What Time Do Your Kids Go To Bed?

The July topic for our blog carnival is: burning the midnight oil, unschooling sleep and sleeplessness.
Enjoy Life Unschooling

Isn’t that the million dollar question. We get asked this by so many people. The short answer is that Charles carries them to bed after they go to sleep.
The latest question is “Does Samuel sleep through the night?” Someone asked me if he was sleeping through the night when he was only a week old. Umm….NO! Babies need to wake during the night. They need to eat!
Thinking back, the girls never had a set bedtime. They fall asleep when they’re tired though.
We notice when they are getting sleepy, and so do they. They have always been night owls, the whole family is. That’s just how we roll.

We used to follow a strict bedtime routine. Bath, books, snack, bed. That doesn’t work so much for us anymore, so we started trying new things. Now we are seeing where things go when we’re home. Maybe they don’t want to read books, that’s ok. Maybe they want to sit on the couch with us and watch TV, or maybe they want to color, or do a puzzle, and sometimes they do want to read books. Sometimes they want to sit and talk with us.

Since we stopped trying to force them into sleep around the same time every night with our routine, and just let the evening flow like we do during the day, we seem to have much more peaceful nights.

Driving around at night has come to be one of our night time family activities. Everything looks different at night.
We also use it to get the girls to sleep sometimes. We talk and call it our mini date after the girls are asleep while we drive the rest of the way home.

Charles took Ava for a quick 10 minute drive last night. She was overtired, and having trouble falling alseep, and staying asleep. Must be the motion of the car, and the sound.
Nakiah stayed home with me, and played some games on the computer. She beat the game and was so proud of herself.  After she was done with her game, she told Charles she wanted to go to sleep on him, and that’s exactly what she did. She climbed into his lap, and went to sleep.

The other day we went to the mall, and after the mall closed we decided to take a stroll through downtown.
We came upon a band in the Town Square. There were water fountains, restaurants, and tables to sit and enjoy the music. There were also several kids out in the middle of the square dancing to the music.
Charles and the girls danced around for a bit.
We didn’t leave there until about 10pm. We would have missed that time together if we had a strict bedtime, had to be home by 7pm, and forced the girls to go to sleep.
That was an impromptu family date night. We all really enjoyed ourselves.

One time Charles took them out in the backyard late at night. They found frogs, saw the stars and listened to the crickets chirp.
Another time we gave them flashlights to explore the house with the lights out.

Some nights Charles will take Nakiah upstairs, and I’ll stay downstairs with Ava and Samuel. I’ll put a cartoon on for her. She will either fall asleep watching it, or fall asleep as the 2nd show is coming on.
I love sitting up with her watching the shows. She says the cutest things.She’ll lay across the couch, or cuddle up to me and fall asleep when she’s ready.

Samuel sleeps in the wrap for the most part during the day. Sometimes I’ll lay him down. He starts the night out in the wrap most of the time as well. He falls sleep when he’s tired, and we don’t question that.
Why do we question if and when our kids are tired as they start to get older?

We’re learning to trust more and more that just as they learned to walk and talk w/out us, they are learning to fall asleep when they are tired.Our kids are learning how to listen to their bodies.
They are learning how to listen to their bodies when they feel hungry, and when they need to potty, so why not trust them when it comes to sleep?
For those times when they need help transitioning to sleep, we’re here to help them do that.
We’re learning to quit forcing the issue, and learning how to create a quiet, sleepy environment for them.

We co-sleep. The girls in a twin next to our bed, and Samuel in the bed with us.
If you want specific details, I’m on the end, Samuel is in the middle, Charles, Nakiah and then Ava.
Since Charles started sleeping on the other end next to Nakiah, she wakes less during the night. Before she would get up and climb into bed with us, and we didn’t mind that, but now she can just reach her hand over to touch Daddy’s face.

This is what works for us right now. As their needs change, we will be here to help them with the transition.


8 thoughts on “What Time Do Your Kids Go To Bed?

  1. our naomi still falls asleep when she likes and with us downstairs, she's too big to carry now and with a few words asking her to come to bed she kind of sleep walks there while i have my arm round her – she never remembers it the next day 🙂 it makes for peaceful times instead of trying to convince her being on her own in bed is a good idea!!

  2. I agree with what Tanashia said – do whatever works best for your family. I think you know what that is by how peaceful things are at night and during the day for everyone. My daughter regularly will ask to go to sleep between 8:00 and 9:00 at night if we are at home. She's just always been like that. She usually likes to sleep in her bed. Even if she falls asleep in our bed, she'll usually go back to hers in the middle of the night. But she likes to get up between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning. She is 4 and had stopped taking regular naps since a little over 2, although once in a while she'll ask to take a nap in the afternoon and fall asleep for about an hour and a half. Her twin brother, OTOH, is very different. He's a huge night owl and would probably stay up past midnight every night if we let him. He usually is asleep between 10:00 and 10:30 every evening with help from us, and still sometimes up before 7:00 a.m. He also rarely rests during the afternoon. We did routine works good for us, although there is never a set time we start it. Usually when my daughter starts looking sleepy, or the kids are getting overtired, we'll put on P.J.s get snacks, and read books. Then we carry them both to bed, where we sing songs, pray, and then Jared always asks my husband to make up a Batman story. Almost always by the end of the story, Alexa has fallen asleep. Jared usually wanders out after that and either plays with his toy figures, does puzzles, watches a little T.V. with us, or jumps on our bed. If he's getting too wild, we'll carry him to our bed where one of us will sleep with him for a while. Sometimes he gets up three or four times and we carry him back again. It's never forced – there's no crying involved. It's just my husband has to get up early for work, and we live in a very small house. If my son were to stay up by himself while we go to bed, all the food would be out of the kitchen on the floor, all the shampoo and conditioner would be emptied in the bathtub, or something else fun like that. So, we take things each night as they come. I guess we're a happy medium. Some nights we've come home at 11:00 after watching fireworks, or the kids will play outside until 10:00, other night my husband and I are beat, and we gently work at getting the kids to settle down and into a sleepy mood. If there is a lot of crying, fighting and angry feelings at night, or if the parents are are losing sleep (I'm talking about when kids are young and it's hard to go to sleep before they do – our kids won't let us sleep when they're up!) then I'd say things are definitly not right. Some kids need more coaxing to get the sleep they need. If my son doesn't get his sleep, he will throw dozens of temper tantrums the next day. He's an intense little boy!

  3. I am also a real night owl and my daughter seems to be naturally following that trend, which is not unusually since it usually is genetic!I don't do bedtimes, they just lead to more stress and if I let her fall asleep on her own it is easier for both of us. I have gotten a lot of dirty looks on some late nights shopping with my DD though… and most of those times were unavoidable anyway.I really love your blog so I am presenting you with the blogger award for substance. Come pick it up here: http://faerie-fangs.blogspot.com/2010/07/awarded.html

  4. We don't do well with the nightly routine schedule! Getting my oldest down at a decent hour to be awaken at 6am for school was torture for us all. That's another reason why homeschooling works soooo well for us. The girls and I aren't morning people & my husband is a night owl. I say do whatever works best for you and your family!

  5. Hi Darcel–I enjoyed reading about all the different activities you have found to do with your kids at night! Mine are a lot older now, so they usually stay up later than us. 🙂

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