What Time Is Bedtime?

Sleeping children

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 ?



5 comments on “What Time Is Bedtime?

  1. I hear ya! My kids are going to bed later and later too, with the 11 yr old often pacing the floor after 11pm 🙁 As the 13 yr old doesn’t even go to bed until 9pm now, I stay up increasingly late to….gone midnight. Just exhausting!

  2. My oh doesn’t like to eat until the children are in bed so this causes friction now they don’t deign to go upstairs until 8 at the earliest. Add to this one night of Cubs which finishes at 8.15 and one of Scouts (9pm) and then the inevitable moans at the weekend that it’s unfair to make them go to bed ‘so early’ we’re rarely childfree before 9 most nights.

    My boys (9 and 11 – first time I’ve written that, it’s ds1’s birthday today!) are awake with the larks whatever time they go to bed and even on weekends when they could sleep as late as they like. They do not take after their father in that respect!

    • At least mine like to sleep in if they have a late night.
      We have a few late nights now too. The trickiest is Tuesday night as DD3 is out until 8 and DS won’t go to sleep without her there.

  3. My son is nearly 8 and goes to bed somewhere between 8 and 8.30 on a school night. My twins are 5 and are usually in bed by 7.30 when they have to be up in the morning. I do the checks on them before I go to bed, the same as you, and it does give me great satisfaction. I love seeing them asleep. It makes you forget the stressful bits about the day and appreciate them instead.

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