or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › How early is too early for older kids bedtimes?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How early is too early for older kids bedtimes?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure if this should go in nighttime parenting or here, but honestly nighttime parenting looks like a lot of under-3 year old questions, and I'm really wondering more about older kids--mine are 8 and nearly 5. 

 

During the summer, we've been doing 8:30 or 9 for bedtime and asleep by 9 or 9:30. But I've inadvertently tested out a super early bedtime followed by a super late one, and found that they're really well behaved and chipper with an early one. They don't sleep in unless they're sick, so they always get up at 7am regardless.


After the early bedtime... they were fantastic. Even in a crazy environment, they were cooperative and polite, moreso than usual, and they are usually good kids. But with a late bedtime, they were crazy squabbling meltdowns. They're in bed now, and were fine with this, both saying they're tired, and that they like to look at books, but I don't think they'll fall asleep for a while. 

 

So now I'm wondering about the fall. We don't get home from 2 activities until 7pm, although I could feed them dinner at 5 before the activities and then a bedtime snack at 7pm. I wonder if a 7:30 bedtime would be a good idea. It means we won't have family dinner often, since DH often doesn't get home until 7. But we usually have family breakfast together anyway.

 

Do you think 7:30 might be possible or is it just too early for school-age kids' bedtimes? 

post #2 of 47

i dont see why you cant have a 7:30 bedtime.

 

but in your case i am wondering if half an hour is enough time to settle down and do bedtime.

 

do you mean start brushing teeth and all that at 7:30 or in bed by 7:30.

 

i know for my dd she can start her bedtime routine half an hour after we get home - but she cant come home and immediately start getting ready for bed. she needs to have her down time at home doing whatever she wants to do. 

post #3 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

i dont see why you cant have a 7:30 bedtime.

 

but in your case i am wondering if half an hour is enough time to settle down and do bedtime.

 

do you mean start brushing teeth and all that at 7:30 or in bed by 7:30.

 

i know for my dd she can start her bedtime routine half an hour after we get home - but she cant come home and immediately start getting ready for bed. she needs to have her down time at home doing whatever she wants to do. 

Good point. Maybe bed routine-- teeth, vitamins, etc. at 7:30.

post #4 of 47

My son is 5 and his bedtime is 6.30! That's when we go upstairs. It often takes a long time for him to fall asleep but that happens if he goes to bed late too. It's just him. I think that during the school year 7.30 is perfect. The older one could always read for a while in bed if he/she can't sleep. 

post #5 of 47
I personally think 7:30 is too early for the older child unless he truly needs that much sleep. If my dd went to bed that early even at five she would be up at or before 6 in the morning. I suggest keeping track of his natural wake up time right now and basing bedtime on that. I would personally stick with 8:00 or 8:30 if it currently works and wake up time is going to be the same.
post #6 of 47

We target my 8yo to be in bed by 8pm even in the summer.  Lately we haven't gotten either of them (8 & 3) into bed before 8:30/9pm.  If I saw a positive behavior change with an earlier bedtime, I would do it.

post #7 of 47

We aim for in bed and asleep no later than 730 on school nights.  My oldest is 7 and he does really good with this schedule.  He needs a good 11-12 hours sleep or he is very difficult to get up and not a very happy person.  They have to get up at 615am every morning in order to get ready, have breakfast and be at school by 730 so it really doesn't matter if they wake up at 6 because we are already about to get up.  I've found that if they are able to get enough sleep, they wake up on their own(vs me waking them up) and are much more agreeable in the morning.

post #8 of 47

If your experiment was only one night, a super early bed time might not work sustainably. It could be your 5 yo needs 11 hours of sleep so having him in bed at 7:30 and asleep by 8 will work well. Your 8 yo might be growing out of needing as much sleep and might have trouble falling asleep after a few nights in a row of 11 hours. It depends on the kid, of course. Sleep needs can vary widely.

 

My ds always needs time to unwind after getting home, too...

 

You can probably do a flexible schedule of aiming for an early bedtime on the nights you don't have activities and a slightly later one on activity nights. I'm all about kids being well rested. They are so much happier!

post #9 of 47

My boys are 9 and 6. And we homeschool, so our morning schedule is maybe a tad more lenient than a public schooled child's would be.

 

However - from 2yo, when we started transitioning them to their own bed in their own room, their bedtime routine started at 830pm. Brush teeth, jammies on, pick out a movie, lay in bed with the movie until asleep or movie is over, then go to sleep. And it doesn't matter if it's in the summer or during the school year, this is their bedtime.

