I get it.
Kids need sleep.
They need it to function well at school, to behave properly at home, and for their overall health and well-being.
In fact, nearly everyone you hear from recommends an early bedtime for kids. Whether it’s a research study concluding that children don’t get enough sleep or a viral blog post titled, “Why I Put My Kids to Bed at 6:00,” there’s a clear trend.
That trend being: You’re a good parent if you put your kids to bed early.
The flip side of that is, of course: You’re doing something wrong if your kids stay up late.
Nobody’s writing articles bragging about how late their kids stay up, or listing the benefits they see in their family.
I’m willing to admit that I let my kids stay up late. Later than most would probably think is “normal.”
In fact, I’m even going to confess that we don’t have a defined “bedtime” in our house. Nope – not even during the school year.
And it works just fine for us.
As a work-from-home mom, I’d much rather have my kid-free hours before they wake, allowing me to log some time online without it cutting into my time with them. I already feel like so much of what they see from me involves having my face glued to some type of screen, so I like being able to cut that down a bit and get some work out of the way before they’re even up.
Plus, I’m fresher in the morning. Well, not exactly me (I’m not a morning person), but my brain. At least, it’s fresher than it is in the evening.
I’m pretty sure if I put my kids to bed earlier that they’d wake earlier. My 4-year-old sleeps 11 hours at night, and my 8-year-old sleeps anywhere between 9-10 hours. They both wake on their own, which tells me they’re getting enough sleep. And during the school year, it’s nearly 9 am before the bus even picks up my oldest, so it’s not like we have to get a super early start in order to be on time for school.
This summer, my son has been staying up until 10. Sometimes even 11. During the school year it’s in the neighborhood of 9 or 9:30. I put my daughter to bed when I get the sense that she’s tired. Sometimes that’s 8. Or 8:30. Sometimes 9:30. A couple nights it was 6:30.
I follow my kids’ cues and am confident they’re getting enough sleep. And even though you’ll hear ad nauseum about the benefits of early bedtime, I’m here to tell you not to be ashamed if you do something different.
Do what’s best for you. Do what’s best for your kids. Do what’s best for your family.
And if that’s a 6:00 bedtime, I think that’s amazing.
And if it’s not, I’m right there with you.
As long as your kids are getting enough sleep, you’re doing it right – because really, that’s all that matters.
What time do your kids go to bed?