unconventional bedtimes - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to hear from those of you out there (I can't be alone) who don't really do the "7 o' clock, let's go to bed!" bit (or 8, or whatever, but early for an adult and at a fairly set time). My daughter's 10 months old, and she's always just gone to bed when we did. We moved our bedtime up to 10 to accommodate this, but since she would only sleep while nursing until quite recently, it's not as if I had much choice. Also, if she'd gone to bed at 7 or 8, most days she wouldn't have seen her father at all.

I still wonder, though...no one else ever talks about this. Of all the things that we question on MDC, bedtime never comes up. Is there some actual _reason_ that people put kids to bed so early? Is my child missing out on something? And now I'm more curious than before, because now she's starting to actually sleep on her own (once I nurse her to sleep, always. But that's another story).

So ladies, what do you do, and what's your rationale?

Oh, and I should add that if she's not sleepy when I first try to put her to sleep, I don't force the issue. Last night I twice tried to nurse her to sleep. The first time it failed, we went back downstairs and I didn't mind at all. The second time, we stayed in the dark in our room, but I let her play until she started rubbing her eyes and looking sleepy again. A little trying for me that time, since *I* was all geared up to sleep, but survivable.
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#2 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 10:43 AM
 
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Good topic! My DH works 2nd shift and doesn't get home until 2am. Before DD was born in November, I often stayed up until then, and we'd both sleep in until 10am . Until recently she has fit into our mold really well, oftentimes staying up until 11 or 12 and sleeping until 9-10am. However she's now tiring out at 8-9 and waking at 6, so I'm just going to bed earlier myself (since I'm the one who has to get up and play with her at the crack of dawn ). IMO, as long as our LOs are getting enough sleep, that's all that matters.
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#3 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 10:48 AM
 
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my ds is 2.5 and we generally go to bed at the same time-- about 10:00pm.
The few times he has gone to bed earlier have been bliss as I crave some "me time" in the evenings but seems like a very difficult change to make. Sometimes I stay up after he goes to sleep ( it usually takes nursing and singing for 20-30 minutes before he settles down) but then end up staying up til 1am which backfires in the morning.

I look forward to reading other replies...:


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#4 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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No one does talk about it! It seems to be a dirty little secret with most families...
DH gets home around 7pm, so if DD went to sleep : she'd never see daddy. But truthfully, how do you MAKE a kid sleep? Without CIO, I mean. DD seems to thrive on very little sleep compared to others her age. And that is fine with her. I, on the other hand, could sleep 12 hours straight and feel so much better
I would like her to be asleep before midnight, because we all have to get up at 7:30, but that is just for me. I *could* go back to sleep after they leave (preschool and work) but I feel too guilty.

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#5 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 11:25 AM
 
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My DD is 14 almost 15 months old...and only now have we begun a bedtime..which we do around 9-1030 depending on our day and her tiredness level.

Before this...she has always just gone to bed with us.....either 9pm...or 12pm.

We sleep in late too. It's 930am-ish and we both just woke up!

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#6 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 11:33 AM
 
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When our oldest was a baby, bedtime was whenever I went to bed. Now that there's two of them and I work full time bedtime is 8:30pm for them. We all wake up around 5:30ish every morning so they need an earlier bedtime. They usually burn out around Thursday of every week if I don't force the early to bed rule. My oldest I can just say "Lay down, go to sleep" but the baby takes some cajoling.
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#7 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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"Is there some actual _reason_ that people put kids to bed so early?"

Yup. I think sleep is as important as good nutrition for current and future health (both mental and physical). Since I'm not willing to let the kids sleep until noon (they're up at 6:30 M-F to have breakfast and time with Dad), they go to bed earlier. I've been using guidelines that recommend (including naptimes) 13.75 hours for 1 year, 13.5 for 18 months, 13 for two years, and 12 for 3 years.