 

From day 1, my 9yo would be asleep by 930-10pm and be awake early, before 8am. And now, he's often awake before 7am. Odd child. 

 

The 6yo tends to go to sleep later, about 1030-11pm, and his perfect time to wake up is between 9 and 10am. That is not always ok, since we often have places to be, but that's his "life is perfect" wake up time. 

 

They have an alarm in their room that goes off at 8am, which is when they need to start getting ready for the day. Like I said, my 9yo is often up long before the alarm, and my 6yo would rather sleep through it. :)

 

Some kids need more sleep. This works out well for my kids for most days. (Long days at the race track, or swim meets, or at the beach tend to make bodies tired no matter their age.)  :)

post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

You can probably do a flexible schedule of aiming for an early bedtime on the nights you don't have activities and a slightly later one on activity nights. I'm all about kids being well rested. They are so much happier!

nod.gif this is what we do too. friday and saturday nights dd goes to bed at around midnight and gets up whenever she wants to. (in her defense she is a night owl, except aaargh she is up at 7 when on most school days she struggles to get up at 7. 

 

once she returns from her vacation we will have to change her summer sleep pattern to get ready for start of school. let me tell you i am not looking forward to that at all. 

post #11 of 47

Mine are a lot older than yours now but I have to say, for the most part, when kids go to sleep later, they still get up early and they do not end up needing less sleep (because they're growing so much). I have teens and preteens and when they are home (and not having a sleepover) they are lying in bed at 8 (8:30 at the latest) and can read or draw quietly until 9. When they stay up late we all pay dearly and I just don't think it's healthy for physical growth, brain development, and their immune system. But that is just my opinion and what works best for my family.

post #12 of 47

Mine start the bedtime routine between 7-7:30 (depending on whether they're having a shower that night - we do every other day).  They are 7 and 9.  They are generally in bed by 8pm.  I notice a HUGE difference in their behavior when they go to be later than that.  They get mad sometimes, because they know their friends stay up until 9 or 10 or later (they can hear them playing outside).  And it's been more difficult in the summer because it's still light out at bedtime.  I've been letting them stay up later because of this, and have found that 1) they STILL get up at the same time in the morning as when they have an early bed time; and 2) they are monsters all day when they haven't gotten enough sleep.

 

This is just my children, and every child is different.  I notice a difference between my children, one of whom pops out of bed at 6a.m. without fail, regardless of when she went to sleep, and the other who will sleep in or sneak a nap if he's been up late.

post #13 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Nikki~ View Post

Mine start the bedtime routine between 7-7:30 (depending on whether they're having a shower that night - we do every other day).  They are 7 and 9.  They are generally in bed by 8pm.  I notice a HUGE difference in their behavior when they go to be later than that.  They get mad sometimes, because they know their friends stay up until 9 or 10 or later (they can hear them playing outside).  And it's been more difficult in the summer because it's still light out at bedtime.  I've been letting them stay up later because of this, and have found that 1) they STILL get up at the same time in the morning as when they have an early bed time; and 2) they are monsters all day when they haven't gotten enough sleep.

 

This is pretty much what I've been noticing. I don't think the 8 year old actually needs as much sleep as she got that one night, but I think she needs more than she was getting before that. Staggering bedtime is hard right now as they share a room, but we're moving in a month or so and each should have their own space.

post #14 of 47

So, just a funny update. Last night I offered for my 14 year old to stay up and watch a movie with me. I said if we started it right at 8 he'd still get to bed at 9:30. He said no, because he wouldn't be able to fall straight asleep after and then it wouldnt' be enough sleep for him! lol He's a wise young man. ;)

post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Soltera View Post

So, just a funny update. Last night I offered for my 14 year old to stay up and watch a movie with me. I said if we started it right at 8 he'd still get to bed at 9:30. He said no, because he wouldn't be able to fall straight asleep after and then it wouldnt' be enough sleep for him! lol He's a wise young man. wink1.gif


I've found teens need much more sleep than elementary school kids. My 12yr old sleeps as much as my toddler. Puberty really upped her seep needs.
post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by chel View Post


I've found teens need much more sleep than elementary school kids. My 12yr old sleeps as much as my toddler. Puberty really upped her seep needs.

yup. there is quite a bit of research that agrees with you, the reason why many school districts have thought about starting high school an hour later... but i dont know any district who has acted on that yet. 

