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Appropriate/fair bedtime for an 11 year old?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
This question is regarding the school year, but feel free to share vacation/weekend bedtimes, as well. DSD is not a morning person. She's also very grumpy when she sleeps too late and doesn't have as much of her day to enjoy. We are planning to homeschool her. I'm not sure what's appropriate for her age, but I don't believe that she should be up later than DH and I, and we try to go to bed between 9 & 9:30. We're generally in bed by 10 even on weekends when DH doesn't have to work the next morning.

I'm asking because DSD is coming to live with us full time in a couple months. I want for us to have reasonable expectations regarding a bedtime for her.

Thanks so much! This is new territory for me.
post #2 of 13
My 10.5 yo DS goes to bed at 9.00pm, sometimes later, like 9.30, but only on weekends. He is asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Now, my 13 year DD is totally different, even if I send her up at 9.00 she won't be able to sleep until 11 or 11.30. She will read or go online until she can fall asleep. Getting her up at 7.15 am for school is always somewhat of a challenge unfortunately.
post #3 of 13
My son is 11 y.o. and is in bed by 9:00 most nights, 9:30 on weekends. He's been staying up reading later and later, and he does pay the price the next day so I"m going to tell him he either needs to go to bed earlier or put the book down earlier.
post #4 of 13
9 or 9:30 sounds really early for grown-ups to go to bed, but whatever floats your boat. If she hasn't been in bed by that hour at her mom's I think you're probably setting up a power struggle. For an 11 year old who doesn't have to get up for school in the morning I'd probably be happy with 10 or 10:30, but we're night owls around here. If she takes after your DH and is an early to bedder then I think 9 or 9:30 is fine. I would not go any earlier than that, though, personally. I'd worry she might think you're treating her like a "baby". Does she have a bedtime at her mom's?
post #5 of 13
My kids were 13 before they could stay up till 10 p.m.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post
9 or 9:30 sounds really early for grown-ups to go to bed, but whatever floats your boat. If she hasn't been in bed by that hour at her mom's I think you're probably setting up a power struggle. For an 11 year old who doesn't have to get up for school in the morning I'd probably be happy with 10 or 10:30, but we're night owls around here. If she takes after your DH and is an early to bedder then I think 9 or 9:30 is fine. I would not go any earlier than that, though, personally. I'd worry she might think you're treating her like a "baby". Does she have a bedtime at her mom's?
She does have a bedtime at her mom's. I think she starts getting ready for bed around 8 or 8:30. I was wondering if we should push it a little later because she can sleep a little later than if she went to public school.
post #7 of 13
For a child who didn't have to get up for school, I would probably find out when their best learning time and tailor their schedule to that. At 11, my DS still needed 10-12 hours of sleep a night or he did not function well. He had a bedtime of 9:00 until mid-last year and he is 15! But he has to get up early for school. His bedtime is now 10. Some nights he goes to bed much earlier. We also give him the option of staying up later if necessary for homework. On weekends we allow him freedom to choose when to go to sleep.

The other big thing we do is cut off all electronics after 9, even cell phone privileges. That seems to give him time to wind down. And on the weekends or days off from school, if he chooses to stay up late, he has to stay in his bedroom so he isn't up wandering the house in the middle of the night.
post #8 of 13
I don't think I'd enforce any kind of bedtime for an 11 yr old... especially one who is homeschooled. But I'm not big on trying to contol when other people sleep (or eat). What is your step-daughter used to at her mom's house?
ETA: oops, I see your other post that mentions this.

I guess the thing is, what time does she need to wake up in the morning? If she were in school, you'd have that set real-world time that she had to be somewhere. My DD is 9.5, and she is fully aware that she has to wake up at 8:00 to catch the bus by 8:39. So, if she stays up until midnight, she's going to be tired the next day (and hopefully regret it - that's how we learn these things, right?). DH and I are always up past midnight, but I would be comfy with a 9-11 yr old being up after us. I mean, my kid would be reading or writing or listening to her iPod... so, all things that could be done in her room - if we enforced that as a condition.

