Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bedtime Dilemna

The last day of school isn't until June 18 which means that despite the weather being nicer and the sun not setting until after 8pm, we are still enforcing our usual 8pm bedtime.  However with the nicer weather and later sunlight, it's getting closer to 8:30 before all is said and done and they are in bed.  We are strict on this bedtime because they need their sleep.  Caroline gets up between 7 and 7:30 and Bryce is up at 6am on the days he has school - kids this age need this amount of sleep!  Most nights, once Bryce settles down, he passes out within a few minutes of him stopping talking.  Caroline takes a little longer but as long as she stays in her bed, it doesn't take too long.

However, the problem we're having is that certain other families in our neighborhood with children around the same ages do not have the same schedule.  The family across the street has 3 girls and their youngest is about a year and a half older than Caroline.  Well, last night the mom was MAKING DINNER on the grill at 8:30pm and the youngest daughter was outside playing soccer the whole time.  (This is also the family that was having a big party type get together on a Sunday night and kids who had school the next day were outside playing until 10pm.)  And then the family 2 doors down with a daughter Caroline's age and a son a few years younger were also still outside playing at 8:30pm.  So my kids see these other kids outside playing and they want to know why they have to be going inside at 7:30 for baths and bed.   They don't understand.  I try to explain to them that having an adequate amount of sleep makes them better students and better behaved.  That their little growing bodies still need a lot of sleep.  Of course, they don't want to hear that. 

Thankfully the little boy, Joey, down the street who is in one of the other kindergarten classes at C's school (and is C's biggest crush right now - sigh), his mom is on the same schedule that we are on.  So we're not the only ones who enforce this kind of time/routine on our kids.  It's just so frustrating because by the time we're done with dinner (around 6pm), they only have a little over an hour to play and it seems like no one else is out playing at that time.  None of the other kids come out to play until like 7pm and by then it's kind of too late to really get into anything.

However this brings up another issue - summer bedtime.  This summer will be the first time that my kids haven't had to get up and go anywhere (which I'm happy about).  In years past, they were in daycare and they were on my schedule.  (Last year, my MIL didn't take over until July and we kept them in half day daycare through the summer to keep them in a routine, which helps immensely with their attitudes and the fighting - that's a whole other blog entry I need to write about because I'm a little worried about this summer.)  So with Caroline and Bryce not having to get up and go anywhere, what should the bedtime be?  I feel like they should have a little more freedom since they will sleep in a little, but I also realize how important that downtime is for Jay and me after the kids go to bed.  Right now getting them to bed by 8:30 leaves us just a little time to relax and watch a grown up show without kids flanking us when we go to bed at 10pm.  I wish there were more hours in my day or I didn't need as much sleep. (How did my mom and dad manage always going to bed after 11pm when I was a kid?)   The other issue that makes the evenings more frustrating is that when they do go outside they inevitably get filthy which means they need baths which means bedtime is that much longer.  (In the winter we generally only do baths every other night.) 

I'm thinking we'll still try to get Piper to bed by 8pm but maybe make the older 2 have a bedtime of 8:30 - which still seems ridiculous when so many neighbor kids are outside playing at that time.  I'd even be willing to let them have "alone" time until 9pm up in their rooms if they were quiet and doing things like reading.  Jay and I need our quiet time too.  What are we going to do when they are teenagers and don't go to bed until 10pm?  I'm certainly not ready for that!


Heather said...

My two cents...the more rest the better. So many kids at my school go to bed after 10PM...seriously, way too late! Also, consider come September, having them adjust to an earlier bedtime again might be really difficult.

Viv said...

Try to keep them as close to the same bedtime as possible..... I was so very happy to leave my townhouse due to my neighbors (who had a son a year younger than Makenzie) playing in their (and our front) yard until 10 pm! Makenzie would be in her window banging and crying wondering why her friend was playing on her sidewalk in front of her house when she was in her bedroom - it was killer and boy was I not happy with our neighbors who decided to ignore common sense and a. put their kid to bed at a reasonable time and b. go and play in the back yard so the other neighborhood kids didn't see the 'fun' (we were not the only people that had issues with the late night bike riding/basketball playing/sidewalk chalking/ice cream eating....) So glad that our new house we are away from the main road and don't see many neighbors from our windows! YEAH!

But we do move bedtime back on nice summertime weather days - like tonight we didn't even leave the park until 7:30 and hit Rita's and were home by 8 and we still had bath time and with stories and whatnot the girls weren't in bed with lights off until 9ish. And that will be normal during the summer.... winter time bedtime is 8 so we are only an hour off. I think if you keep them on the same schedule there won't be much "retraining" in the fall when school time comes back around :) (sounds good in theory right?)

Erin said...

A bedtime militant during the school year, (8:00 Ben, 7:30 Simon) I have to admit that I do flex a little with the bedtimes in the summer. We try to stick to an 8:30-8:45 bedtime in the summer the majority of nights... on special nights we'll come in at 9-9:15 at the latest -- if we are outside having a really great time and mommy and daddy don't want to come in yet. ;)

I almost always bring Simon in first and get him bathed and tucked in though... he's just a train wreck if he stays up too late. Ben tends to naturally want to hit the sack by 9:30 even when he's having an awesome time with his friends outside.

Katie said...

I'm with Erin on this one. I let bedtime slide a little in the summer so that Em can play outside longer, but not every night. Special nights she can stay up past 9pm, until maybe 9:30, but most summer nights it's btw 8:30-9pm for her.

Lucy can't usually stay up late even if she tried. She'll still go through the bedtime routine earlier... maybe 8pm on summer nights at the latest.