I have noticed an improved difference in temperment when I moved towards earlier bedtimes and more sleep. I really prefer having the mornings be kid and dad time, while having them to bed earlier at night leaves time for adults.
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#8 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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Mine go to bed when tired. Whenever. Sometimes after me. I believe people should sleep when tired. We don't do bedtime.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#9 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 12:17 PM
 
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My dd usually goes to bed around 9, that's when she is tired and ready. Last night, however, it was midnight.

I don't make her go to bed at any certain time. For the most part she is pretty regular though. I'd just prefer her to go to bed earlier because dh and I are both home and it's nice to have time together after she is asleep for the night.

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#10 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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I'm right there with ya. My dd goes to bed around 9:30ish. She has always...or rather we have always gone to sleep when she does. She's 3 now and we do have a routine to ease he to sleep. We usually take a bath around 8:30, get dressed and hop into bed and read some books for a while,then she's ready to nurse to sleep. It works well for us. She has never gone to bed at 6 or7 (except when she was a newborn)! She's gone thru phases of going to bed at almost 11pm...not much fun, I like to go to bed early!
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#11 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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My son goes to bed when he is tired. I have always done it this way. But it just happens to be rather consistant and around 7:30ish. If he doesnt want to go to bed, he doesnt. This usually only happens when hes had a nap during the day though - which is rare as he stopped having a nap two weeks before he was two so only tends to have a nap if he has been in the car and out all day long...which does then mean he doesnt tend to want to go to bed until 10-11pm.
No matter what time he goes though - hes always awake around 8ish in the morning. Its an early 'bedtime' to me, because I am not tired until 10-11...sometimes on here until 2 in the morning lol... But he is clearly tired and sleeps until about 8 that its not 'early' for him.

I am very glad he goes to bed earlier than we do though. DH and I get to have some time together, get to have some sex every now and then (crucial for future babymaking lol - way too tired to attempt sex at like 2 in the morning trust me lol), or do whatever it is we would like to do that we cant with DS around like watch some tele not appropriate for his viewing or just sit there and do...nothing (its a wonderful doing nothing lol).

I dont really consider what we do 'unconventional' though - mostly because I enjoy the fact he goes to bed hours before us far too much (I love my son to bits, but I am also one of those people that just really likes to be alone) and we did encourage it a bit - we had a 'routine' (not a schedule though) since the day he was born but I always went with his biological clock - never forced, we live consensually...so I guess we are sort of inbetween?...We dont do 'bedtime' but if I notice my son is getting tired I will then ask him if he wants to go to bed and if he says yes - he goes! lol

I suppose all of this becomes a 'problem' when people are stuck to a set time and regime and get hung up on that (I have lots of 'mainstream' friends that do) - especially when the baby becomes a toddler. - This has never been an issue for us though because we are pretty lax about it. But the way it works out - works out great for our family. I plan to do the same with the next child.

However - I am glad we dont do school lol... Then I think you would have to get pretty strict about 'bedtime' having to be up at a certain time and all. So from that point of view, I can see why people do it...the sooner you start the better - no point in trying to insist on a schedule with a 5 year old when for the whole 5 years before that things ran differently in your house...wouldnt make much sense and seem like an awful lot of work lol

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#12 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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When my oldest was about 18 months to about 3yo, he and I worked at a day care 2 days a week. He would NEVER nap there. So, he took about a 2 hour nap when we came home from about 5 to 7. Not great for bedtimes, so frequently he and I would stay up until 11 or 12, or even later. Since I sah, I have the kind of flexibility that I could sleep in if I wanted to. Then, we stopped working, and his bedtime evolved to about 8 and he sleeps until about 7. As long as your child gets enough sleep, and the schedule doesn't bug you, I can't figure out why there would be any need to change it.
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#13 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
"Is there some actual _reason_ that people put kids to bed so early?"

