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I am posting this thread here as I think most Mom's with kids that go to school have a set bedtime. I am interested in the view of the home-schoolers here, especially the unschooler.<br>
When my kids were younger we had a set bedtime, as a lone parent, come evening I was exhausted so needed ME time. Then when I had 4 kids it was causing me more stress and nagging to implement so I am afriad I gave up on it. My kids veered towards going to bed when I do - usually around midnight, sometimes later esp. when they had freinds over. So they slept in till often 10.30-11am. This was ok as a lot of the stuff we go to regularly starts at midday.<br>
Anyway dd (9) has trouble and gets run down, pale, swollen glands (and we often end up having blood tests and me losing sleep from worry). I think because she says she finds sleep "boring" and stays up way later than she really should - like how long can she go without sleep. She also shares a room with her sister (12) who I think keeps her awake and needs less sleep to stay healthy than dd 9. I am concerned for her health so have recently started implementing a lights out at 10 rule. I have done it for all 4 as I felt it fairer that way.<br>
Bedtime is MY biggest parenting challenge. How to do it? Have set time? Complete freedom to choose? I gave them freedom but I didn't see my dd being sensible, only getting ill. I worry I'm doing it wrong and they might grow up screwed up re-bedtimes. I don't want that.<br>
Do any unschoolers have bedtimes?<br>
How do you approach this?<br>
What would you do?<br>
I wish I knew what was the right thing to do <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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My kids are younger, but this is what we do for now. At 7pm or so we doing toothbrushing, etc. Then I read stories for about an hour (we all take turns picking). They can then stay up as late as they want as long as they are relatviely quiet. the boys share one room, sometimes they will play games and sometimes read or draw or whatever. We do turn out the main light, but there is a night light and a reading lamp in the room that they can have on. If the hall light is on too, it's pretty well lit. They then will go to sleep when there ready. Usually one before the other (not always the same one first). If they are too lady DH usually goes in adn tells them they have to go to bed and turns the lights off (except the night light)<br><br>
I'd say they are usually asleep between 9 and 10 and wake between 7-9<br><br>
rebecca
 

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We have no bedtimes at all. We've discussed how the body needs sleep, and that without it you will very likely become moody, lack concentration or focus, easily frustrated, or ill. We were very clear about that, and advised them to listen to their bodies signals about being tired and sleeping. Dd pushed past her limit and stayed up past her body feeling ready for sleep a time or two. She figured out when the best time for her to get to bed was and she does it. For her that's usually between 10 and midnight, and she likes to be up somewhere between 8 and 10 am.<br><br>
Ds prefers to stay up untill around 2 or 3 am and then sleep until 11 or noon. He can adjust a bit if find ourselves with some early morning appointment or something.<br><br>
If we ever had a problem with one child keeping another up, the up later kid could always go into another room until they were ready to go to bed. (Living room, kitchen, family room etc)
 

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I'll possibly get slammed, but I absolutely have bedtime at my house. I need it for my own "me" time, because I get exhausted, and I do think it's important to be sure DD gets enough sleep. Although we don't have to be anywhere in particular most days, my DP gets up very early to go to work, we live in a tiny house, and "morning sounds" get going early in the day. So the little one gets an earlier start than she might if we all slept in until 10:30 or 11 am. So. . . . 8pm is pj time, teeth are brushed, stories are read, and it's lights out at 8:30. After DD is asleep, I'll get up and go into the living room to read or do my own thing for a while. DP often goes to bed at the same time as DD, so although I'm alone, I have some quiet time in the house. Seems to work well for us. Although I enjoy the benefits of a relaxed family lifestyle thanks in part to hs'ing, I am a believer in bedtime for kids, and the adults having some "adult time" each evening.<br><br>
DD is pretty young. When she's older, I can see allowing her to keep a small light on and read in bed or something, but it will definitely be quiet time and bed time, even if she's not quite sleeping. .. . . .
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rainbowmum</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Bedtime is MY biggest parenting challenge. How to do it? Have set time? Complete freedom to choose? I gave them freedom but I didn't see my dd being sensible, only getting ill.</div>
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We don't have bedtimes--my 5 y/o comes to me between 8 and 9 and says he's tired and we usually read stories and he goes to sleep. My 10 y/o usually goes to bed around 10 or 11, although she has at times stayed up to the wee hours. My 14 y/o goes to bed somewhere around 1 a.m.<br><br>
They wake on their own, but if we need to be up early for some reason, I remind them of that and they go to bed earlier. There have been times when the 10 y/o has stayed up very late and is then dragging the next day and I point that out to her. When my 5 y/o tried staying up late, and he got grouchy, I explained to him that his body was telling him he needed sleep. He now recognizes that feeling.<br><br>
Does your dd understand that lack of sleep might be contributing to her being run-down? Would she go to sleep earlier if her sister wasn't in the room? Maybe the older child could leave the room if she's not ready to sleep and the younger one is? If she finds sleep boring, maybe she could fall asleep to music or to a book on tape? I wouldn't insist that the other children go to bed early just because one child needs more sleep--it seems like that would cause resentment and set it up as if sleep is a negative thing, yk?<br><br>
My kids choose when to go to sleep, but I don't hesitate to point out when they're cranky due to lack of sleep, or when they might need more sleep, like when they're sick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UnschoolnMa</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We have no bedtimes at all. We've discussed how the body needs sleep, and that without it you will very likely become moody, lack concentration or focus, easily frustrated, or ill. We were very clear about that, and advised them to listen to their bodies signals about being tired and sleeping. Dd pushed past her limit and stayed up past her body feeling ready for sleep a time or two. She figured out when the best time for her to get to bed was and she does it. For her that's usually between 10 and midnight, and she likes to be up somewhere between 8 and 10 am.</div>
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I have done all this. I discussed this with my dd about needing sleep and listening to your body, but she doesn't bother about getting ill - it is me that it worries. I had let her choose for 5 years yet she gets run down and has been and had blood tests to check for stuff. I don't want to go through this everytime she gets run down. What would you do if a child didn't listen to their bodies. She always has seen herself as invincible!!!
 

