It really depends on who you ask.
If you are asking my kids … “Mummmm, 3 more years and then I promise you can turn off the light!”
If you are asking me, “Not soon enough!”
“Not soon enough until I no longer am needed as a maid to my children.
… ‘til I don’t have to worry about tripping over my little bum flies.
… ‘til I can enjoy a meal without little vultures.
… ‘til I can sit in front of the TV and hear what is being said.
… ‘til I can respond to a question only ONCE.
NOT SOON ENOUGH!”
I love my little humans and I also love my children’s bedtime.
BUT what time is the best time to put your child to bed?
I am finding that our children’s bedtime can be quite a hot topic amongst parents and more so now that my eldest child will be starting school next year.
I know parents that put their kids to bed as late as 9pm, others as early as 5.30pm.
Is there a right and wrong time for our children’s bedtime?
It is widely recommended amongst the baby sleep experts that you should put your child to bed around 7pm. At 7pm a magical sleep train will roll through your house and collect all the kids for a glorious nights sleep … Whatever you do, DO NOT miss the sleep train and ALWAYS put your baby down awake!
If you miss this magical sleep train, your baby will not settle themselves, will have a disturbed night sleep, will wake too early and basically you have failed at your parental bedtime duties.
I remember being completely stressed about missing this 7pm sleep train with my first child. So much so, that nights were stressful and everyone in my house dreaded and hated them. Looking back I think she actually needed an earlier bedtime as her daytime sleeping was horrendous.
As a mother of 3, I am definitely more relaxed when it comes to my children’s bedtime. Yes, I want them to catch the sleep train but NO I am not going to feel guilty if for some reason bedtime has been delayed. I make the sleep train stop and wait.
I firmly believe that as long as your child is getting their recommended sleep in the 24hrs and that you are all happily living together, then it really doesn’t matter if you put your child to bed at 6,7,8 or 9pm.
For me, as a full-time stay at home mother I need my time without kids. Some days bedtime cannot come soon enough.
My 2yr old and 4yr old generally go to bed between 7pm-7.30pm and my 15mth old between 6.45pm-7.15pm. If we have had a big day with no sleeps or rest times then bedtime is usually brought forward. My kids get up 6.30am-7am every morning.
I have a rule in my house, “Mum does not get out of bed before 6.30am” even if it means someone is unhappy hanging in the cot for a few minutes.
I had to make this a rule because:
a) I am not a morning person and;
b) I was finding that my kids were getting up earlier and earlier as I kept responding to them.
For my family this works.
For some families later bedtimes work.
This is particularly true for families with working parents as their parent/s may work late or they need to send their kids to a long day at child care. The few hours that the family get together before having to head to bed is vital, and I believe should never be frowned upon. If this works for you … DO IT!
I am now observing that later bedtimes may not be appropriate for a child as they progress into school age (4 1/2yrs old – 5yrs old). For instance, my eldest is currently in the last term of kindy where the lunch sleep has turned from sleep to nap and nap to rest.
Effectively, their entire hours of sleep required has to be achieved at night time alone. In fact, this can be true for all kids who have dropped their midday sleep.
So, while I believe the actual time of bedtime for 5yrs and under is relatively adaptable to your families circumstances, as soon as your child starts at school or drops all day sleeps, an earlier bedtime is definitely required so that they can happily function, hold attention, want to learn and stay healthy.
Sleep is fundamental to a person’s health, wellbeing and behaviour!
Feel free to share, as this may help someone you know.