I put my kids to bed early, especially when they were younger.
I’m not gonna lie to you, this was mostly for my sanity, but I believe it was good for them too. The jury is still out.
I’m terrible at keeping schedules, and I’m not even sure if I have any routines in my life. Each day is a new adventure and there’s no telling what may happen before noon, but the one thing I know for certain is my children’s bedtime.
5 Reasons I Put my Kids to Bed Early
- Kids need sleep.
- I need mommy time.
- My husband and I need grown-up time.
- Kids learn discipline.
- It helps me stay sane.
Kids need sleep.
If I don’t sleep, I become a useless fool.
If my kids don’t sleep, they get grumpy and they complain about everything. My son gets argumentative.
Sometimes the greatest thing we can do for our kids is to send them to bed.
If we want them to grow physically and mentally, they need sleep.
If we want to cut down on fussing and crying, they need sleep.
If we want their teachers to have a smooth day, they need sleep.
If we want them to pass their tests in school, let them sleep!
Kids need sleep, some more than others. Know your child’s needs, but set some ground rules right from the start.
I need mommy time.
When I don’t sleep, I’m like a mama bear who just had her pan of brownies stolen.
I not only need my sleep, but I’ve learned that I need some downtime too.
I can go, go, go all day long, but after dinner, I’m useless. Finished.
I just want to hide for an hour or two and decompress. I don’t want to hear anyone calling my name or asking me for things.
It’s my chill time. I need it in order to stay balanced. I didn’t always know this about myself, but I am learning.
I just need time.
My husband and I need grown-up time.
If my two-year old was up until eleven or twelve o’clock every night, I might be tempted to jump out a window.
Please don’t take that the wrong way, it’s just melodrama seeping out my poors.
We never really had the privilege of going on regular date nights when my children were small. In fact, we still don’t. We’ve just never had the resources to make it a weekly, or even monthly event.
So, we spent our time together at night, in our house.
We’d watch a movie, eat a meal together, talk, whatever. It really didn’t matter as long as we were doing it together in a relaxed way.
And we didn’t have to wait until ten thirty at night to begin our dates.
I put the kids to bed early every night.
The bedtime question is a hot topic, so here are some specifics. You do what you want, because your kids are your kids and it’s your sanity on the line.
I put my kids to bed early.
7 pm was probably our longest running bedtime.
My children are now 11 and 13. Bedtime is 9 pm on school nights.
When there’s no school, they tend to stay up later.
Putting my kids to bed early when they were little saved my sanity, it helped them get their sleep, and it benefited our marriage.
Kids learn Discipline.
We never made a big deal about bedtime.
I was too worn out from my day to add rituals and routines to bedtime. As long as teeth were brushed and some sort of pajamas were worn, it was good enough for me.
I read my kids stories all day long. I read the same books so many times, I could recite them from memory.
At night, we didn’t always read a book. We did sometimes, but not always.
We prayed with them, kissed them, and turned out the light, or in my daughter’s case (for a while), left the light on.
When we had a house full of company, I just called out “Bedtime! And I sent them off to their rooms. I prayed with them and closed their door.
When I say I embrace the idea of “No-Fuss” parenting, I mean, I don’t set myself up for fussing. I don’t make my life more difficult than it needs to be. Simple is a good word.
Teaching kids to go to bed is a lot like teaching them to sit still in church. Eventually they get it.
It helps me stay sane.
When my kids were small, I needed to know that there was an end to my day. I could do anything for a short time, but the chaos of motherhood couldn’t go on endlessly, not without a break.
Bedtime was my break.
It helped me stay sane.
Some days, I looked forward it. It’s true.
I’m not proud of that, but we all have those days where you really do cry over the spilled milk, and the crayon drawing on the wall, and the straw stuffed down the toilet (that was my daughter), and bottle of baby powder dumped out all over the nursery making you gasp for air (that was my daughter too), and the dog throw-up on the carpet, and the child throw-up on your shirt, and the pee-puddle under the kitchen table.
Been there, done that.
Once while I was on the phone, my son crawled under the desk, took off his diaper, and pooped.
It’s difficult to break off a conversation by saying, “Oh, gee Mr. Oil Delivery Company Man. I’ve gotta run. My son is hiding under the desk, just beyond my feet, and pooping.”
There’s no easy break in the conversation to insert that kind of information.
Bedtime kept me sane.
I’m not a mommy monster, but I need my sleep and by golly, I was going to make sure they got their sleep too!
Bedtime – I have a least 5 reasons why I put my kids to bed early. If you keep me talking, I may give you another five.
Now quit whining and go to sleep already!
No Fuss Parenting Series
Part 3 – Teach Kids to Sit Still
Other Parenting Posts…
Giving Our Girls A Voice – In a world filled with bullies and bad choices, I want my daughter to have a voice that will be heard.
