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Kids staying up late during the summer

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I love our neighborhood and how the kids all run around and play together all day. But I do have one issue. During the summer, kids come by wanting to start playing at night, even as late as 8:30 they come by asking if dd (9) can play, and we have let her a few times but the kids run around until after 10 pm and that feels too late to me. I like to have her in bed by 8:30 in the summer, because she doesn't sleep in and I just feel like young bodies need more sleep than they often get. My daughter wants to stay up as late as the other neighbor kids, and I'm looking for perspective from other parents. We do let her stay out maybe once a week to once every other week, but on a general basis I'm not comfortable with it. Do you let your kids stay up really late during the summer, and if so do your kids sleep in when they stay up late, and then give me some reasons why it isn't a big deal and I'm overstating the importance of kids getting a lot of sleep or something and let me know if I'm off in my thinking. If you agree with me, let me know that too. I'm looking for an overview of how a variety of parents feel to help me widen my perspective, so all answers are useful.
post #2 of 47

well, we aren't even close to dealing with this yet, but, where i live now, summer is really really short. we get maybe 3 months of nice warm weather, and then the other 9 months are cold, dark and gray! i see you live in illinois, so you know what i mean.


anyway, where i grew up, it was warm all year round... playing outside all day was always an option, and i feel bad that kids in northern climates are really only able to spend a few short weeks like i spent my whole childhood! i think when i have an older child, i'd be inclined to let her take full advantage of long warm summer evenings if we are lucky enough to live somewhere where the neighbourhood kids do that. it's only a little while, and then it will start getting dark by 5pm and she'll be trapped indoors. 


so yes, when she has no early morning obligations (like school, camp, classes or whatever) i would definitely say yes. maybe you can kind of bargain with her... if she stays out late, she has to stay in bed until whatever hour in the morning, or if it's making her cranky, she has to come in earlier or have a rest during the day. i absolutely think it's a rule worth rethinking! 

post #3 of 47
We let DD (age 8) stay up late, but I would not allow her to be outside late. No way. She stays up inside the house doing crafts or watching movies, etc. until 11:00 pm or even midnight. Then she sleeps in til 10:00 am or so. If she didn't sleep in, I'd make her go to bed earlier to get enough rest.

A few nights a week I take her "night swimming" and we swim until 10:00 pm or so. That's really very cool.

If she has camp or an early morning obligation, she goes to bed early. During the school year she'll return to her 8:30 or 9:00 pm bedtime for sure.

If you're not comfortable with it, I'd go with your gut.
post #4 of 47

My dd is 9 and my ds is 7. We allow them to play in our yard or the neighbor's yard as late as they want. I don't think it's ever gone later than 10. Recently, though, ds wanted to call a friend to come and play at 8:30 p.m. We decided that it was way too late to call a non-neighborhood friend, but he could go see if our next-door neighbor wanted to play. When I was a child, we'd play outside as late as possible and I have some really great memories of it.


That said, my kids sleep in. They will often stay awake in their rooms reading, playing or watching TV until midnight in the summer. They sleep until 10 or 11. We don't have any obligations in the summer so it works for us. If it seemed they weren't getting enough sleep, I would definitely set some stricter limits.

post #5 of 47

We let our children (11, 9 and 7) out to enjoy the summer until around 9pm if there isn't anything up the next day, and they can do something quiet like read or draw in their own beds until a little past 10pm (sometimes we all read a chapter book together in my bed, too.  We're our own audio book)  Our kids will sleep in if they need it, though, and none of them need a lot of sleep.  If my 7 year old falls asleep at 8:30, he's awake at 6am.  My 11 year old is kind of on a teenage schedule if he has a choice, and he loves how he can sleep in during much of the summer.

post #6 of 47

My girls do not sleep in, never have. One is usually up by 6am, the other one by 7:30am at the latest. The oldest is 8 so I let her stay up till 9 sometimes in the summer but no later then that because she doesn't catch up on her sleep. And yes, when the neighbor kids call (mine always call instead of coming by) at 8:30 or later, it does annoy the heck out of me. 

post #7 of 47

I have fond memories of magical summer nights as a kid.  We live in WA, so that meant out after 9pm.  I would love to have my girls have this kind of experience, but no, my girls will not sleep in, not enough to offset the late night.  DD1, 6.5, needs a good 10-11 hours, DD2, 4.5, sleeps a bit more.  Daylight at 4:30 makes it hard to sleep in the morning.  I still try now and then on gorgeous evenings to stretch it out, but it never really lasts.  One day when their sleep needs can still be met and the evening doesn't end in red-faced tears and screaming, I just might.  We've a ways to go, though....

post #8 of 47

I don't really want my dd up past 10 pm any time of year but she's been pushing it to 1 AM- working on changing that.

