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.
Exactly the same here, except we do it with two almost-7 year olds.
They wake at 6:45 and have for over 4 years (DH gets up for work around that time and now they have to get up for school) They go to bed at 7:30/7:45 (lights out). We, too, do a rest time at 1-2. They no longer sleep, but somehow this break in our day allows them to 'reset' if it was a busy morning or they are crabby. It also lets me recharge for the afternoon.
Sometimes they fall asleep right away, other times they listen to music softly until they do fall asleep.
They both wake naturally 90% of the time before 6:45 but do not get out of bed (we have a nightlight that comes on at that time that tells them that if they are awake they may get our of bed).
Overall, I really really notice a behavior downslide with less sleep. Statistically that age range needs 10-11.5 hours and since they can not get to school later and have to get up, we make sure that the bedtime allows for the sleep they need.
For families that have a later bedtime, great : do what works for your family. Later starting schools would allow for later wake-up times! Our area has 1/2 Elem. with 8 am start and 1/2 Elem. schools with a 9 am start. Works well for nightowls/early birds and fits the majority of work schedules (it will never fit all!), though it is more due to bussing conflicts w/ HS and MS. I know people that purposely do school of choice to get into early/late start Elem. school to fit their family schedules better.
Unfortunately, all the MS and HS start early- at 7:15 and 7:45. Way too early according to research and teen sleep needs!!
But if kids have to get up early, bedtimes should allow for the age appropriate range of sleep (both by our Pedi and the various other health specilists we have worked with over the years).
We keep the same schedule year-round.
Edited by KCMichigan - 8/9/12 at 3:14pm