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8 Reasons I Don’t Put my Kids to Bed at 7pm

I can tell you first off that I’ve read just about every baby and child sleep book on the market. Several times in fact. Everything from “leave your baby to scream itself into a coma” to “lay with your child until their freshman year of college”. Want your kid to sleep in? Put them to bed early, or so the books say. Want your kid to sleep through the night? Put them to bed early, because otherwise they are overtired and won’t sleep well. Start healthy bedtime routines from day 1!

You may have been hearing a lot lately from all the mama’s who put their kids to bed by 7:00 pm, going on and on about how great it is to spend their evenings with their husbands, that children today are terribly sleep deprived, that by suppertime they are tired and deserve a break from mothering, and how your marriage really just needs you to drop those precious little babes of yours off into La-La Land in order to thrive.

And at one period of time in my parenting, yes, I was sure to always put my kids to bed by around 7 o’clock. But at this stage of our family life, with kids ranging in age from 1-8 years, it just doesn’t meet our needs or lifestyle anymore. Take a look at the 8 reasons I don’t put my kids to bed at 7pm and make sure to pin this for later!

Why I don't put my kids to bed at 7pm! kids sleep | parenting | sleep solutions | sleeping solutions | bedtime

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1. It doesn’t make them sleep later.

I know plenty of books say that this is true, but it is highly unlikely. You can check out the sleep charts and see the average sleep requirement for your child’s age — if it is say, 11 hours, and you put your kid to bed at 6:30 in the evening, you can’t be terribly surprised when they wake up at 5:30 in the morning bright eyed and ready to go for the day! My current toddler seems to require only about 9 hours per night (plus 1 1.5-3 hour nap) — so I try not to put her to bed before 8pm, because getting up before 5am is crazy making.

2. We don’t have to get up early

As homeschoolers, there is no place we have to be in the morning. While this is not why we homeschool, it is definitely one of the perks! I know some families have to get up and out of the house early for work, daycare, and school, but our kids are able to sleep until they’re done sleeping.

3. Time with Daddy

My husband often doesn’t get home from work until 5:30-6:00 pm. It just doesn’t make sense to me to cram supper and Daddy time into an hour. After dinner is also my toddler’s best time of the day — she is just so happy and easy going in the evenings, it would be a pity to put her to bed and have him miss out on this happy time with her.

4. Flexible evenings

Between church meetings, kids activities, and piano lessons, we are out of the house several evenings a week. After their Kids Club for example, we don’t get home until after 8:30pm – if they were used to and dependent on a 7pm bedtime, this would be so much harder for them to handle.

5. Relaxed family dinners

On the evenings that we aren’t busy with outside activities, we like to take our time with dinner. There is plenty of time to eat slowly, chat with each other about our days, and clean up together.

6. After dinner family time

At least weekly, we enjoy a family night together (and stay up even later than usual, horrors!) with either a movie or games. In the summertime, we like to go outside after dinner to play at the park or in our yard when the heat of the day is over.

7. Afternoon naps

I do not phase out naps for toddlers in favour of earlier bedtime routines — afternoon naps are very important to this homeschooling mama! I need an afternoon break for my own sanity, as well as time for clean-up and homeschooling related activities, more so than I do in the evening. Sure, I’m tired at the end of the day, but that’s when Daddy arrives home to share the load!

8. It works for us!

This is the bottom line though, isn’t it? Each family has to chose for themselves what works best for their household while meeting the needs of its members. My “older” kids are put to bed at a reasonable hour (in my opinion!), allowed to read by lamplight, AND get as much sleep as their little bodies need — all without missing out on evening activities and time with their father. So when I hear about all the other parents who are putting their kids to bed by 7:00, I’m not jealous. This is what works for us, and we like it!

What time do you start your bedtime routines? Comment below!

Comments

  1. Our boys have bedtimes ( 7:30, 8 and 9) I often wonder if we should change things. We aren’t strict with when they go to bed, especially since we started homeschooling things have really relaxed. After all we don’t have to get up at 6am anymore to catch the bus… Evenings with Daddy are really important!