 

some high schools in my area start class at 7:30 am which i find really ridiculous. 

post #17 of 47

Our district has a later start for high schools. I think it's 8:45. Not sure. It's freaking 7:50 (supposed to be there by 7:30 for morning assembly) for elementary school which I find ridiculous because I have night owl children.

 

My kids, given free rein and enough stimulation (like for a sleep-over), will literally stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning. My 8 yr old is more likely to do this than my 11 yr old, but they've both been up (and happy as larks) until 2am or so for New Year's Eve parties, etc. On their own w/o a sleepover or party they would easily stay up until 11 or 12 before getting tired. They're just wired this way. They never got up early as babies or toddlers, either. I always heard about those babies that woke up at 5am ready for the day. Nope. Not my kids. Made it easy when they were little, but sure makes getting ready for school tough now. They would naturally sleep until 8:30 or 9 every morning if they could. 

 

I think it's genetic. I'm a bit of a nightowl. Midnight is a good bedtime for me. DH is a total nightowl. He will usually stay up until 1, 2, or 3 am. He just doesn't need much sleep. He gets about 5 or 6 hrs and is set. I need about 8. 

 

So, a 7:30 bedtime would absolutely never ever ever fly for my 8 yr old. There is no time since she's been born that a 7:30 bedtime would work for her. However, each kid is individual and if it works for you and yours more power to you!

 

We usually aim for 9:30 and end up at 10 in this house. They get up about 7 during the school year so that's still 9-9.5 hrs of sleep.

post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by chel View Post


I've found teens need much more sleep than elementary school kids. My 12yr old sleeps as much as my toddler. Puberty really upped her seep needs.

 

Teens tend to start producing melatonin later at night (after 10pm) and continue producing it later in the morning (after 7am).

post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by LitMom View Post

After the early bedtime... they were fantastic. Even in a crazy environment, they were cooperative and polite, moreso than usual, and they are usually good kids. But with a late bedtime, they were crazy squabbling meltdowns. They're in bed now, and were fine with this, both saying they're tired, and that they like to look at books, but I don't think they'll fall asleep for a while. 

 

So now I'm wondering about the fall. We don't get home from 2 activities until 7pm, although I could feed them dinner at 5 before the activities and then a bedtime snack at 7pm. I wonder if a 7:30 bedtime would be a good idea. It means we won't have family dinner often, since DH often doesn't get home until 7. But we usually have family breakfast together anyway.

 

Do you think 7:30 might be possible or is it just too early for school-age kids' bedtimes? 

 

My children are that age and 7:30 has always been the school year bed time; we try to keep sleep/wake times within an hour for summer as ds take medication that can interfere with his sleep if it's taken too late. It's actually not quite enough for younger dd who needs more sleep but it's rare that we manage to get her in bed by 7p.m. Ds needs less sleep so we have a sunset dimmer for his lamp and he reads for 30 minutes. We have one day a week where we don't get home until 6:30ish so bedtime may get pushed to 8p.m. We also see other children out later (which mine complain about); I don't know how they manage considering that most of them take the bus and have to be at the bus stop at 6:45 a.m sleeping.gif. Dh is in school and does his homework when he gets home so we usually only have him at dinner on the weekends and at the family breakfast on Sundays.

post #20 of 47

I know he isn't always popular around here, but we loved Dr. Weisman's Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child for our post colicy son, and it has been a constant reference book in our house on sleep/behavior.

The reason I bring it up is that a crucial point in his book is that kids just need far more sleep than they generally get, and that common bedtimes have more to do with kid activities/parent work schedules than actual sleep needs of children.

So with that in mind, we start bedtime at 7:15 aiming to have everyone under covers/lights out at 7:45 (after jamies, teeth and 3 books).  That was our routine for our 4 year old.  We have had 3 different 5-6 year olds move into/out of our house (fostering) and they have all THRIVED on this routine.  In addition, we put everyone down for a nap/rest time around 12:30-1 till 3:00.  Again, all 3 older kids have napped during this time, and still gone to bed at the early time (waking around 7). 
 

Our son's particular needs require we be pretty strict on this routine, and only fluctuate for very special occasions, but in general, kids have responded positively to the routine and added sleep.  I am always amazed at the improvement of behavior (obviously could have more to do with just sleep).

 

So, I am all for early bed times.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › How early is too early for older kids bedtimes?