She needs 10 hours of sleep and I do not want her to sleep very late in the day as it impacts our whole family when she stays up late.


I would just set your dd's bedtime so she is getting the amount of sleep she needs and invite the kids over to play earlier in the day or evening... or maybe you could set 1 night a week where she could stay up later.

post #9 of 47

We are usually total sticklers for early bedtimes, but this summer, I've been letting my older 2 (7 and 5) stay up later to play with the other kids in the neighborhood. Definitely not every night, but maybe once or twice a week.  I've also been conscious of how long the winter was and am trying to really enjoy this weather while it lasts.  My kids sometimes sleep in.  If they were tired and cranky after being up later, then they would go to bed earlier the next night

post #10 of 47

first let me say dd is a night owl. she has always from birth been a night owl that changed when she started 1st grade and school started at 8.


so during summer she falls back to the midnight routine. even as a toddler i have found she sleeps better if she is not forced to go to bed. if she was forced she would wake up multiple times a night. if i let her fall asleep btw 11 pm 12, she'd sleep thru the night. 


she is the kind of child who needs anything from 6 to 8 hours of sleep. always has. and here is the reason why i let her. every 4 or 5 days she makes up her sleep. she goes to bed at midnight and is usually up at 8. however since we dont usually have to run off anywhere she lazes in bed till one of the neighbourhood friends come over. 


with dd i have discovered it isnt just about hours of sleep. it is how her morning is too. if its rushed, she is tired the whole day even if seh has had 12 hours of sleep. however if she has had only 8 hours of sleep but had 2 hours of taking her time in the morning - staying in bed and reading for an hour and then slowly getting up and making bfast she is much rested. 


the thing is i cant force dd. i mean yeah i can (and i have had when we have had to be out of the house by 7 am) but she still has trouble falling asleep by 10 am. if i want her to be asleep by 10, we start her bedtime routine by 7 (yeah two hours of arguing, mama one last times, etc) so that she is in bed by 8 pm and reading. even then somedays she can sleep at 10 pm, sometimes not.


however some days when no one is around she can take a nap in the afternoon - for a couple of hours. 


so what i am saying is she ultimately gets enough sleep - naps in the afternoon (rare but still there) or somedays sleeps 12 hours to catch up. 

post #11 of 47

Our kids start their bedtime routine about 9 pm during the summer. That means they're in bed about 10:00-10:15. Dd (age 7) will read for a considerable time if we let her. Well no, let me rephrase that. Dd reads for a considerable time. I haven't figured out how to make her stop, short of stripping her room and her bed of all books. So, she's often up until 11 pm in the summer time. If she has to be up before 8:30, it's a problem because she need 9-10 hours of sleep. Ds simply needs less sleep. He's also much less likely to read until all hours of the night. He goes to sleep about 10:30, gets up about  7:30.; For him, that's a reasonable amount of sleep.


For our kids, staying out until 10 would be too late. But then, it's mostly a non-issue, as most of the kids in the neighborhood go in about 9 pm. I don't mind my kids staying UP until 10 in the summer, but OUT until 10, means bedtime isn't really until 11.



post #12 of 47

oooh that reminds me. do you guys let any of your kids stay up all night?


its once in a while - v. random but dd has been up the whole night reading a book. she so rarely finds a book that suits her very well that she just. cant. put. it. down. and i have let her coz i recall those special moments myself. 


kids here dont play outside at 10. but they are running btw houses at 10 or 11. 11 is the latest one of the moms allows her child out. last night the dd went home at 11 and got up today at noon - and rushed over to our place to eat bfast with the rest of us. or shd i say brunch. 

post #13 of 47


Originally Posted by meemee View Post

oooh that reminds me. do you guys let any of your kids stay up all night?


its once in a while - v. random but dd has been up the whole night reading a book. she so rarely finds a book that suits her very well that she just. cant. put. it. down. and i have let her coz i recall those special moments myself. 