  2. Our boy is never in bed before 11pm! But, he’s never awake before 10am! I get home from work around 6pm so it is awesome to have the time with him. I do wish he saw more daylight but frankly, we are night owls and it works well for us. We do some of our best homeschool work at 9pm!

  3. Sleep time is always a challenge for us, but I find it goes better if I don’t try to enforce a strict bedtime at all. He’s only 2 and a half, but I basically let him say when he’s ready. I encourage him. It used to be 7, but it’s been getting later. I’ve tried forcing the issue and he just ends up having a meltdown and not going to sleep anyway. He’s usually in bed by 9, and wakes up around 8. Our situation is a little different though because he has Autism, and that just messes with everything. We are switching to a toddler bed tonight… I have a feeling I’m in trouble!

    • Kelly, I have a 17 year old with autism and he has never slept well, so enjoy this time while you can! Zeke does have to be up by 6 every morning to catch his bus, but he still pretty much determines his own bedtime. He goes to bed anywhere from 7:30 to 9, depending on how his day has gone, but he is almost always awake by 4 am–frustrating for us all, but it’s how he is wired. When you have an autistic child, you do whatever you have to.

  4. My kids are in bed by 7….but we got it to that early because no matter what time they go to bed they wake up at 6AM! I would much rather them sleep in, but we tried all different times and it is what puts the kids in the best mood. It’s hard saying no to some events because they can’t stay up that late, but it’s what makes a happy home for us. Daddy wakes up early too and eats breakfast with them 😉

  5. My son has been doing bed at 8-9 for quite a while now… he’s HAPPIER. He’s up at 730 most days but doesn’t get up til 8 as I trained him to leave me along til 8 a.m. 🙂 (Learned that important trick from my sister). 🙂

    Even when he was little, he was allowed to be up if he was awake, but he needed to stay in his room until 8 a.m. as I Needed that time alone. 🙂

    • Sleeping in until 8am sounds downright luxurious to me! My toddler has been “sleeping in” until 6-7am this last week or so and it has made me almost giddy LOL!

  6. Nice post. I was like you too when my kids were little. My 3rd one hardly nap and that was very difficult on me..
    Now we don’t really have a bedtime but my kids are 18, 17, and 11 (the 18 doesn’t even live at home any more!).

    • My children’s naps have been my sanity! My girls were all horrible nappers as babies but great as toddlers through until about 3 years. Homeschooling was especially hard with non napping babies!

  7. YES! Our kids range in age from 4-9 and all four of them are 11-13 hour sleepers!!!! We don’t have naps anymore, but we do have quiet time in the afternoon. Our kids go to bed between 8-9 and 10 on Friday nights and sometimes weeknights if things get busy (with activities outside the home). Because they don’t get up until 8-10am, I have plenty of time in the morning to pray, do my reading, get caffeinated, and even do some light housework before they wake up. Only when we have somewhere to go or I’m making a large, hot breakfast do I wake my children. Sometimes one of them will sleep 14-15 hours. We figure it’s growth spurts causing that and I’m so glad we can allow them the sleep their bodies need to support it.

    • Your quiet mornings sound quite lovely! My oldest slept 13 hour nights as a toddler, and I loved having the chance to shower and get ready before her feet hit the floor. The LONGEST sleeper is my current toddler (at 11 hours MAX) who just recently started sleeping ’till 6:30am when I’m lucky. The others sleep around 9 hours (though I’m not quite sure at what time they nod off as I allow them to read at bedtime.

  8. We are the early to bed folk. My hubby has to get up for work at 5am. He is home by 4pm. I don’t like doing school after he is home. My boys 10 & 12 get in bed at 8, read for 30 minutes, then it’s lights out. I get up with my hubby and get the things done that need to be done with no crazy boy interruptions. They get up on their own about 8.

    • That’s pretty much the time my kids go to bed too — but my oldest reads much longer than 30 minutes most nights. They wake up naturally between 6:30-7:00.

