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Why I put my kids to bed at 7:00 … it is a hot topic, that’s for sure! When our children were younger, we had all of our kids in bed around 7:00 every night. They were asleep around 7:30 every night.
UPDATE: This post was written several years ago in 2014, when our kids were much younger, but I believe that it is important. We still maintain a regular bedtime, but they no longer go to bed as early as they once did.
I owe so many well-rested nights and happy children during the day to the fact that we have a regular and early bedtime for our children. In fact, many Dutch parents put their kids to bed between 6:00 & 7:00 for very similar reasons that we have an early bedtime.
Before I begin- remember that although this works for us, it is not for everyone. As with all of my advice, do what works best for your family. ♥
Our kids (ages 2-9) are in bed by 7:00
Yes, our young children are in bed at 7:00. It is 2014, and my children range from 2 years old to 9 years old. Our 9 year old now goes to bed at 8:00, because he is older and needs less sleep. Until they are 9 years old, 7:00 remains their bedtime.
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 at 7:00 pm?”
Yes, We have received mixed feedback about 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!)
Playing hard in the day makes kids tired by bedtime!
Our four YOUNG kids play hard during the day. They run around a lot and they spend a lot of time outside with us.
They are busy in the day, so they are tired when 7:00 rolls around.
They DO NOT nap anymore and they are just plain worn out by the evening, 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. 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 younger children have 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 can help you to know how much sleep they truly need…
“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.
Sleep Impacts Growth & Health
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.”
Do you have time with them in the evening?
I am not saying that this is right for everyone, so please hear me out. My husband and I both work from home, so this works for us. Two of our kids stay home with us during the day, and our older children go to school until 3:30. We have plenty of family time daily from 3:30 until bedtime.
Before my husband 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.
Does it happen every night?
7:00 bedtime does not happen every single night, but it’s our goal every night. Most nights, one of our kids will be at practice until 8:00, so of course bedtime is later on that night.
Sometimes, it’s even earlier than 7:00. A few years ago, when my youngest kids were 3 & 5, they would fall asleep in the car at 6:00 on our way to drop the older kids off at practice… and I just take them up to bed and they slept ALL NIGHT LONG. They never woke up during the transition to bed. I know it’s crazy, but when I try to wake them, they are NOT happy, so on those nights, I just let it go.
It’s 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.Make it a point to tell your children that you are going to spend time with your spouse.
Children Need Sleep
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 for children (and adults).
On the other hand…
I wanted to share a story, for those of you that have a late bedtime. My very dear, long-time friend, Julia, has always had a late bedtime and her children follow her lead. They stay up well past 10:00 and it works for them. They sleep in every morning and they are happy, healthy, smart children. Her children are the same ages as mine. I know that I need to wait until 11:00 or later to talk to her on the phone. 🙂
All of that to say that this is what works for us, but it is up to you to find out 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!♥