OP -- so sorry I simply cannot take the time to read all the responses -- so I may repeat the words/advice of the awesome mamas who've posted before me. (In the end everything is about priorities, isn't it and my priority is to get off this computer very soon and have some quiet time before my wonderful 3-child circus awakens for their day. )
We've made a huge transition in terms of bedtimes over the last 2 years.
My hubby is also a morning person. He tries ever-so-hard but is still nearly non-functional by 9pm. He helps as best he can but really only wants to be deeply asleep then. That means that what he helps with is done with lots of impatience and grumping. I cannot really criticize him -- he's trying.
What I can do is take as much 'work' away from getting ready to bed after that 9ish timeframe. I've found, for example, that asking everyone to get their jammies on shortly after dinner (or of course after showers/baths if that is on the night's agenda for any of them...) helps immensely.
Typically that evening time is their best time with papa, so they usually run upstairs and get into their jammies and are then ready for fun; usually board games or Wii games or family movie time.
Later we ask if anyone wants a snack or drink before 'upstairs time.' At the 'bell' for upstairs time we all head up and the kids get their teeth brushed (this is where things tend to devolve if my hubby is supervising...so I try to make sure that I'm there instead...)
(Breaking the 'getting ready for bed' activities into smaller chunks is HUGELY helpful. Otherwise it becomes a time of stress and chaos right when my hubby is least capable of dealing with said chaos.)
After teeth have been brushed the boys (12 & 8) head to their bedroom to read, play yu-gi-oh, talk...whatever. They have no bedtime. There is the expectation that they be quiet enough that we can't hear them at the other end of the house.
My daughter (5) usually comes with me and plays on the laptop near me or in the playroom next door for as long as she wants. She normally doesn't play long but the freedom to do so is awesome. When she crawls into bed, she does so willingly and is asleep quickly.
My hubby sleeps through 99% of whatever is going on in the evening after the call for teeth brushing. If the boys are loud, I go remind them to quiet down (some of those yu-gi-oh matches get roudy...) As I am more of a night owl, this works well for us. Hubby gets to sleep earlier, mama gets quiet time (I'm usually knitting and watching something on netflix) kids get freedom and their own kind of quiet time to unwind.
Whether it is turning in 'early' or sleeping in 'late' we have a general principle around here that if ANYONE in the family wants/needs to be asleep the rest of us do our best to respect that and be/play elsewhere quietly.
There is really nothing arbitrary about it -- which is why if probably flows so well -- the kids see the reasoning behind what we are doing and are (usually) pretty content to help it along.
- if anyone wishes to be asleep, the rest of us should respect and support that;
- everyone can decide for themselves when to go to bed, but must remain mindful of the sleep needs of everyone else in the family...