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I think each child is different. My 2yo will come and tell me when she is tired during the day usually. Then I go nurse her and she falls asleep. She is fine with a bedtime, or at night will tell us when she is tired.<br><br>
My 5yo has never been able to do this. It used to be a big battle to get her to nap. Without one, she would be an upset mess. Now she skips daily naps, but she needs me to tell her when it is time to go to bed.<br><br>
Currently they have a bedtime between 8-9pm. I read a story and nurse my 2yo, then lights out co-sleeping until they fall asleep. Then I tip toe into my room where I am trying to start sleeping again after 5 years of co-sleeping all night.<br><br>
If my DH's schedule changes again so that he's working late again, we may move bedtime later. It used to be closer to 10pm. Then again, it is nice to have some alone time, and some time to watch grown up TV.
 

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We are new to homeschooling and veering toward unschooling, but here's our nightly ordeal. We don't necessarily have a specific bedtime, but around 9-9:30 our 8 yo dd goes to bed. She doesn't have to sleep--just pick something quiet to do. She sees us reading every night and she chooses to do the same most often. Other times she chooses to watch a DVD ( I know that's bad, but hey, it works), write in her journal, or color. Usually after about an hour she has passed out. We tried the no bedtime thing and regardless to how much of a bear she was the next day she still insisted on staying up much later than her body needed her to. It works for us, and she never complains when we let her know it's quiet time. Good luck to you!<br>
Theresa
 

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we are dealing with this right now. I was not setting bedtimes, boys are 4,7 and 8 and share a room, by choice. they were going to bed at 1 am, sometimes as late as 4 am!! They would sleep until 11 or 12.<br>
We have just put a stop to this. My oldest has appts and needs to get up at 8:30 once a week. He was doing poorly at his appts, to the point where his therapist was going to stop seeing him. We had a talk, and he saidit is because he is tired. Also, I do need down time in the evening. So, I have started waking them at nine, and lights out is between 9-10. It is working so far
 