      I used to get up at 5:00am for work, so when people complain that their kids are up at 6:00am it makes me laugh! I’m so glad that I’m rarely vertical at that hour now though 🙂

  9. During the school week, I try to get them to bed no later than 9, usually shooting for 8:30ish. My oldest (now 22) was a night owl and late sleeper. My daughter (now 17) has always, even as an infant and toddler, gone to bed early/when she was tired and gotten up early. I am sure I have never told her to go to bed, she just has her entire life! My two younger boys (11 and 5) have the 8:30-9 time. They have to get up by 7 to go to school, and the 5 year old naps at school, so they are getting plenty of sleep. I never really decided what time is a good time, just kind of felt what was right for each one. If on a particular night I need them to go early, I just tell them ahead of time and at this stage, that works fine! 🙂 This is a great post because I love how you said that it has to work for each individual family! I’m definitely too old to “keep up with the Joneses!”

  10. It is great to read this post. We stopped bedtimes when we started homeschooling for many of the same reasons as you. We just all went to bed at the same time.As a Mum of 5 we home schooled until they were 13, when they went to school to sit GCSEs (UK). Now the range from 13 to 21 and the long term spin off of this is that they love to go to bed early, they view it as a treat and often tease me that they are off to bed now (when I am still busy!) bedtime just stopped being an issue, peaceful evenings and a peaceful night. bLess you, Mary.

  11. If I had kids it would be very fun for me to put them to bed at the same time I go to bed. I won’t force them if they don’t wanna go to bed because I’ll work them very hard to make to make them worn out so that they’ll wanna go to bed. I will turn their ceiling light out before I turn off their table lamps.

  12. It’s so cute when they say somebody’s name their age even their own name three times as they move into a position ready for sleep before I turn their light out.

  13. Whenever I’m driving home from work in the car before I get home to my mansion and I’m tired myself and I think about putting my little kids especially my daughters to bed it makes me feel tired myself because I feel the need to snuggle with them if they want me to.

  14. If my kids reach their 20s including 24 like me and they feel the same way I do and they disrespect me when they say they wanna move out that would make me feel very very very happy because I understand how bad my parents treated me in my 20s including this age I am which is (24).

  15. I would know how they would feel about kids because they know how they feel about themselves and I know how I feel about them but (we) neither they or I know how their grandparents my parents feel about us as their parents people my age which is (my) 20s and 30s which means my wife (and) I wouldn’t want their grandparents my parents doing or saying anything I’m I don’t believe in to my wife, I, or my kids.

  16. We are early to rise and early to sleep. My oldest was wired that way from the start and so is my youngest . When my oldest began sharing a room with her sister , her sister’s sleep patterns molded into the same pattern . After a couple years all three of my kids were alseep by 7 pm, awake by 5:30 am. On their own. Not forced . The three year old takes his nap at 1 pm daily , sometimes the 4 year old does , too. They sleep even better with a nap.

    We love watching the earth wake up . Our routine is to (5:30 am ) eat food, then bible , then go outside to water /prune plants .We stay outside and do school work until it’s too hot. By that point my children have had their energy taken care of so easy ! We prefer to get school work done in a early time of day so we can relax more the second half .

    When time change comes I don’t change their schedules either .

    This isn’t forced and we are more productive , it works for us .

    I let my girls / 4 + 7 years have girls night on Friday’s . We stay up late and do fun things . But they never make it long . lol

  17. My husband works night shift and leaves at 7 p.m. arriving home usually between 7 and 10 am. I allow my children to stay up sometimes until 10:30 or 11 p.m. because on the weekend that is how late my husband’s body is used to staying awake. otherwise, on the weekends, he wouldn’t have his kids with him. During his most active hours. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you have written. I agree wholeheartedly. It does make things difficult for playdates and making arrangements to get together with other families, but we are obviously very tolerant of the normal schedules out there and we understand when we usually have to opt out of most things that are offered. Our kids are healthy, doing excellent in school (ages 3 through 8, for little girls), and I am blessed that I have this opportunity to train them up in the way they should go.

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