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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.    

in bed by 7:00

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.

A group of people standing on a covered bridge.

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…
Sheet on how many hours of sleep children need. 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.

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.”

7:00 bedtime is the rule in our house

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!♥


Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I too put my kids to bed early. 4 y/o twins At 7pm, 8 y/o by 8pm. I know I am doing the right thing for one easy bit of proof, my kids are asleep in 30 seconds and aleep straight thru to 7am. They are tired.

    The other thing you did not really touch on, but I will admit is that I, too, am a stay at home Mom. My husband does not get home until after 8pm. I need a little time to myself in order to stay sane. Ha. So, at 8pm when I can sit down with a cup of tea and an episode of Real Housewives of whereever, I very much enjoy my decision about the kid’s bedtime.

    1. haha!! Great proof! 🙂
      ps- I’m with you on time after they go to bed. Makes us better moms when we refuel!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your article! I am also a sahm and I keep my toddler running and learning all day. My daughter is exhausted by 6 or 7! We also get up early around here due to my older sons being in school. I would like to add though that another major bonus to the kids going to bed so early is that parents get alone time! We get to talk about our something other then children’s shows and cuddle!

  3. I would love my 2yr old to go to bed at 7pm, but between working full time, trying to get dinner and bathtime done and actually spend a bit of time with my child it is 7.30-8pm. But it works for us. Our daughter is a 10hr sleep over night child. If I had her in bed at 7 she would be up before 5am, and I just cant handle that. She sleep a good 2-3 hrs during the day, even at day care so it works for us.

  4. Our daughter (2 years old) goes to bed at 7:30. When she was an infant, we learned by experience that she needed to be asleep by 6-6:30. It was very rough, because I worked over an hour away from home and couldn’t pick her up until 6. So we headed straight home and to bed. After a few months of this, I left my job for one only 10 minutes from home. It paid a little less, but it was worth it to be able to spend time with her, and have less stressful evenings, while still adhering to the bedtime her body needed.

    I used to (and still do, but to a lesser degree) get a lot of flak from people (particularly my in laws) about putting her to bed so early. Sure, it impacted our social life, and we had to do dinners and such with family earlier and leave earlier. But, as I always explained, it is not my daughter’s obligation to sacrifice her biological needs for adult’s desires. My daughter had/has no say or control over these things, and it was MY job as her parent to make decisions that are in her best interest and protection. Other adults can choose to be flexible, particularly if they wanted to see her. It isn’t fair to leave her overtired, cranky, suffering poor sleep, etc. just to please the whim of adults.

    There are also several studies that have found later bedtimes (some say by 8 is ideal, others say 9 is the absolute cap) contribute to behavioral problems, poor attention span, illness, trouble learning, etc. One study looked at several kids with late bed times, and then had the parents put the kids down by 8. The results were dramatic. Behavior in class and at home was markedly improved by the NEXT DAY! And with consistency in earlier bed times, the kids grades went up. That’s reason enough right there!

  5. Totally agree!! The kids need to rest well so they can be in a good mood all day long!!!

  6. My 6 and 7 year olds are in bed at 7pm and up at 6:30am. They are ready for bed and on the weekends will sleep until between 7 and 8. Sleep is sacred.

  7. I wish I could put my 3 yr old to bed that early. If he goes to bed any earlier than 9 he wakes up around midnight and doesnt fall back to sleep til around 2. Also some nights my husband works til 10 (30 min away) and if i needed tbe car that day, my son and i have to go pick him up =/ Then again we do sleep in most of the time til around 9. But it would be nice to have some time alone at night. If we want time to catch up on shows or spend time together, my husband and I don’t get to bed til about 2 or 3am. But i fully support the mothers who can have their kids to bed that early! =)

    1. Oh man- that’s so tough! Good for you for hanging in there – I”d be exhausted. lol (oh wait.. . I am exhausted!) haha!

  8. I try hard to get our kids (ages 8 & 3) in bed between 8-8:30pm. I agree that sleep is so very important. My 3 year old is the same way–will fall asleep in the car if we go anywhere in the afternoon and then be awake later through the evening–she otherwise does not nap in the afternoon. She usually has quiet time to watch cartoons or a movie to rest a bit. And this momma needs a little quiet time in the evenings, so I can unwind/recharge for the next busy day! 🙂

  9. I 100 percent agree with you, I only have one child however she has slept and woke for the same time since FOREVER, once she stopped napping she still slept early and still woke early, it’s totally works for us and I have NEVER EVER had one day that I had a rough time waking her up, generally she is awake on her own and her teachers have always commented that she is very alert and refreshed in class, once she is in bed, she stays in bed and sleeps wonderfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way…..

  10. I love everything about this post! I am a firm believer in putting kids to sleep early so they get the max amount of sleep they need a night. When my kids go to sleep later than their 7:30-8 bedtime, they wake up extra early for some reason and are cranky/crabby the entire next day. I have heard snide remarks from certain relatives (believe it or not!) that try to keep my kids up later than normal when they babysit. It only hurts them and us the next day! It works for us, and especially makes them happier kids when they get their sleep.

  11. My 8 year old daughter has an 8pm bedtime on school nights (I relent a little on Friday and Saturday nights, but even then I think it’s usually 9pm). I started a new routine with her this school year. We head upstairs at 7pm. This gives us an hour to do showers, picking out clothes, and just spending some time together! By 7:45 to 8 we are curled in her bed for some reading or looking at I-Spy books. Some nights she has trouble going to sleep and it might be 8:30 or so before she’s out, but most nights she falls asleep quickly. She’s TIRED at the end of a long day! (And so am I).

    Even going to bed around 8pm, I usually have to drag her out of bed at 7am. Adequate sleep is so important not just for kids, but for adults too. I’m usually asleep just past 9pm and wake up at 5:30.

    1. Yes- that is how our kids are, too. If they go to bed at 8:00, it is a struggle on school mornings!

    2. I’ve raised 7 kids and take care of a few of my grandkids while their parents work. I believe in early bedtime routines for kids because (1) they are small and need more sleep; (2) small children tend to be early risers, no matter what time they go to bed; and, (3) my hubby and I needed those quiet hours at night for ourselves and each other.

  12. I agree completely, my daughter has gone to bed at 7 since she stopped taking naps and would even ask to go to bed. She’s 9 now and just started going to bed at 8:30.

  13. My girls always had a seven o’clock bedtime and slept for 10-11 hours all the time. That changed when they could get up on their own for school, for one it ended about grade 7 and the other daughter around grade 9 and this child still takes a nap when she can. Many people don’t know the power of sleep to a growing child, it can be one of the most stressful for many parents, but could also be one of the most priceless bonding and treasured memories of the parent and child.

  14. I totally agree with you. I have 2 children, son who is 6and my daughter who is 4, if they go to bed later then 8pm I have 2 very cranky kids. They have always been in bed around 7 or 730pm. Unless like you said its their special night. Which never happens on a school night only on a Friday or Saturday.

  15. I am in total agreement. We usually have dinner around 5pm when my husband gets home, and start our bedtime routine right after, with quiet time, showers and heading to bed. We do this so that they’re in bed by 7 and asleep by 7:30. Except on Soccer practice nights. Then they’re asleep by 9. They have been so much alert in the mornings since we started doing this last year. Grades have improved as well as attitudes. I love that it gives my husband and I time to ourselves. 🙂 As always great post Becky!