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I know a lot of people on MDC believe in following your child's lead and letting them go to sleep late if they are showing signs of staying up or going to bed when you go to sleep. I do not subscribe to that school of thought. Based on everything that I have read (yes, I have read all the attachment stuff as well as CIO info to see both sides of the coin) I believe, based on simple research, that children do not have the same sleep patterns as adults do. This isn't necessarily my opinion, but a fact born in numerous sleep studies. They need X amount of quality nap time as well as night time sleep. Their sleep needs to be qualitative as well as quantitative----i.e. consolidated sleep at appropriate times of the day based on their inherent biological sleep rythms.
That being said, I don't believe in letting kids stay up too late. At some point, they become over-charged and have an even harder time getting to sleep, staying asleep and achieving overall rest. Plus, I like to have some time to myself at night so that I can recharge. After being "on" all day long, it is nice to be able to sit down with a book at night, watch some t.v. or simply enjoy some quiet with my dh. The occasional late night, especially when there are special events (holidays, birthdays, vactions) is ok, but not as a norm.

Does anyone else have, and enforce, an early bedtime? Just curious.....
 

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I have always had an early bedtime and naptime schedule. It is one of the only things that I schedule. There are several reasons: 1. For my own sanity. I need that time to myself and with my husband to be a good parent and to literally stay sane. 2. I believe that the best sleep for the body is early sleep and children need more sleep than adults, so it makes sense that they should get more early sleep. 3. Nathan is a much happier child when he gets his sleep at his regular times. If we have a family gathering or something that interferes with his normal sleep pattern he gets hyper and cranky. 4. Good sleep habits are good to start early as most Americans now days do not get enough sleep which leads to many health problems. 5. It is good to have something predictable in their day.

I have adjusted his naptimes and betimes quite a few times as he grows to suit his changing needs. For instance, he used to need a 2 hour nap from 1-3pm and would easily go to bed at 7 pm. Now he has an hour of "quiet time" from 2-3pm and goes to bed at 8pm. He seems to not need a nap anymore, but I still enforce an hour of "quiet time" in which he can either be in his bed or on a cushion which is next to his bed. He can either take a nap, which he does occasionally, or he can look at some books and play quietly with some toys. He actually enjoys this time and usually quickly runs into his room and grabs some toys when I tell him it is time for "quiet time." He also loves his bedtime routine in which we read books, share group hugs, get a last drink, sing, pray, and cuddle.

Some things that I don't set time for are: eating, playing, and parent time. The only other thing I set a time for is TV time. We have a special TV time to make it easier to limit the amount of time he watches TV.
 

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not me. and you know what? My kids almost always sleep at least eight hours in a row, without waking up, and have since each of them were tiny infants (barring teething, or growth spurts, or developmental milestones). I'd much rather get eight hours of sleep than go to bed earlier and be woken up every two or three hours and never get a good night's sleep. It has always been futile to try to get my oldest DD to sleep before she's ready to go to sleep. If I make it a battle, all that accomplishes is the entire family gets upset and worked up and it takes us that much longer to calm down enough to go to sleep. I have never and will never resort to CIO or anything else that goes against my basic instincts or that isn't respectful of my children as human beings with feelings and needs (even if I can't always figure out what those needs are at the time). I don't see my children's late bedtime as a problem. You gotta do what works for your family. Staying up late works for mine. It started when DH worked 2nd shift, and since he is instrumental in the bedtime routine, DD didn't and wouldn't go to bed until after Daddy got home. I get my quiet adult time in the mornings before the kids wake up.

You can only get so much information from books and research. The truth is that each child is different, and not all of them fit into those perfect cubbyholes so many people want to put them in. None of the standard advice, from basic parenting to breastfeeding and everything else, none of it has ever worked with my oldest daughter. The only thing that has ever come close to describing her and helping me in any way is the book called Raising Your Spirited Child. She just isn't like other kids (for example, she said her first sentence at 11 months - her sister is 13 months and only says a handful of words that nobody but I can understand, definitely no complex sentences!). I can fight her, follow all that "expert" advice and try to make her be like those other kids, but it would just be a nightmare experience for both of us. Or I can respect her and let her lead the way and learn from her what works and what doesn't. I choose the second option.
 

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I'm with you, delighted.mama - I believe that for "most cases", babies/toddlers need an earlier bedtime than us. Although I do not agree with most of the methods in Weissbluth's "Healthy sleep habits, Healthy child" (like CIO), there are some interesting sleep studies/factoids in there that are useful. For instance, it says that babies are "primed" to go to sleep between 6 and 8pm....I have seen it with my daughter (11 months old) and other kids as well.....we have a 7pm bedtime around here, and sometimes even 6:30pm (depending on when the afternoon nap ends) - and yes, sometimes later if she's not tired at 7pm, but the latest is around 8pm). And yes, she still wakes up in the middle of the night (several times
), but I don't think that keeping her up later is the answer....just my humble opinion.....
 
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