I'd guess most 11 yr olds need 10 ish hours of sleep a night to function at their best (but it probably depends on the kid. To me, that would be all that mattered - especially if there was nowhere they had to be early in the morning. Following our own internal circadian rhythm is ideal, IMO. Which, might mean going to bed at 11 and getting up at 9.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all who responded. We let her stay up late this past summer (except for the week she went to VBS and her last week with us, as she was returning to her school schedule fairly soon). However, from letting her stay up late, I learned that she would stay up really late watching movies, and then she would sleep really late, and be VERY upset upon waking late. I tried the whole logical consequences thing, but it didn't work with her in this area. She really felt it was my responsibility to wake her early in the morning. Meanwhile, I don't want a cranky child on my hands. And I just want her to be well rested for her own good. Her 13 year old sister, on the other hand, doesn't mind staying up late and sleeping until 11 or 12. But she's of a different personality.

As far as what time she needs to wake up in the morning, I would say no later than 9 or she will not be happy. I think she even asked me to wake her by 8 this past summer. She really loves to experience the whole day, but needs some encouragement to go to bed at a time that will enable her to wake early.

I guess my question is how much sleep does an 11 year old need? I'm asking this from a sincere place (not trying to control her). But I want to make sure she goes to bed at an adequate time to get the physical sleep she needs in order to function at her personal best.

Thanks again for your responses!

ETA I saw that one person said 10 hours and another said 10-12. Going from this summer, my intuition says she needs 11-12 hours of sleep a night. Considering the time she wants to wake, I'd interpret that as a 9-9:30 bedtime. So maybe that means winding down and getting ready for bed at 8:30 or 9 and sleeping before 10?
post #10 of 13
I think that sounds logical. For my brother and my stepson (11 & 12 yrs old), things start winding down around 8-ish, when the boys get in the shower, then they go to their rooms after they're clean and teeth brushed and hang out. I usually peek my head in for my stepson and let him know when it's 9 so that he can crawl into bed. He likes to read and stuff, and he'll do that all night and not get good sleep if I don't remind him. I'm not real strict on bedtime (I'm a nightowl myself, so I don't feel right being rigid), but I know he feels a lot better the next day if he gets to bed around 9.

I try and go with what the child needs. My 8 yr old really needs me to be strict, but he goes to public school and the family we live with has a child who normally is up before 7am. If he's not in a routine, and a strict one, he gets out of whack pretty quickly.

You might talk to her when she gets there about what routine everyone is going to want. Ask her what time she wants to get up, and then talk about how much sleep she needs and when a good bedtime will be. Kids feel empowered when they get to be part of the decision making, and at her age, I think she should have some say.
post #11 of 13
I have a 13 and almost 10 year-old. Their bedtime is 9 on school nights. On weekends, they can stay up late depending on what they have to do the next morning. It's been this way since... well, for many years.

Nine is sometimes unrealistic for the 13-year-old. She has afterschool activities and a heavier high school homework load. Sometimes she's in bed closer to 10 but 9 is the mark we try to achieve so she can get at least 9 hours of sleep (though, she really needs 10 and would love 11.) DS, on-the-other hand only needs about 9.)

Even if we homeschooled, I would go for some sort of bedtime. It's not just for the child but for the parents. I admit, in the summer when the kids are going to bed late regularly, DH and I feel disconnected. We lose all our time to just talk and interact like adults. Maybe it'd be different if the kids were locking themselves in their rooms but if they are up, they want to be with us.
post #12 of 13
I think 9:00 is reasonable in your circumstances to ask DSD to be in her room engaged in quiet activities (reading, drawing, listening to music, etc.).

My kids have to be up at 6:30 to leave for school by 7 am, so I am stricter about being in bed by a certain time (9:00 for my 11 year old, 9:30 for the 9 year old who needs less sleep, 7:45 for the 5 year old). I try to get the kids ready for bed earlier (showers, teeth brushed, etc.) then give them some wind-down or reading time before I expect them to be in bed trying to sleep.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post
I guess my question is how much sleep does an 11 year old need?
it's going to vary from kid to kid. My 12 year old starts getting ready for bed at 9 with lights off at about 10. But I'm not sure how well a bed time that is AFTER you normally go to bed would work.

BTW, 11 isn't too old to be read to at bed time. We still read a chapter of a book outloud every night as part of our bedtime routine.
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