A Few Things Every Parent Should Know
How Frugal Living Affects My Children
To The Mom Who Doesn’t Recognize The Woman in The Mirror
Minimalist Parenting: Is the pressure too much?
Book Review: Minimalist Parenting
OK So i have a question about putting 18mo’s to bed! How do you do it? My son is breastfed and he falls asleep in bed with me on the milkies. His older brother always slept with me. It was just him and I when he was growing up (he’s 8) and I didnt mind sharing my bed. Now with his brother and him in my bed….Im starting to lose my mind lol I totally agree with early bedtime but how the heck do i get my lo to sleep with out the whole crying yourself to sleep issue 🙁 anyone with similar issues or resolutions?
Bev Meyer says
Loved both articles. My children(6 total) went to church EVERY Sun. And sat next to me. The youngest on my lap. My husband is a Pastor therefore not much help on Sunday. There is an 8 year difference from the youngest to the oldest so you know they were sitting alone much of the time.
Bedtime was always early….for MY sanity. The older ones could read for a certain time but I needed my time. It did change in summer when it stayed light longer and we did more outside things in the evening. Dad was also more available in the summer for evening family time! My kids all survived to become great adults and parents.
Janet Young says
Thank you for your reasonable article. I thought you were going to advocate a 6 PM bedtime. I remember still happily strolling my toddler by my friend’s house after dinner about 6:30. She was weeding her garden and her kids were hanging out the upstairs window. “Oh, she said, I put my kids to bed early so I can have some quiet time.” It was in June, and we don’t get dark until almost 11PM. I thought it was cruel and certainly unusual. I didn’t bother to ask her how early her kids got up and if that was a problem for her.
We have never been good about bedtime, and it is hurting us, all around! 🙁 We need to be so much better. It’s hard on Daddy, who has to leave for work at 6:15 am, and it’s hard on the tired and fussy kids! Yesterday when I got the 2 older kids from school they were fussing in the car (they don’t fuss at school, thankfully!), and when we got home, I told them they were both going to rest in their rooms. Both fell asleep, and were so much better off when they woke up. Unfortunately that meant we forgot homework for the oldest (1st grade), until it was bedtime, so we did it in his room real quick (first grade homework isn’t too bad).
It’s hard on Mommy & Daddy, because we are so exhausted after the kids are (finally) settled down, that we don’t get any alone time. We have on a few weekend nights gone downstairs and lay on the couch watching tv, and we agree we need to do that more often – it is just nice to be together!
I was hoping you would have more specifics on bedtime, because they get completely wound up as soon as they head up the stairs to bedrooms. . . they could be falling asleep on the couch and then jumping all over the bedroom when they get upstairs. Crazy!
The 15 month old isn’t so bad, especially since she takes a good nap for me during the day (that is MY quiet time!). The others are 4 1/2 (she’s in pre-k but never sleeps during rest time) and 7 (he’s in 1st grade so they don’t have rest time anymore). Both of them will sometimes fall asleep in the car on the way home, and that backfires sometimes too.
Sleep is a CRAZY thing!
Beth B. says
I found your blog by accident a friend of mine shared an article on Facebook, my husband and I are going to be first time parents in July, and I loved this article-I have to agree with this. I can’t live without sleep, and I will definitely do this with our little one 🙂
Rachel Hurst says
I think we may be twins.
This blog is so much my family and me, I coyld habe written it. In fact, if I edited out the number of kids and the updated “now they are older” parts, hit copy, paste, and even my best friends and parents would have thought I write it… from the crayon on the walls, straw down the toilet (or matchbox cars- emphasis on the plurality), dumped baby powder, to the pooptastraphy (we’ve had some doosies. For example sub poop for crayon when my little artist was still in diapers.)
Mine are 4 (Sarah, the hyper swc with roid rage and other lovely side effects from asthma medications and her momma’s personality) and 5 (Paul, the passive aggressive tortured artist who has filled the walls (unpainted or primed… so it’s not coming off and we can’t afford paint) of our home with his blossoming artwork. On a school night bedtime is 6:30 with the realistic expectation that all bathroom trips, extra drinks, medications and breathing treatments, prayers, kisses, and “just one more hug, kiss, and high five, puhlease!” Be completed and kids snoring by 7pm firm. My 4year old still takes a two hour nap MWFSS and my son has quiet time on his bed on the weekends and during breaks. On weekends during school they can stay up until 7:30 (8 firm) but even on breaks it’s no later than 9 firm. Period. End of discussion. Lol.
Rachel Hurst says
Sorry for the typos.
