So we’ve always enforced an 8pm bedtime. Firstly because children need to be getting enough sleep at night to function optimally during the day and secondly (and most importantly) I am of the firm belief that life goes on after the kids go down. The husband and I can do what we like, eat what we like, watch what we like on TV, hang out without having to mind our P’s and Q’s – basically it’s the only time we have alone without the kids. Granted I am like a kid myself and hardly ever see the other side of 9pm, but we still need that time to regroup. When they were babies, we needed that time to get ready for the next shift… washing bottles, making bottles, fixing lunches for the next day, tidying up their mess, etc, but as they have gotten older, this time has become more leisurely for us. I love it, I wouldn’t swop it out for anything. I have worked through my guilt issues of only spending X amount of awake hours with my kids as a working mother and I have come to enjoy the downtime when they go to bed. Win-win situation.
So two weeks ago, I decided to bring bedtime even earlier. To 7pm.
I had noticed that although we were in bed at 7h30pm, reading / praying / settling down for the night, the kids were still awake past 8pm. Between asking for 25 sips of water, yelling good night to each other about 27 times, singing loudly, complaining about being too hot, too cold, too itchy, too tired to sleep (yes, we’ve had that complaint) , these kids were not in La-La Land by 8pm. Hannah still naps at school so I wasn’t too concerned about her, but Liam doesn’t (they do have rest hour though) and when I calculated the hours of sleep he was getting in a 24 hour stretch, it just wasn’t enough. They wake up at 5h45 on a week day. They have busy days at school. They need their rest. They need between 10 – 13 hours of sleep per 24 hours! I figure that the earlier I get them into bed and settled, the earlier they actually fall asleep.
So I just moved bed time. I had to have a very long talk with Liam who knows exactly what time bed time SHOULD be – 8pm. Big hand on the 12, small hand on the 8. He wasn’t very impressed that I was trying to get him into bed earlier. So we struck a deal. In bed at 7pm – this means fed, bathed, teeth brushed, prayers said, night time activity completed, lullabies sung – everything done by 7pm. Our deal was that he could read to himself for a further 10 minutes and switch off the lamp himself at 7h10pm. They both agreed that this was a fair deal. Well Hannah doesn’t agree with anything we say, she just whines and finds loopholes and is at the age where everything is a problem – and she still has a million requests after lights out.
Otherwise, it’s been successful and that half an hour has made a big difference. They are usually fast asleep just after 7h30pm. They wake up happier, well they both still DETEST waking up but snap out of it quickly and I attribute this to the extra bit of sleep they’re getting. And even with the earlier bed time, they still get up after 8 on the weekend – thank the stars.
We got them these cute little bookshelf headboard type thingies which they love because it’s easy access to their books and they get to switch the lamp off themselves without getting out of bed and they put their special little things out during the night… you know just in case they neeeeed it during the night. You won’t believe some of the things Hannah neeeeeeds during the night. Wow. This kid.
What time do your kids go to bed? Are they getting the recommended hours of sleep a night?