It is a hot topic, that’s for sure! Our four kids are in bed around 7:00 every night and asleep by around 7:30 every night. Before I begin- remember that this works for us, not for everyone. Last week, a fellow blogger shared my post about what to do when your 2 year old is still waking at night. In the post I talked about our early bedtime and gave some life-changing advice for our toddler that was waking up. That post led someone to leave the comment “Who puts their kid to bed between 6:00 & 7:00 pm?” Yes, We have always gotten a lot of negative feedback on this, but it works for us. I know that 7:00 is early. I know that it cuts into their day, but I can tell you that I would rather have happy kids for 12 hours a day than tired or grumpy kids for 13 hours a day. (Our older kids wake up at 7:00 no matter what time they go to sleep. Really!) Our four YOUNG kids play hard during the day. They run around a lot and they spend a lot of time outside with us. This means that at the end of the day… they are TIRED.

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They DO NOT nap anymore and they are just plain worn out by 7:00, even if they don’t want to admit it (and they never do! haha!)   We have tried to push this back when we are on vacation, but they just aren’t as relaxed and easy-going the next day. They are a little more on edge, just like we are (as adults) when we don’t get the rest that we need. I put them to bed early because I want them to be smiling & ready to take on the day. Plus- the are usually asleep in 5-15 minutes, so I know they are tired. Do they ever stay up late? YES! Once a month they each stay up late for Their Special Night.

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Plus, every night, our oldest son gets to have Read-Alone time in his room before bed, too. Or they can read their spelling words while they fall asleep with this little hack. If that have football or wrestling, they are up even later, but we AIM for an early bedtime! Our six year old has a really hard time waking up for school at 7:00 am when he doesn’t get his full 12 hours of sleep, so I do try to get him to bed as early as possible. I want him to be able to focus at school, be energetic in play and at his sports and be happy at home! This little chart from parents.com is so helpful, if you want to know how much sleep they truly need…

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Kidshealth.org says: “Most kids between 5 and 12 get about 9.5 hours a night, but experts agree that most need more. When your body doesn’t have enough hours to rest, you may feel tired or cranky, or you may be unable to think clearly. You might have a hard time following directions, or you might have an argument with a friend over something really silly. A school assignment that’s normally easy may feel impossible, or you may feel clumsy playing your favorite sport or instrument. One more reason to get enough sleep: If you don’t, you may not grow as well. That’s right, researchers believe too little sleep can affect growth and your immune system — which keeps you from getting sick.” All in all- sleep is important! Your kids need it, even if they don’t WANT it.” I am not saying that this is right for you. My husband and I both work from home, so this works for us. Two of our kids are home with us during the day and our other two kids are home from school by 3:30 every day, so we have plenty of time with them. Before he worked from home, I used to have the kids showered and in their pajamas before he got home, to give us more time together. Remember that it is quality over quantity.

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This does not happen every night (although I would love it if they all went to bed at 7:00 every night)! During wrestling season, our older boys are up until 8:00 (practice is late), but the younger ones still go to bed early. (Sometimes the younger ones will fall asleep in the car at 6:00 on our way to practice… and I just take them up to bed and they sleep ALL NIGHT LONG. They never wake up during the transition to bed. I know its crazy, but when I try to wake them, they are NOT happy, so on those nights, I just let it go). Oh- and one last thing… it is good for your marriage. My husband and I see each other all day long while we work from home or while we are spending time with the kids, but at night we have time to watch a show, play a board game, etc… Now, I am not saying that this is why we put them to bed early or that it is why we started, because it’s not, but we do enjoy that time together.   Did you know that the #1 fear of preteens and teenagers is divorce among their parents? Quality time together, with your spouse, reduces this risk greatly.

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Remember- our bedtime certainly isn’t for everyone, but it works for us. It is healthy for our kids to get that amount of sleep and it helps them overall. Quality sleep + healthy foods make a huge difference in our kids. On the other hand, for those of you that have a late bedtime, my very dear, long-time friend, Julia, keeps her kids up well past 10:00 and it works for them.   I know that I need to wait until 11:00 or later to talk to her on the phone. Do what works best for your family. I hope this helped to shed a little light on families with early bedtimes. Sleep well… no matter the time!


By Becky from YourModernFamily.com