Bedtime is exhausting. It’s even more exhausting for little people who are incapable of deciding when they should go to bed.
Bedtime is the only thing I’m strict about. I’m pretty laid back when it comes to parenting. I don’t monitor T.V. shows. My kids listen to gangsta rap. My sofa is colored every color of the Crayola rainbow. But don’t mess with bedtime.
My boys have a strict bedtime of 7 p.m. They are in bed with a book or their Kindle, and it’s lights out by 7:30 p.m. Yes, there is fighting and tears — mainly from me — but like clockwork, it happens every night, and they fall asleep right on schedule.
I didn’t set out for them to have a strict bedtime, nor did I have one growing up. My kids need a routine and that routine includes a bedtime of 7 p.m., otherwise it gets ugly and momma is not happy. Here’s why:
1. My husband works odd hours and most days he has to be at work at 4 a.m. I tend to begin my day at 5 a.m., so we just started going to bed early. The boys had to wind down and be quiet so their Dad could sleep, and we got in the routine of going to bed early.
2. They are exhausted. After a long day at school, plus sports practice or band rehearsal and homework, they are plain wiped out. I know the bedtime routine won’t last much longer for my oldest as he enters middle school in the fall, but I hope this has given him an idea of how to balance all of the things on his plate. Just like you schedule sports practice and homework, you have to make sure you are scheduling time to take care of yourself and rest.
3. My kids need to follow a routine; otherwise, they are cranky and just plain no fun. Their routine just happens to include a bedtime. We recently went on vacation and towards the end of our trip, my 5-year-old was ready to go home and sleep in his own bed.
4. My husband and I get some adult time. Let’s face it, finding alone time with your spouse when you have kids is hard. So we use the early bedtime as our time for fun.
5. We don’t have to worry about a back-to-school sleep schedule. I’m less strict about bedtime in the summer, but they naturally wind down at the same time.
6. I get some me time! This is why I love bedtime! This is my time to catch up on work, prepare for the next day, read a book, or catch up on my T.V. shows. Bedtime keeps me sane.
Our bedtime routine is not perfect, but it works for us. There is still whining, crying, and a million questions from both of my boys. But they’re so cute when they are asleep.