Oh bedtime….. I have a love/hate relationship with bedtime around here. With a 3 year old and 18 month old, by the time 7 o’clock comes around, I am ready for the boys to go to bed. When bedtime comes around, I feel a mix of relief that we made it through another day, happy that it’s time for the unwinding of the night, frustration at the million and one things that Tyler sometimes comes out of his room for before falling asleep, and a little sad that yet another day has gone because time seems to go by so quickly.
That being said, bedtime here is 7pm for the boys. Sometimes we let them stay up late, depending on what we are doing that evening. But in general, the boys are in bed by 7pm every night with very few exceptions. Yes, we have had many people tell us it’s too early, but to that I say they are our children and this is our family and it’s how we do things. We have our reasons, we have multiple reasons. I know this isn’t for every family, and doesn’t work for every child, but this is how we have been doing it since Tyler was young, and it has worked well for us. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
Mommy and Daddy need some down time
We both work from home, so we are with the boys all day, every day. After 12 hours, we are beat, we are ready for some time to chill out and unwind from the day. We need some quiet. We need some time without someone hanging all over us. By the end of the day, I am very ‘touched out’ and need my own space.
Husband and Wife need some down time
In addition to being mommy and daddy, we are also husband and wife. An early bed time for the kids gives us some time to spend together. Sometimes we watch a movie together or some of our recorded shows. Other times we play a board game or a video game together. Sometimes we have some projects we are working on around the house. Sometimes we…. have some adult time. And sometimes we both use the time to get things done on our computers separately. No matter what, it is our time and I feel that it is important for our marriage to be able to have this time together.
Kids need enough sleep
My boys wake up at the same time every day, no matter what time they go to bed. The nights that they stay up late, they are still up at the same time in the morning. Tyler is up by 7am at the latest, and Ryan is anywhere from 7-7:30. Children their age need to get about 12 hours of sleep, so with waking at that time, an early bedtime is necessary to get that amount of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (as of writing this):
Newborn to 3 months should get 14-17 hours
4 months to 12 months should get 12 to 16 hours
1 to 2 years old should get 11 to 14 hours
3 to 5 years old should get 10 to 13 hours
6 to 12 years old should get 9 to 12 hours
13 to 17 years old should get 8 to 10 hours
18 to 64 years old should get 7-9 hours
65 and older should get 7-8 hours
If my boys don’t get enough sleep, we all pay for it the next day when they put their cranky-pants on in the morning. Seriously, lack of sleep is not fun for any of us. It puts the boys in a cranky mood, which in turn puts Justin and me in a bad mood because of their bad mood. And did I mention the whining? Oh my goodness the whining. I can handle them being upset, but oh the whining just irritates me. And them being cranky not only makes us all a bit cranky, but also means we don’t always spend the best time together because we are not all fully functioning.
Quality time over quantity time
I believe that it is more about the quality of time we spend with the boys, not the quantity. If they are wearing their cranky-pants (see above), then we aren’t really spending quality time together if they are whining the entire time and we are all in bad moods. I would rather spend an hour or so less during the day with them, let us all get a better night sleep, and be able to spend time together when we are all in a good mood and can really enjoy our time together and play better.
There are so many health benefits to getting a good night sleep. Benefits for not just the kids, but for Justin and me as well. I am not going to go into detail because you can find so may articles with all the science behind the proper amount of sleep. Some of the main reasons I feel it’s important for the kids to get enough sleep include a lower obesity rate, better growth, and brain development, among the other many benefits.
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