not grow as well. That’s right, researchers believe too little sleep can affect growth and your immune system — which keeps you from getting sick.” All in all- sleep is important! Your kids need it, even if they don’t WANT it.
You are the parent, so you get to determine their bedtime. Just like you are deciding to feed them healthy foods, you also decide to help their bodies by providing it with rest.
I hope that helped you to understand why I put our kids to bed so early. I am not saying that this is right for you. You might work late, so putting your kids to bed early isn’t going to work for you, but it does work for us. As my Grandma used to say “Different strokes for different folks”
Ps- if your kids are CRABBY during the day, or if they are FALLING ASLEEP in the car, you might want to try putting them to bed sooner. If your child still wakes up or if you need ‘sleep tips‘ – try these.
Yes, my husband still sees them… Here is how we make it work:
He wakes up early and spends time with the kids in the morning. He actually gets up about 30 minutes before the kids, so he can be ready for work before they wake up. He likes to wake them up in the mornings and help with their breakfast and getting them ready for school. He fixes their hair (our middle son wants “spiky” hair & he thinks Daddy is the expert!) He uses this as a chance to read with our older boys (they read to him before school). The kids love this time with him before he goes to work and before the kids go to school. He is home around 6:00, so we have dinner together and then he helps me read to them, do our devotional and put the kids to bed. He lays with each & every one of them at night, unless he is at football or wrestling practice with our older kids, when the younger kids go to bed.
I have the kids showered and in their pajamas when he gets home, to give us more time together. This gives him about two hours a day with them- not a ton, but he does not travel (he never has) and he spends all weekend playing with them (really playing!). I don’t worry about lack of bonding time with him… he definitely uses that ‘quality, not quantity’ idea to its fullest!
ONE LAST NOTE: This does not happen every night (although I would love it if they all went to bed at 7:00 every night)! During wrestling season, our older boys are up until 8:00 (practice is late), but the younger ones still go to bed early. (Sometimes the younger ones will fall asleep in the car at 6:00 on our way to practice… and I just take them up to bed and they sleep ALL NIGHT LONG. They never wake up during the transition to bed. I know its crazy, but when I try to wake them, they are NOT happy, so on those nights, I just let it go). Oh- and one last thing…
I guess that it is assumed that people think “My way is the right way”, but that is just NOT THE CASE! It might work for you to keep your kids up until 10:00 or later. Maybe you homeschool or maybe they aren’t in school yet and can sleep in. My very dear friend does this with her daughters because of their work schedule (they are up until 10:00 every night), and it works for them! Do what works for you!
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