Just Go to Bed!

As a teenager, I told my mom my future kids would go to bed at 7 every night so I could have time for myself and time with my future husband.  She told me, “Don’t count on it.”

My mother should have known that my stubborn nature–and natural resistance to authority–would dictate that I keep my promise.

Naturally, times change and, with it, bedtime.  A couple days after last year’s Fall time change, I realized the necessity of changing my own schedule to match my children’s new bedtime and rising time: 6 pm and 6:30 or 7 am respectively.  While it might seem extraordinarily early to put kids down at 6, it meant happier children and I was determined to cut back on fussiness.  (Aren’t we all?)

I believe this taught me an important lesson: While routines are excellent sanity savers, I must learn to be flexible.

Recently, Ben’s work schedule changed drastically after he quit one of his jobs.  He no longer works nights and weekends and is actually home to help feed, bathe, and put the babes into bed.  With this development, once again I needed to alter our (meaning the kids’ and mine) schedule to be more conducive for Ben’s new work schedule.  I still haven’t figured out a perfect routine but I know that in time we will figure it out.

As positive as this sounds, I will admit my continued love of an early bedtime.  Honestly, by 5 pm I am ready to say “good night” to my beloved children.  My psyche can only handle so much screaming (Emily’s new mode of exerting authority).

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Filed under Non-judgmental parenting, Parents Supporting Parents

32 responses to “Just Go to Bed!

  1. My oldest was (is) a night owl and that set the example for all the other kids.

    We've been in our new house for 2 months now and I can see the natural schedules forming. I like to wait till I see the natural cadence of the day when something drastic happens to our schedule and then tweak it from there to maximize productivity (or relaxation, as the case may be).

    • admin

      Ben was a night owl when he was a child but I told him that would not work for our kids. Perhaps it's being home alone all day that makes late nights unbearable? Our schedule, like yours, is flexible and often shifts from day to day.

  2. Whoa! I am a fan of flexibility as much as scheduling, so I try to strike that balance, too. Our bedtimes have shifted as often as Jack's various phases have, but for a long while now the standard has been 9 p.m. Occasionally he stays up much later (a topic I might use for a future installment of Non-Judgmental Parenting!).

    • admin

      Finding the perfect fit for kids and bedtimes is an often shifting balance! Hey, if late nights work for you and your babe, then you have found that balance.

  3. Aww.. he look so adorable and mischevious in that picture.

    Must be soooo nice for you (and the kids) to have Ben around more in the evenings.


  4. Ah, early bedtimes. They are the lover of my soul 🙂 Our bedtimes are around 7, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that on nights when hubby is out, I aim for 6:30. But the kids really DO sleep better the earlier I get them down, so I think it works. What I'm a little nervous about, though, is kindergarten. Mia will have to wake up at least an hour earlier than usual…does this mean bedtime will have to get earlier, too? And my husband's work hours are changing to later evenings, so will I be fighting to get them to bed on time while all he gets is a few minutes with his kids?

    Still — early bedtimes rule 🙂

    • admin

      I can see why you are struggling because what is more important, an early bedtime or being able to see their dad? And this new change with Kindergarten! Whoa. That is something I have not considered yet. You'll have to tell me what you decide to do and if it works!

  5. I am stunned. I am so happy you have children that go to bed so early. I think this is wonderful. Obviously they need that sleep. And it gives you some TIME. Enjoy it, and do something wonderful for yourself which might frequently be nothing more than staring straight ahead and/or sleeping yourself.

  6. I find myself going to bed earlier and earlier. I am getting old!

  7. Jenna

    I put my two oldest kids to bed by about 6/6:30 when they were only 1 and 2 years old. Now all four of our kids go to bed by 7:30 (the oldest is 7) and they are such early risers that it's essential they get to bed before 8 or they are completely unbearable the next day. Even when I try to prolong bedtime so they will get up later, they still get up by 6:30 am.

    • admin

      Exactly! What's even stranger is when I put my babes to bed earlier, they tend to wake up later. Within reason, of course. As you said, it's all about ensuring happy children.

  8. This picture makes me giggle. Looks like screaming AND nudity are Emily's tactics of late!
    Husband is a night owl – stays up until 1:00 on work nights and 3:00 on weekends – and I would go to bed by 9:00 every night if I lived alone. Quite the mystery how our kids would turn out!