Yup. I think sleep is as important as good nutrition for current and future health (both mental and physical). Since I'm not willing to let the kids sleep until noon (they're up at 6:30 M-F to have breakfast and time with Dad), they go to bed earlier. I've been using guidelines that recommend (including naptimes) 13.75 hours for 1 year, 13.5 for 18 months, 13 for two years, and 12 for 3 years.

I have noticed an improved difference in temperment when I moved towards earlier bedtimes and more sleep. I really prefer having the mornings be kid and dad time, while having them to bed earlier at night leaves time for adults.
I agree.

Some of my kids are just early risers, no matter what time they go to bed. So, it's 8pm for kids under 10. This gives me and my husband time together before I go to bed at 10.
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#14 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
"Is there some actual _reason_ that people put kids to bed so early?"

Yup. I think sleep is as important as good nutrition for current and future health (both mental and physical). Since I'm not willing to let the kids sleep until noon (they're up at 6:30 M-F to have breakfast and time with Dad), they go to bed earlier. I've been using guidelines that recommend (including naptimes) 13.75 hours for 1 year, 13.5 for 18 months, 13 for two years, and 12 for 3 years.

I have noticed an improved difference in temperment when I moved towards earlier bedtimes and more sleep. I really prefer having the mornings be kid and dad time, while having them to bed earlier at night leaves time for adults.
I completely agree with this. I never "force" my son to sleep, but I do encourage him and set up the evening and the day as much as possible,s o that he is generally sleepy around the same time each day. For him, that falls around 8:00 or so.

I also think it is healthy to respect a young child's sleep needs and cycle. They may be able to power through and stay up until all hours out of sheer will and exuberance for life, but it is not always good for them. They are not little adults, and can't function like we do. Heck, I cannot function well on an erratic sleep schedule.

I think the fallout for erratic sleep shows up later, much like the fallout for starting solids too early, etc.

That said, my 14 month old was up until 11:30 last night! Whoa. So I am not so rigid it is bedtime no.matter. what. But I do set up a routine and a day to encourage it on more nights than not.
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#15 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 01:20 PM
 
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I'm really glad to see this thread, as it's an issue I've just recently been struggling with. We have a 5-month-old and we co-sleep. Until recently, it's been a non-issue for him to go to bed when we do, somewhere between 9 and 10 pm. He will generally fall asleep in my arms around 7:00 and then wake up when we go upstairs around 9:00. (In fact, we often time our own "going to bed" time by his waking up around them.) That's when we do our baths on bath days, change into PJs, and settle into bed for more nursing. I was starting to get concerned that he should be going to bed earlier based on things I've read and seen on TV, so we started heading up around 8:00, but that seemed to disrupt my son's sleep routine!

So now I'm thinking that the way we were doing it was fine all along. He gets plenty of naps during the day, so I know he's getting enough sleep. He is ready to get up and play around 7:00 these days (affecting *my* sleeping in, LOL), but will nurse himself to sleep in my arms again around 9:00 am.

I'm not sure how things will change as he gets older, so I'm looking forward to reading the other comments here. :-)
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#16 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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I still wonder, though...no one else ever talks about this. Of all the things that we question on MDC, bedtime never comes up. Is there some actual _reason_ that people put kids to bed so early? Is my child missing out on something? And now I'm more curious than before, because now she's starting to actually sleep on her own (once I nurse her to sleep, always. But that's another story).

So ladies, what do you do, and what's your rationale?
I've always put my children to sleep when they were sleepy; which typically, is around 9pm, but really depends more on their level of sleepiness - sometimes is closer to 8, sometimes closer to 10. DH gets in from work around 7, so a later bedtime is necessitated.

I've never put them to sleep at the same time as we go to bed - but that's because we usually go to sleep around 1 or 2am. We own our own business, and often work late into the evening; pretty much around the clock, haha, so the very late evening is when we get couple time.

Now that DD has started school, which is on a regular morning schedule, obviously, we're trying to move bedtime back just a bit - closer to the 8pm side of 9pm. But I have never seen the point in putting an untired kid in bed just because the clock says its a certain time.

