Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bedtime for Boys

As far as regular bedtimes go, most of us fall into the "More or Less" camp.

I'll admit: I wasn't sure what to vote. I'd say we fall somewhere between "More or Less" regular and "No. We have a routine, but..."

We try to have the boys in bed around 8 pm. That's as much for our sanity as their sleep needs. According to WebMD, my 3- and 6-year-olds need 11 to 12 hours of sleep a night; my 8-year-old, 10 to 11 hours. Considering that my 6- and 8-year-olds are usually up by 7, that's about right. The 3-year-old -- well, he's a whole 'nother story. He like to think he doesn't need a nap anymore, but he does. 8 pm to 6 am just isn't enough, and his behavior usually shows it.

But real life often interferes. It's summer, and as I wrote a few days ago, with summer comes softball. Four nights a week, we're at a ball game. And whether it's one of the boys' games (which generally run from 6-8 pm) or one of Dad's games (which could be at either 6:30, 7:30 or 8:30), 8:00 bedtime just ain't happening.

And that's OK. It took me a long, long time to get to this point, but I've finally learned/realized that the time they spend at the ball park (or, say, at Grandma and Grandpa's house, helping with the garden) is essential too.

The kids LOVE going to Daddy's games. Really, it's practically their idea of heaven: treats, playgrounds, minimal supervision and other kids to play with. The homeschool Mom in me heartily approves. Who ever said homeschooled kids lack socialization never saw my boys playing Ghost in the Graveyard with 15 other kids after dark at a ballfield.

I haven't taken a completely unschooling approach to sleep just yet. But I'm getting closer.

Bottom line? You've got to do what works for you.

What's bedtime like at your house?


  1. Hey Jenny,

    My three year old is usually in bed by 10. He's a night owl.

  2. Being that our firstborn are twins, we have an advantage. We had no choice but to establish a routine. This began from birth and continued through with number 3 (the girl). We have rarely had issues with bedtime. As they get older, the bedtime has moved to around 8:30 during school and 9:00-9:30 during summer.

    Our two-year-old is the wild card. He has an established bed time, but our issue is with keeping him in is own bed through the night. He shares a room with our daughter so we don't feel it's fair to try and let him cry it out and deprive her of her sleep.

    But, we are well seasoned, experienced parents. We will find a way to do what we know we need to do and it will all fall in place.

    As a general rule, I believe the majority consesus in this poll is on the money. I lean more toward a rigid, set, bed time in the infant to toddler years. But once activities like Scouts, sports, etc. are introduced, a bed time "window" seems to work in conjunction with a routine.

  3. Since getting rid of bedtimes, my boys have become even more "themselves". My older one goes to bed earlier, gets up earlier, and likes his routine. This is just the way he is, I can just *see* it more clearly now. My younger one was always "difficult" to get to bed, and now he is not, he goes when he is ready, often when I go. He also sleeps in. He has always been a cuddler and we now have one-on-one cuddle time because the older one is asleep. Once I stopped resisting either of them and their natural tendencies, a new and easy routine developed.

  4. My kids are usually in bed between 10:30 and 11:30 at night. We are such night owls. They usually sleep till around 10:00 each morning, though, so they're still well within those guidelines you mentioned.