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Well as much as I can see how that would be difficult and stressful for a parent, I wouldn't force a bedtime then either. I might come right out and say something like " I am seeing that you are very run down due to not getting enough sleep. You know that you have total control over when to go bed. I believe this is a decision you should make for yourself. Why do you think you are sick/run down? Does someone telling you when to go to bed make a difference? (And if so why?) What do you want my role to be in your bedtime? Are you needing help to decide when to sleep?" And things like that. But then I am big on discussing stuff...I am a talker, it's just how I operate. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
Are you sure that she is just sick from not getting enough sleep? What has her doctor said about this? If it's been 5 years how sick is she really, because that seems like a long time to be constantly lacking sleep. Does she function during the day? Does she cry constantly or become violent? Can she do normal stuff like converse, make a sandwich, watch a movie, read a book? Because if she can do the normal stuff of living and she isn't in some kind of danger than it might be that she is listening to her body somehow and that she has come to a place that is comfortable for her. I have no idea of course because I am not there and I do not actually know her.<br><br>
In any case I don't think forcing her to go to bed when she doesn't want to is fixing anything. Unless she wants to have a bedtime, and then it would still be her choice. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<i>I'll possibly get slammed, but I absolutely have bedtime at my house. I need it for my own "me" time, because I get exhausted,</i><br><br>
I have bedtimes too. I need ME time. My boys can stay up in their rooms and play, read, but it is time to settle down for the night. My kids are all under the age of 9. When they get older I may feel differently. But my dh works alot. I don't get a babysitter unless we have a date night and that is a rare thing. We don't have any family to help with our kids, our closest friends just moved and so there really isn't anyone to give me a break. For my sanity I need ME time and it makes me a better mother by doing so. I feel it far outweighs giving my kids the complete freedom to chose their bed time. (For now!)<br><br>
My kids all go to bed by 9. My 4yo dd I read to until she falls asleep or I will lay in bed and cuddle with her until she does. My kids are all up by 8:30 each day. My dh gets up at 6:30 and I try to get up with him and see him before he goes.<br><br><i>I have done all this. I discussed this with my dd about needing sleep and listening to your body, but she doesn't bother about getting ill - it is me that it worries. I had let her choose for 5 years yet she gets run down and has been and had blood tests to check for stuff. I don't want to go through this everytime she gets run down. What would you do if a child didn't listen to their bodies. She always has seen herself as invincible!!!</i><br><br>
This I will probably get slammed for this BUT....what is wrong with in this situation saying, "you have to get rest <i>because</i> you get sick. <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Period</span>." It is <i>expensive</i> to go to the DR. My dh makes too much to qualify for any health program. So we have a deductibles and premiums to pay and it usually means trips to a dr and lab tests and any meds we are paying for as well. If making a child go to bed for the benefit of her own health, my peace of mind and less financial burden, I'd say you have to get your rest! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
I have tried myself telling my older son to listen to his body about eating too much junk. Perfect example the other night we went to an icecream social with a big table full of toppings. He put every single topping on his icecream and felt horrible, when we got home he had a puke bowl by him and went to bed early. This has happened before to him and he still hasn't learned to listen to his body. I don't really like cleaning up puke <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/grossedout.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="gross"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/inthet.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="inthet"> so next situation that comes up with him having the freedom to eat lots of junk, I will have to remind him of how he felt from the icecream social and if necessary limit what he eats.
 

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We have bedtimes too....Just works best for us...of course we have special occasions when we all stay up late, but that is what works for all of us....It helps us all to have a "normal" cycle to our day. (normal for us...is all I'm saying) I do enjoy my solitude and it does make me a better and more patient mom to get some defragging time in the evenings...must say it makes me a bit of a better wife too.
 

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We don't really have a set bedtime. I kind of wish we could though. It would be nice sometimes to know dd was going to be in bed at 9 PM every night so I could have time alone with dh or to myself before going to sleep. Dd is quite capable of staying up all night... until 5 AM. It doesn't just affect her because I am up with her.<br>
Dd gets thrown off a sleep schedule really easy and it is better for us to go with the flow rather than struggle to keep her in bed when she is not sleepy and I'm getting grumpier. If I thought she was tired I would start her bedtime routine with her- she helped figure out her routine instead of me imposing one- or see what was keeping her from falling asleep. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting her to lay down quietly and maybe laying down while watching a video will do it. When dd falls asleep (at whatever time) she sleeps for 10-12 hours. If she stays up all night then that means there won't be much time to play outside, we won't get to go fun places, and she'll have to be quiet so dh can sleep -or- she'll have to get less sleep and be sick and cranky.<br><br>
I don't have a problem with a set bedtime... or a lights out time for kids if that is what you need to keep them healthy. I think getting enough sleep is the most important thing you can do to stay healthy. I know sleep deprivation can affect my ability to think and function. I lose stuff more often when I am sleep deprived. I have low energy. I eat badly- more and junkier.<br>
I guess I would first tell your kids the problem (not getting enough sleep & getting sick) and see what ideas they come up with to try. (maybe a white noise machine or staggered bedtimes if one child keeps the other awake)
 