I don't do it myself, no reason to enforce it on a child. I am sure once we settle into the earlier morning routine, the earlier night routine will naturally follow.

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#17 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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We have experienced a roller coaster in bedtime variations. DS1 started out sleeping his life away as most newborns do.. Then started staying up until 10pm or later most nights.. Then when he was 18 months or so he would stay up as late as 1am some nights. Now he's tired around 7:30 or 8 most nights, but again, some nights stays up until the wee hours. DS2 is only a few months old.. How things will go with him is yet to be seen.

I'm a big fan of letting kids sleep when they're tired. Bedtime schmedtime.
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#18 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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I'm glad to see this thread. I've been contemplating starting a thread but couldn't bring myself to do it. That should show you the stigma attached to a "non conventional" bedtime. I just get tired of people acting like I'm doing something wrong. DD has always been a night owl. Always! I have no idea how to change this or if I even should. We homeschool (unschool) so it's not like she has to be anywhere. Since day one I have heard "you need to fix this".....I don't consider her broken...lol! On the other hand, DS has a more conventional schedule. I have to be up with him in the morning so DD's schedule is a bit of an issue now. I am torn between letting this go and trying to swing her around to our schedule.
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#19 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
Yup. I think sleep is as important as good nutrition for current and future health (both mental and physical). Since I'm not willing to let the kids sleep until noon (they're up at 6:30 M-F to have breakfast and time with Dad), they go to bed earlier. I've been using guidelines that recommend (including naptimes) 13.75 hours for 1 year, 13.5 for 18 months, 13 for two years, and 12 for 3 years.

I have noticed an improved difference in temperment when I moved towards earlier bedtimes and more sleep. I really prefer having the mornings be kid and dad time, while having them to bed earlier at night leaves time for adults.
Yeah, that'd be great...if it actually worked for us.

I cosleep with DS. I usually go down to sleep (and nap) when he does. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to need as much sleep as I do. And for the first 2 years or so he was such an atrocious sleeper. He's one of those kids who was just "on the go" until he literally crashed to sleep.

For the first 2 years, DS's bedtime was anywhere between 10 PM and 1 AM. He simply would not go down to sleep anytime sooner. Then he would wake up early, between 6 and 9 AM. He would also have multiple nursing sessions at night. Often he would have night terrors. When I tried to put DS to bed earlier (if he's tired enough that I can get him down), he simply woke up earlier in the morning. There's no way I'm putting him down at 8PM (if I could even get him to sleep!) just so he can get up between 4 and 5 AM. It's just not happening. We have nowhere to be that early in the morning.

We do take a 2-3 hour nap during the day. Occasionally he misses his nap and he's cranky, so when I put him down earlier at night, he is in the bed for the extra 2 hours...BUT...he wakes up screaming multiple times during the night. His sleep cycle is disturbed.

Lately we have been having luck getting him down around the 10PM timeframe. He gets up between 6:30 and 7 PM. We take a 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day. This has been the best, most consistent sleep pattern he has ever had in his short 2.5 year life.

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#20 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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We're co-sleepers. When ds was small, he had his days and nights mixed up. Since I was staying home with him, I just switched mine, as well. No biggie. I figured that was much easier than trying to get him to sleep at a prescribed time, earlier and earlier (or later and later) each day until his sleeping schedule matched what I wanted it to be. He eventually got turned around.

Now, he's ten, and his "bedtime" is 11:00. He can stay up and play, read, draw, spend time with the dogs and cats, or listen to music or audio books. He usually falls asleep around 1:00 or so, and I come to bed sometime later. Since we homeschool, there's no real reason to get up early, except on days where we have something scheduled, and then, I remind him of it the night before. Of course, if he's having to get up early, I am too, so we generally just go to bed together, and he falls right asleep.

If we had to get up every day for school or work or whatnot, it would probably be much different, but as it is, I don't see any reason for him to have an early bedtime. As long as he gets enough sleep, I'm happy.