    • admin

      That is exactly how it works with Ben and me! He is very much into staying up late while I prefer going to bed early. At least that's how it used to work. Now that Ben works in the morning, he is much more prone to going to bed earlier while I tend to stall. There is something about having kids that makes me want to spend as much time as I can with Ben.

      Yes…Emily would fit very well in a nudist colony. It's not a bad thing except for when I'm trying to take photos or when someone knocks on the door. : )

  9. I understand this. Because my husband's schedule is not consistent with a 9-5 job, sometimes so he can spend a little extra time with our daughter, we bend the rules on bedtime. You do what works.

    • admin

      Which is where our position will always stand–untraditional in working hours. Bending is necessary, isn't it?

  10. My kids both hit the hay at 8:30pm every night, including weekends. It's the magic time for them. We've considered making Javi go to bed at 8pm (because he has to be up at 6:30am to get ready for school), but he just tosses and turns until he finally drifts off around the time he would if he stayed up later (and we get less lip about it). Bella wakes naturally around 7:30am and takes a 2 hour nap, so she gets plenty of rest.

    In other words — whatever works!

    • admin

      What? Bella still takes naps? Emily does not. Will not. She is as obstinate as can be. (Which she inherits from me. Damn it.)

      • Oh yes. She doesn't always sleep but she's in her bed for 2 hours every day (or 1 hr on her cot at school). Usually she sleeps, but sometimes she plays with dolls or books … always in bed, though. Door is shut and no sounds can be made. It's great for both of us!

  11. I'm a big fan of early bedtimes too. For a long time my youngest went to bed every night at 6. My parents thought I was crazy, but it meant a happier mommy and a happier baby. As he gets a little older, he's able to stay up until closer to 7 so we have a little extra happy playtime. But I can assure, at the first sign of grump I hustle him off. We're big on routine at our house, and it takes something major for us to abandon it.

    • admin

      Ben is more inclined to bend than I am, mostly because his time with Emily and Andrew is far more limited. For me, my eyes go a little wild if the kids are not in bed by 6. Even when he is home!

      Yes, my parents often think I am crazy too. I think happy children are much more conducive to motherhood. : )

    • Y'all must eat a really early dinner! I usually have dinner ready by 5-5:30 … but then that'd leave no digestion time. So do they eat dinner at 4:30 or so?

      • admin

        That is the idea….but it doesn't always work that way. I try to feed them a small dinner between 4 and 4:30 and then they are welcome to eat with Ben and me when he gets home (he does all the cooking) but it depends on how much energy I have to battle notorious picky eaters.

      • That makes sense. And with little people, meals can be easier. Bella doesn't eat much, so if I were feeding 2 of her, I could totally whip it out earlier. (Bella eats rice and shredded meat every night except for spaghetti nights. It's kind of ridiculous, but easy to plan.)

  12. he looks like a cheeky monkey 🙂

  13. When my kids were younger, they all had early bedtimes and it worked out so well for both parents and kids. Now that they're older, though, we have activities most weeknights. The younger two are usually in bed by 8:30 (with rushing). It's hard because the youngest is not getting enough rest. It's hard to strike a balance.

  14. Mckenzie

    I have a friend that also puts her little one down at 6PM. I don't think much of it. It's what works for the family and situation.

  15. Bedtime = happy momma!!!

  16. How awesome are you my dear? Seriously, how awesome?

    I know I've been gone a while but I'm so happy to have come back and seen your little button and your declaration of being a NON-JUDGMENTAL PARENT!

    Why is it that our brains seem to default to judging others? I'm carrying on an inner dialogue about this all day long, every day, and coaching myself to KNOCK IT OFF and make sure I'm sending out the positive, open vibes that I want to send out because, in the end, that is truly how I feel. I don't judge you. And I certainly don't want to be judged. Why is it so hard for moms to support one another? (I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's SO much easier online…in person it seems to harder.)

    Anyway. Long time no comment. But I still heart you, girl.

  17. I can't get over the sheer deliciousness of this picture!! So sweet. I'm big on early bedtimes too. My favorite chapter from "The Three Martini Playdate" is "Bedtime – is four o'clock too early?"