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We don't do bedtimes. The kids insist on going to bed with me, so usually we all go down at the same time, around 9:30. We cuddle and sing songs and talk, and nobody wants to be left out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
To be honest I need as much sleep as they do, and if I stay up later than them I regret it because I still have to get up with them. The rare times that I do want to stay up later, they usually end up falling asleep on the couch. If they're tired, they don't fight dropping off, but maybe that's because there's nothing interesting going on at night. We turn the TV off and ask the kids to stop running around, and we settle down with a book or something. Maybe because it's quieter it's conducive to them falling asleep. I also make a big deal about how much I LOVE sleep, sleep is good and healthy and I would go to sleep at 7 o'clock if I could. Heh. I guess I've brainwashed them into believing that going to bed is a desirable thing. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I also believe that it depends on the needs of the child. My dd (10) is curled up in a chair next to me right now (11:00pm), reading. Occasionally putting her book (HP#4) down to discuss either the book or something that happened during the day. She'll probably go to bed in about 30 minutes, and then she'll sleep till 9 or 10. My ds1 (6) is wiped out by 7:30 and is usually in bed by 8pm. No matter what time he goes to bed, he's always up around 6am, so we structure our day to allow for his bedtime. Otherwise, he's grumpy and nasty and just generally unpleasant. He likes a firm bedtime routine: dinner, teeth, pj's, story...my dd's evening is more flexible. Ds2 is still figuring it all out; he likes a routine: dinner, teeth, pj's, story, milk and sometimes he conks out almost immediately, other times he wants to play in bed quietly, sometimes he just wants to talk and be silly...we just adapt according to what he needs.<br><br>
Missy
 

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Currently, we have a temporary bedtime of 10-11pm. Normally it is 8-9pm, but because of the pregnancy and insomina issues I am having, we don't want Emma waking up at 8 am. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> The later bedtime allows us both to sleep in a bit - until around 10-11 (which I really need right now.) We also take an afternoon nap which lasts at least 1 hour.<br><br>
After the pregnancy is over and life is more normal, we will restore our original bedtime of 8-9 pm.
 

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We have a relaxed bedtime. My husband feels time alone at night is important for our marriage. A happy marriage is important to our family as a whole. So I've compromised on the "no bedtime" issue.<br><br>
Somewhere around 8 to 9:30, we head back to my daughter's room. We read, talk and then turn on music for her. I stay to snuggle a bit and talk. She usually has a snack, drink, toys and books within reach. Then my husband and I have time alone to have a private conversation, watch a movie, whatever we like. My daughter knows she can come in for hugs, get up to pee, get up to ask for help getting more snacks but we ask that we have that time alone. (Like UnschoolMa mentioned, I'm a talker! I explain everything LOL)<br><br>
At some point during the night, she gets up and gets into our bed. She sleeps as late as she likes.<br><br>
We are very flexible on even this relaxed approach to bedtimes. If my husband says he doesn't want to watch a movie with me or need time alone that night or just wants to stay up late as a family, we all stay up and hang out in the living room or snuggle in our bed for movietime or books or do whatever. If I'm sick and want to go to bed early, she usually hangs out with her dad or rests in my bed with me to keep me company. There are no hard and fast rules. Life just flows. And we like it this way.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UnschoolnMa</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">"I believe this is a decision you should make for yourself."</div>
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If I had been letting my child choose her own bedtime for five years and she had been run down, cranky, and feeling ill for five years, one of the very first things I would do is implement a reasonable bedtime. I would not, at that point, believe it was a decision my child had to make for herself. I believe that parents are responsible for the kids' wellbeing, and that includes ensuring that kids are getting enough sleep (or at least the opportunity to get enough sleep; we all know we can't actually force a child to sleep). There is a well-documented relationship between sleep (or lack thereof) and health. Part of being a responsible parent (in my opinion) is doing what is necessary to ensure your child is healthy. If your daughter can't take care of her health on her own, then it's your job to do it. (If your nine-year-old daughter had diabetes, would you let her stuff her face with candy bars and tell her that managing her diabetes was a decision she had to make on her own? I hope not!) Five years of a nine-year life is a LONG time to be ill. Being chronically sleep-deprived will have a great impact on your child's life and could set the stage for lifetime patterns of behavior. This is not something I would take lightly.<br><br>
My kids do have a bedtime. We put them to bed around 8:30 both because they are tired and because we need some time during which we are not "on duty." Our kids generally go to sleep within five minutes, which tells me that they are tired at bedtime. If, as occasionally happens, one of them has trouble falling asleep, that child is welcome to come downstairs and sit quietly on the couch looking at books. But I don't allow my kids to just go and go and go until they crash, because I don't think it's healthy and it also negatively impacts our relationship because they get very, very cranky when they are overtired. I believe that part of a parent's job is to help their child develop a regular sleep schedule. I believe this benefit people throughout their life.<br><br>
Namaste!<br><br>
Ps. Being chronically overtired can actually contribute to problems falling asleep, and if your daughter has been chronically overtired for more than half her life, she might not even know what it feels like to be tired versus not being tired.
 

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We didn't have bedtimes when my kids were younger, and I found that my oldest would just stay awake until he keeled over from exhaustion. He didn't know how to put himself to sleep. My middle child would go to bed whenever she got tired, but my youngest will actually fight sleep (quite successfully), even when she's tired. We have regular bed routines at approximiately the same time every night now, and it works much better for everyone.
 
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