10 06/12/2012 parenting

Bedtime or bust

I’ve been having issues with bedtime lately.

Our routine generally (is supposed to) looks like this:

7 – 7:30pm: showers and baths
8pm: Eva in our bed watching a show until 8:30
8:30pm: Cuyler bed

9pm: Cam bed
With the warmer weather the kids have been outside til 8 or so.
Pulling them in for baths is like pulling teeth.
Once they’re in, it seems like it’s impossible to settle them. I am finding that some nights they are all still awake until after 10.
The biggest problem I have with this is that I like my kid-free evenings. I don’t want to be bothered once I have come downstairs from brushing teeth, reading stories, tucking in and kissing foreheads.
I start to lose my temper around 10pm and there are still faces peering through the spindles, quietly telling us how thirsty they are or how they have to pee.
Get some water from the bathroom!”
GO pee! You don’t need my permission!!

Cam is eleven so I don’t expect him in bed before 9. I can see his sleep patterns changing lately. He has started sleeping in, not waking up until after 8am during the week. Which is fine for now. He has plenty of time to do all he needs to before school starts at 9:15am.
Next year he is in for a rude awakening when the bus to middle school picks up at 7:45am.

The other 2, especially Eva, need to be in bed earlier than they have been lately.
I think the lack of sleep is contributing to the cranky kids that have been living in my house these days.

I think I need to readjust our routine. Or my expectations.
How old are your kids and what is their bedtime?
What is their bedtime routine?


  • http://sleepingshouldbeeasy.com Sleeping Should Be Easy

    My 2.5 year old’s bedtime is at 7:30, although now that he’s been skipping his nap, we sometimes put him down earlier. Thankfully he still sleeps in in the mornings so it seems like he’s just getting all his sleep over night.

  • Lia

    the way I look at that is even tho yes you lose what i call quiet time , tho my two boys are only 2 and a half and 5 months old enjoy every minute of them because one day your going to miss it all, instead of being upset at not having that quiet adult time turn it into a moment to cuddle up read a story turn off the TV I have a godson who is 10 and he visits for a few weeks every summer and stays up after bed time and i will pitch a tent in the living room get some cards out books tell our own stories basically make a calming relaxed mood so he can settle down from our busy day. When it’s just my boys the 2 year old is the one who wants to be up some times I’ll put on some oldies and dance with him turn off the lights he’ll fall asleep on me I’ll lay him down it’s all in perspective make it an opportunity to get creative

  • scorkum

    We are totally different. I’ve always told the kids that we keep the same routine all year long – doesn’t matter if its a weekend or summer break. Otherwise your body gets mixed up and you get “fuzzy” brain. They know what it feels like and they don’t like it.
    If it is still light out when they go to bed (or too bright early in the morning), they throw a small blanket over their eyes and I do the same.
    My 15 yo girl doesn’t like being up past 9 and usually wakes up on her own at 6:30 and reads until 7. If she asked, I’d let her stay up a little longer, but she doesn’t.
    My 13 yo boy is usually in bed at 8:30 and wakes up at 7:00. He is very active and knows his body needs time to “recharge”. He also knows his behaviour degrades when he gets less sleep. Some of his activities take him out past 8, and when he gets home all he wants to do is sleep. If he’s had a lot of late nights during the week, he may sleep in until 8 on the weekend.
    I go to bed at 10 and read until 10:30 and am up at 6:30 – doesn’t matter if its a weekend or work day.
    I’m trying to teach them that their bodies like routine. While its okay to periodically stay up later, they need to get back to the routine quickly so their body can recuperate.