The Domestic Fringe says
Rachel, it’s nice to know I have a twin. 😉
My artist still strays from his paper. I have words carved into the railing on my front porch courtesy of my artist. 😉
i just like you! Thank you! I just read your post about teaching kids to sit still and then this one about putting them to bed early. I share your philosophy about bedtime and mommy time! My son is in all day kindergarten and is wasted when he gets home. Hello melodrama! Bedtime is at 8, but we rarely make it. I just won’t let him stay up if he is acting that way. We have put them to bed early many a day! It is getting difficult because there is just so much going on in the evenings, but we are committed to slowing down our lives as much as possible and that includes plenty of sleep for our three wee ones! Our church ended children’s church for the 3-K’s and that starts this week. I have some work to do to teach them to sit still. Thank you for giving me a little kick in the pants to step it up a bit.
Funny thing my four year old has the same (or close to it) Simba and she refuses to sleep with out it. I have actually had to sneak it out of her room during nap time and wash him so that the gross stuff that lovies collect would be washed down the drain. My kids go to bed early too. Sometimes as early as 7pm. Just depends on the day we are having.
Be glad your kiddos were good with sleep! My 18 month old is a lot better now but up to this point he wouldn’t sleep for love or money, bedtime or nap time! He goes to bed early. And believe me! I am thrilled when its bedtime! 🙂 I’m glad you mentioned you’re toast after dinner. I thought it was just me. By 7, I’m spent!
Jessica R. says
Thank you SO much for writing this! I have an 18 month old and we rocked her to sleep up until about 10 months and then started the “cry it out method” and it lasted all of 3 days and then it was HEAVEN! She slept through the night and went down a lot faster. We have our rough patches (teething nights or just plain ole grumpy) but I wouldn’t trade that time! She needs it and WE need it! I look forward to her bedtime some nights more than others, and of course the time fluctuates a little bit but it’s around the same general time. I love me some mommy time! 😉
I could be your sister from another mother : ) I know when I’ve reached my limit…my kids always went to bed early. I never understood how these mothers could handle their kids up at all hours. At some point the party has to end! I remember a mother asking me one time in a conference (I was a Kindergarten teacher) how to get her son to bed. She said he was never in bed before midnite. Pretty sure I gasped.
What works for each family is different when my kids were little they were asleep between 8-9. When they started school we were in bed earlier and on weekends sometimes it was after 9. I am not a morning person I am a night person and my husband works nights. I worked part time at a daycare and bedtime for some of my kids were 7 and I wondered how did they have anytime to spend with their parents if they went to bed so early.
The Domestic Fringe says
Shannon, I agree. Each family is different. I wrote this No Fuss Parenting Series, because readers wanted to know more our family and how we are bringing up our kids. I had no idea this post would go viral on Pinterest. It’s getting thousands of hits a day and my fear is that too many people will think this is a “how-to” series. It’s totally not. Just our story.
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
I love my baby to pieces but gee his 2 hour nap time is my favorite time of the day. It’s my “mommy time”.
Midlife New Mom says
Amen for the early bedtime, I say – for all the reasons you list and more. My one-year-old goes down at 7 on weekends, often about 6:30 weeknights as he doesn’t nap as much in daycare. It creates margins in our lives that really does preserve sanity, and he really does need 12 full hours of sleep. I’ll keep that bedtime as long as I possibly can. When did you start letting them stay up later? Just curious.
Apple Hill Cottage says
Your kids must love posing for those goofy pictures. They are so cute! Even with the blue mustache…
Charming's Mama says
I would be a hypocrite and you would think me insincere if I told you I didn’t look forward to bedtime some days, actually more days than not. If they aren’t in bed and asleep by 8pm I start going a little bit mad. Don’t misunderstand I love my children dearly and for the sake of my sanity and their psyche we keep to a bedtime that works for our family.
Rachel Hurst says
My children have never seen gremlins, but I have this fear if they do when they get older they’ll be like, “that explains why Momma would put us to bed early and warn us that if we didn’t go to sleep, Mean Momma was going to come tuck us in. Mom’s a gremlin!”
* disclaimer: Mean Momma is for real. She doesn’t snuggle or give giraffe kisses, etc… she is all buisiness. “You’d better get in bed and stay put, young man/lady. I have had it. I need my sleep too. Now, I love you and I will see you in the morning., but the only reason you habe to be out of this bed is if you need to go to the bathroom or are sick. If not, what will you get? (A spanking.) That’s right, a spanking. Do you understand? Good. Night.”
The Domestic Fringe says
Ha! Gremlins…that’s great. 🙂
I actually stopped afternoon naps sooner than most parents did. My kids didn’t seem to need them, and then we had an earlier bedtime, something I always looked forward to.
Wait, its bad to look forward to bedtime?? 🙂 Those are great reasons for early bed! And I’m going with “its good for them” too. I mean, its good for me, and she’s half “me”, so… Yes.
Rachel Hurst says