9 reasons my older kids still go to bed early

9 reasons my older kids still go to bed early

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My kids are 8, 6, and 3 and they still go to bed early. Yup, by 8 p.m., my house is usually quiet, barring the occasional call for a drink, another hug, a stuffed animal, a Band-Aid, another story, less-itchy pajamas, or hangnail removal.

Sometimes, sometimes I’ll let my 8-year-old stay up later than her siblings to read, or play a game with her dad and me, or watch a show. But that isn’t a regular occurrence.

On most nights, we start the bedtime process for all three girls by 7 o’clock. Which requires planning ahead. So basically, when the older two get off the bus at 4:30, bedtime preparation is already in motion. Here’s what a typical night looks like in our house:

4:30 p.m. The older kids start their homework.

5:00 p.m. I cook dinner.

5:30 p.m. The kids eat

6:00 p.m. They finish up any remaining homework.

6:15/6:30 p.m. Playtime!

7:00 p.m. Upstairs for PJs, brushing teeth, and stories; earlier if it’s a bath night

7:30 p.m. We finish up reading, talk about the day, what’s happening tomorrow, whether there’s such thing as angels, how time machines work, why Velcro stops working as well over time, etc. Sometimes they have a little extra energy they need to get out...

8:00 p.m. Lights out!

Most of my mom friends are just starting the bedtime process with their kids when I’m already downstairs eating my dinner, doing yoga, working on a story, or enjoying a glass of wine.

But here’s why my kids still go to bed so early:

They’re tired. That reason alone would be enough!

I’m tired of them. Sorry if that’s blunt, but by 8 o’clock, I need a break from being “mom.” Plain and simple.

They don’t know any different. They've always gone to bed early. And that routine is working, so why mess with it?

When they go to bed late, they are beasts the next morning. And I am a mere mortal; no match for the "Exhaustedclops."

I go to bed early, too. By 10 o'clock, the night is ending for me. I'll be damned if I only get an hour or less of kid-free time to think, or complete a sentence, without someone needing something, or interrupting me. That's just unhealthy! And then I'd start tomorrow more frazzled, and less prepared to be the best mom and person possible.

The struggle is real when it comes to the kids getting out of bed. Every morning, my third grader and kindergartner act like I just woke them up from hibernation. And I'm trying to make it even more difficult to motivate them to get up because...?

Last time I checked, they are still kids. I'm in no rush for them to grow up, and do things that preteens and teenagers do, like stay up late, and text, and Snapchat, and think they know everything. Okay, they already think that. But any way I can keep them young and childlike is good in my book.

I want my kids to stay on the same schedule. Even though they are different ages, for now, it's largely still working for them to get ready for, and go to bed at the same time. I realize eventually, this won't fly. Maybe when my oldest is 10, and the youngest is 5, I'll start staggering bedtimes. But for as long as I can make this easy on myself, I'm going to!

Just because other parents do things differently doesn't mean I have to. I work really hard to focus my attention and energy on what is happening in this house, within these walls. That ideal guides most of my parenting decisions, not least among them, what time is best for my children to go to bed.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.


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