Late at night, when I finally get around to going to bed, I always go and check on the kids before I go to sleep myself.
I go into their rooms and make sure everyone is where they should be, is breathing and is appropriately covered for the temperature of the room. I always feel a sense of contentment when I’m doing this. It’s the one time of the day they are virtually guaranteed to be clean, quiet and not arguing with each other or talking back at me. What’s not to like?
Having everyone tucked up in bed, snoozing safely and happily signals to me that I’ve managed to keep them all alive for another day. I do my best mothering when my children are asleep, I think.
I haven’t surveyed everyone, but I’m pretty sure that most parents love that point in the evening when their children are safely asleep in their rooms, and they have time for a bit of grown up TV or maybe some adult conversation. When you have small children, it’s great. You can put them to bed at 6pm and so have at least 3 hours of child free time before you head off upstairs yourself.
Unfortunately, as they get older they need less sleep, which means later bedtimes and fewer child free hours in the evening. My 9 and 11 year olds are often still awake at 9 pm these days. And they have dragged their younger siblings’ bedtimes back as well; when my first two were 5 and 7years old, they were in bed by 6:30pm at the latest. Now DD3 and DS are rarely asleep by 8pm.
The young ones seem to cope with 11 hours sleep and according to the NHS they do get enough sleep, but I do need to make sure that their bedtimes don’t become any later, especially during term time. Trying to drag tired children to school the morning after a late one is no fun for anyone.
And I really need to keep an eye on my own bedtime as well. My DH prefers late nights to early mornings, so I tend to stay up until at least midnight most nights so that we can spend some time together. But I do find this a struggle; if I was given a choice, I’d be in bed by 10 most nights. On the rare occasion I do get myself to bed at this time, I’m always amazed at how much better I feel the next morning.
How old are your children and what time do they go to bed? Do you think they get enough sleep?
And what about you? What would your preferred hours of sleep be in and ideal world and how does your present sleep pattern compare ?