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#21 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 03:55 PM
 
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Well, my daughter has always had an unconventional bedtime, but on the other end of the spectrum. She goes to bed really early and always has.

Why? Because it is her nature and because she has always, like since birth, not slept much during the day, so she is really tired very early in the evening. I took me awhile to realize this was her nature. By the time she was a few months old things were not going so well sleep-wise and I finally decided to drop my expectations and really start listening to her, and I stopped worry about what other people were doing.

By the time she was probably 5 months old or so, she was going to bed at 5:30pm and sleeping until 7am, only waking a few times to nurse. Mind you she only took 2 30 minutes naps during the day. She was much happier this way and slept so much more peacefully. This continued till she was well over a year.

Things have been a little less predictable since then. Her sleep need has decreased a bit and her napping habits have gotten very erratic. However, she still goes to bed really early most days. She doesn't nap most days and is asleep by 6pm. On the days she naps, she is asleep by 7 or 8pm depending on the time and length of the nap. No matter what time she goes to bed, even if it was unusually late, she is up between 5:30am and about 6:45am.

I have tried to gently shift her schedule before to no avail. I just end up with a grumpy tired baby. My husband and I would love her to stay up a bit later and sleep later, but that just isn't her. My husband almost never gets to see her after work, but he gets a lot of good morning playtime in with her. He has shifted his work day a bit to accommodate this.

Her early bedtime has gotten me some funny looks and some gasps of astonishment and a few chuckles. It has meant passing on a few social engagements that I am sure she would have had a blast at. I am sure our friends probably secretly think we are nuts. But we've grown to accept and even enjoy our little early bird's schedule. Now I just hope our next one has the same idea. I don't think I can handle and early bird and a night owl.

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#22 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, guess I hit a nerve! A lot of people were glad to talk about this, and raised some good points. Guess I take staying at home for granted...the only "schedule" I even thought of was my husband's, cuz it's the only one we deal with! I can definitely see wanting to prepare a kid for getting up for school, too. (Though, man, there's only so much you can do. Every morning for four years I got up at 6:45 to go to high school, and every morning for four years I HATED IT! ). I also 100% agree that enough sleep is even more important for a child than for an adult (and that's saying a lot, and I LOVE my sleep), and that, sometimes, the child doesn't know that they need to go to sleep. Happily, mine right now will sleep plenty if I'm just alert to her cues for naptimes, but when she was younger, it was a battle, and I'm sure we'll be there again.

I guess I feel pretty comfortable with how we're doing now, though I might try to ease her bedtime a shade earlier to give us some couple time (more likely some "quick, let's do the dishes!" time ). I guess what we can all guess now is that we're not such big freaks as we thought we were! Thank god for MDC, eh?
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#23 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 04:25 PM
 
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My DS has always been a night owl. As a newborn, I could not get him to sleep before midnight. These days (now 2yo) I aim for 10pm, but it is often later. Fortunately we have a flexible schedule and he can always sleep as late as he needs to.

He never seemed to want or need as much sleep as the "typical baby" despite my best efforts. He sleeps about 9-10 hrs at night and 1-2 during the day. A friend's child the same age sleeps 15 hrs a day! I think there is a wide range of normal.
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#24 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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My kids both start getting ready for bed around 10:30. By the time we're done with teeth, pajamas, story & snuggles & they actually *go* to sleep, it's anywhere from 12-2, for the oldest anyway, the younger one is almost always asleep by 1. They sleep until they wake up, though, usually around noon, so getting enough sleep isn't an issue. When we visit my mom, we usually go to bed a bit earlier & get up a lot earlier (she's definitely a morning person & gets mad if we sleep much past 9).

I used to go to bed with them & just stay there. Being a major night owl myself, there was no way I was going to bed at 8 or 9. Now that ds2 doesn't nurse at night anymore, I often get up after he's asleep (ds1 is sometimes still awake) and stay up until between 2:30-4.

