What Time do Your Kids Go To Bed?

Do your kids have a set bedtime? How about a bedtime routine that sets the stage for sleep? The Telegraph reports that according to Professor Tanya Byron, “we are in the midst of a “sleep deprivation crisis” that is “harming our children and young people with two million suffering sleep disorders in the UK”. Further, parents who don’t enforce an early and regular bedtime are to blame.

What time do your kids go to bed
Ouch.

As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about, now our bedtime habits are being called into question? This study is based on habits in the UK, but I wonder what the numbers would be here. What are parents in the US doing to promote healthy sleep habits? Is it a priority in your home?

I have to admit that while I don’t care for the harsh “blame the parents for the demise of society” tactics that much of this article displays, at the heart of the issue I tend to agree. Sleep is vitally important for so many reasons, not limited to the health of our children.

When my boys were infants, I had two priorities for them: nourishment and sleep. I often joke about having “good sleepers” and that is true. I think they are somewhat genetically predisposed to sleep. But their good habits did not come without sacrifice on my part. We encouraged sleep and tried to help it come as easily as possible by keeping routines in place. Missing naps was almost never an option, keeping them up past their bedtime was reserved for special occasions and vacation, and we always set the stage for sleep by singing the same song and reading a story or two before tucking them in.

Now that Oscar is 4 and he doesn’t sleep during nap time, he still appreciates the mid-day rest and will tell me he is ready to go have quiet time. Calvin will look at me and say “night night” after lunch because he knows what happens next. And if I ever felt tempted to pat myself and my husband on the back for a parenting decision, it would be now.

That said, the time change has extended the afternoons and shortened the mornings, and we have gradually been slipping into later and later bedtimes. Before we knew it, Oscar’s 7pm bedtime suddenly became 8:30 because we went outside a little longer and ate dinner a little later. Right now, we can deal with it because we only have preschool 3 days a week and it starts long after the boys wake up. But I could see sleep being an issue if he had to get up early for school or daycare like so many kids.

Not mentioned in the article is my other top reason for enforcing bedtime: quality time with my husband. Granted, we don’t spend every night gazing into each other’s eyes, but we know there will be a break from the kids each night. We have jobs and sometimes we work or read. But having a couple of evening hours to chat uninterrupted has been essential for the health of our marriage.

I agree with Byron that quality sleep is essential for our youth, but I also know that parents have busy schedules and different needs than my family. We are all doing the best we can as parents and we have different strengths and weaknesses. I share my experience not to judge, but to open up the floor for discussion.

I’d love to know your thoughts on bedtime. Do you have a set routine in your home?

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Title Post: What Time do Your Kids Go To Bed?
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Author: Peter cruch

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