  • Heidi

    Cranky Olivia for sure…we have always been in bed by 7 since she was a baby…she wakes early or late and when no naps started she was still in bed at 7. We recently bought the solar black out blinds for both girls and they are awesome for keeping light out and keeping room warm or cold depending on the season. However, nothing will help with milestons, teething, no more naps, no more diapers at night…yup…all of these things has played a factor in how livvy sleeps. She is now waking at 5:30 am again since she is no longer in diapers at night she has to pee really early and then doesn;t go back to sleep…so until she is used to it and her bladder grows I think 5:30 am wake up calls will be a norm in our house….so I will have to adjust her bedtime to at least by half an hour or even an hour so she gets her 11 hours again or I wish 12 hours. She is currently only getting 9 or 10 and it just isn’t enough. She is so whiny and cranky by 10 am….ugh.
    I also hate that we have so many family get togethers through the summer and this is going to reek havok on our routine and I hate (HATE) missing bedtime it isn’t fair on the little ones (especially the early riser in our house) to keep on an adult routine just so we can all have fun and have a later dinner and party then have an hour drive home…I think I will be hated for a while but I don’t care..my kids come first and we are the ones living with them so if I have to fly shortly after dinner so I can get my kids to bed on time so be it. I am pretty strict with bedtime routine it is so key to a well rested kid and makes for a happier household too.
    I find it really helps to close all windows and drapes to bring on the natural melantonin at least an hour before bedtime. I know you have older kids so it is hard on Eva to keep up with the older ones…but maybe even reading books or playing games or watching a movie all together to wind things down might help before bed.
    Our routine prior to the 5:30 am wake up calls:
    dinner by 5:30 pm
    bath 6:30
    teeth, pee, books and bed 7 pm
    New routine:
    dinner by 5
    bath at 6
    teeth, pee books and bed 6:30 (I hope this gets Livvy a bit more sleep and still gives me a bit of time)

  • Erin Little

    We have the same problem too. Our 5 year olds are up until 9:30 or 10:00 and they need more sleep. Once school is over I won’t care so much but for now…I’m not sure what to do. Thankfully there are only 2.5 weeks of school left.

  • Sara

    I’m totally with you Christine – I love being outside and having fun but I loathe the cutting into my time. For the first few weeks of summer I was really lax. Now I’m being more hardass and leaving park earlier. Then on the weekends – it’s a free for all.

  • Leigh

    My eight year old gets ready for bed at 9 p.m. and then reads to me or her dad for 20 minutes. It takes less than 5 minutes for her to fall fast asleep (one of the benefits of having dyslexia!). My 12 year old starts to get ready for bed around 9:30 p.m. and it can drag as late as 11 p.m. some nights! If her anxiety/insomnia kicks in it can be midnight before she finally goes to sleep. But she has only missed the 7:50 a.m. bus once and that was because the bus was delayed by 20 minutes so when she walked back to tell me she thinks she missed the bus…it drove by! We do let the 12 year old sleep as late as noon on the Saturday morning because she needs to catch up and frankly, we prefer her rested. I do miss that extra kid-free time when they were little, but I really enjoy their level of independence (no diapers, they dress themselves and wash their own hair, etc…) They grow up fast and I know in about 10 years time I’m going to long for the days of not being kid-free.

  • Jen Murray-Szarvas

    My kids are 5 & 2.5 and both are asking to stay up later because of the sun. I stick to the routine and don’t let them play longer after supper because it takes way too long for them to wind down. Things might change as they get older but at our place we have a “bedtime alarm” that goes off every night at 7:30pm. When this goes off they know that they have to brush their teeth, wash faces (we do baths 2-3 times a week not every day), get into their jammies so that there is enough time to read 1 story and sing some songs before they get tucked in by 8pm.
    It doesn’t always work like clockwork but having a routine like this keeps their expectations in check. And it means that I get my kid free time too (which I relish).

  • Tracey

    Oh my word, woman – we are having the identical problem here, only, school is still on for another week or so! It feels impossible to get them into the house to eat before 7:30, it seems. I think the bedtimes will be later this summer, but man, I’m already feeling stabby at the idea of less adult time than I’m used to… this is the part about the summer break I do NOT enjoy at all. No breaks for mummy. (Balls.)

  • Jennifer

    I’ve been having the same problem, Christine. My kids want to stay outside playing with neighbours (which I wholly support…it’d be cruel to try to force them to sleep when it’s still light out and they can hear the whoops and hollers of their friends outside). But bedtime was getting pushed later and later, while morning wakeups arrived at the same time. We were all dragging.
    Now I give them each a little more “downtime” in their rooms before I turn the lights out. My boys read, and my daughter either reads, plays with dolls or does some drawing. No screens at all. I realized it was counterproductive to be yelling at them to “get to sleep” minutes after they’d been racing around. They’re still going to sleep late, but they’re more prepared for sleep than before.

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