My dh worries about what people will think that our kids are up so late, so he refuses to let them play outside after about 8pm, which I think is awfully unfair & silly. I think it's partly because he still remembers some woman saying that "letting" little ones stay up past 8 is child abuse and he's worried if the kids are out playing that someone will report us.

mom to all boys B: 08/01ribboncesarean.gif,  C: 07/05 uc.jpg, N: 03/09 uc.jpg, M: 01/12 uc.jpg and far too many lost onesintactlact.gifsaynovax.gif

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#25 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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Why do you feel that 7 or 8 is an early bedtime? I think that whatever bedtime gets you enough sleep to wake up naturally without an alarm clock is the right bedtime My kids get up at 630am so that they can have a good breakfast and some time with mommy before all of the daycare kids show up. To do this my 8yo son needs to be in bed by 830, my 11yo dd by 9pm. I, myself, prefer to be in bed by 830pm because I get up at 5am.

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#26 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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When we had a normal schedule, it was like the unconventional ones described. Dh works nights, and leaves at 10:30 PM for work. Bedtime never began before he left... our bedtime range was anywhere from 11PM to 1AM, asleep by 2. Kids would sleep until at least 10 (although they could get up earlier if there was an activity that day) and I would get up at 8, when Dh comes home, and be guaranteed a couple hours of adult time with him (or alone).

And that was our idea of a conventional schedule. I'd hate to see what you all thought of our "bedtime" now.....

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#27 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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My husband and I both work, and have to be up at 5:30 (opposite days, one of us is always home) so we try to stick to a regular bedtime for everyone. It's no problem getting the 10 y/o to go to bed, but the 13 y/o wants to stay up til 3 or 4, then sleep til 1 or 2. Not gonna happen in this house! They go to school, so we try to keep the bedtime consistent on weekends and during the summer, but it's hard. If the older one stays up late (or gets up after we go to bed) we usually get a call from the school the next day saying he's "sick" and needs to come home.

DH and I like to spend some time alone together before bed, which we would like to be around 11, but with all the bedtime drama usually winds up being 1 or later. Any suggestions?
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#28 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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Lemmie does not have a conventional bedtime either. Perhaps she would if DH did not work in the evenings until 10 p.m. I do start a bedtime/calmdown "routine" around 9 p.m. where we start reading a story and have a larger bottle of milk, etc., but if she's not tired, she just goes on her mats and plays. We do usually try to put her to bed when we go to bed though.

I don't exactly know why people put their children to bed so early. Most of the time we are lucky enough to have her sleep in until 8 a.m., and she has two really decent naps during the day. This "schedule" works for us.

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#29 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squrrl View Post
I still wonder, though...no one else ever talks about this. Of all the things that we question on MDC, bedtime never comes up. Is there some actual _reason_ that people put kids to bed so early? Is my child missing out on something? And now I'm more curious than before, because now she's starting to actually sleep on her own (once I nurse her to sleep, always. But that's another story).
because we need to train them to sleep or else they will not know how to get up in the day time. they will never be able to be on a set bed time and a set wake up time. you have to train them for when they go to school and have to go to work

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
Mine go to bed when tired. Whenever. Sometimes after me. I believe people should sleep when tired. We don't do bedtime.
yes agree 200% i look at a child as my equal and they know when they are tierd and will sleep then. bed times are much beter when a child is tired not because it is 7pm. i can try to get my dd to go to bed early can take 6 hours she will not sleep till she is tired and if she knows we have to get up and still wants to stay up late that is her choice. she is 6
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#30 of 126 Old 06-24-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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Well, around here we just sorta go to sleep whenever. dh works and I'm the one who stays home with ds so whenever he goes to sleep is when I do. usually is before between 10-12 but there for a while he was going to bed at 2 (which I didn't have a problem with - I seem to function better when I get up later)
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