I would let her if she was reading quietly in her room and we didn't have any obligations the next day. I'm not one to force my kids to sleep. Ds is the type who falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Dd is a lot like your dd. She's just never needed a lot of sleep. Even on school nights she's up until 10 or 10:30 reading. I'm not going to take her books from her!


post #14 of 47

Here it is so hot right now(106-114 regularly) that unless we're in the pool, the kids don't play outside during the day.  They are outside enough taking fresh water to all the livestock during the heat of the day.  So, we definitely hang out outside at night, and rather late some nights.  On weekend nights the kids and the neighbor kids will be outside between the 2 houses (houses are not close together) until midnight if we don't make them come in earlier (if we have to be somewhere the next morning).  I will make my 4 yo come in and go to bed earlier, but she is regularly up 'til at least 10.  The 4 yo will sleep 'til 10.  The 12 yo dd will often (and is right now) go back to bed after morning chores.  The 10 yo ds won't usually go back to bed, but he will go to bed earlier on his own most nights if he's tired.

post #15 of 47

Mine don't.


They have to get up at the same time in the mornings anyways and without enough sleep, they're crabs.  I do see the neighbor boys out riding bikes about 9 pm, but their mom stays at home.  It's just not possible for us, though we do let them stay up later on weekends.

post #16 of 47

I let my kids stay up later in the summer (since it's sunny--well, WHEN it is sunny--until 9 PM or later!); but primarily when they're interested in getting more outdoor time.  :)  I don't let them just stay up playing video games, ect, in the house.  There's really such a short opportunity for them to play long periods of time outdoors with the weather being dry and mild that they really eat it up when they can get it (and I am happy that they do).  We don't have other kids in the neighborhood, but as long as it was daylight it wouldn't bug me.


I kept a tight lid on bedtime even during the summer until I realized how much fun DD (9, and my oldest) in particular had with the extra freedom to run and play.  Here in the PacNW there's pleny of cold, rainy, dark, almost wintery days this summer so far so the kids have breaks from being tempted to be running around every night until the sun sets; maybe your kiddo just needs some 'break days' as well as 'late days'.  But really, the time that your DD is going to be interested in running and playing in the neighborhood on summer days is speeding away so quickly.  To me, that's one of the essences of playing hard during the summertime, and that softened my stance a bit.  We had to tighten up on behavior guidelines at home (if she wanted to have later nights she would have to work through strategies of what to do when she was grumpy or needed more rest, she wasn't going to be allowed to take it out on me and her brothers and still get to do that).  It did take a week or two for her to adjust, but she did.  I'm finding that she thrives with limited, structured 'bending the rules' during the summer over stuff like this.  YMMV.  :)

post #17 of 47

During the school year, my kids go to bed at 8:30, but I let them stay up until 9 in the summer and much later pretty often. On vacation they were up until midnight every night! They sleep in accordingly. 

post #18 of 47
Thread Starter 
She doesn't sleep in the next day and is cranky all day. But maybe if we let her stay up later more regularly, she'd adjust her hours and sleep in more? I will give this more thought.
post #19 of 47
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

 I'm looking for an overview of how a variety of parents feel to help me widen my perspective, so all answers are useful.


I'm a wide perspective all by myself!  We've moved around for my DH's job and it's worked out differently for us in different place. We lived in Canada for awhile, not far from Montreal. It was light very late at night and summer that far north is so short and so sweet and so needed after winter. My kids slept far less in summer than in winter. So much so that I wondered if it how our bodies evolved to adjust to varying amounts of lights.  The furthest south we lived was Florida, and my kids slept about the same amount year round, and there's the same amount of light year round.


It's been different for my kids at different ages. As the got older, they developed the ability to sleep later to make up for staying up later.  When they were younger, if their sleep schedule was off from what they needed it to be, they just got cranky.


How old is she?

post #20 of 47

During the school year my kids are in bed by 8pm, and even 7:30 some nights.  In the summer we are way more relaxed.  They seem to have fallen into a schedule of bed around 9ish.  Ds (3.5yo) falls asleep right away and dd stays up for an hour or more reading.  I don't mind them staying up later than that if we're out hanging out with friends or something, but if we're at home it's usually 9 or 9:30.  They do usually sleep in later than during the school year, but have random days when they wake up even earlier. 

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