To Sleep, Perchance

Zaphod and Trillian are mad, mad mad – and I can’t say that I don’t blame them.

They are getting to the age where they are easily embarrassed, especially about their home life.  And last night, it came to a head at church, over a subject that has been a point of contention in our household, almost from the moment we brought Zaphod home from the airport.

Our kids have an incredibly ridiculous, unreasonable bedtime. 

They are sent to bed at 8pm Central.  8:30 in the summertime.

Keep in mind, they are not 4 and 5, they are 10 and 11 years old.

Last night, we were rushing to get home from church to get the kids in bed, and we got the funniest looks from other parents, and even funnier looks from the children in the room.  There were 6 year olds who said their bedtime was 9 or later.  My kids were mortified.

Lintilla is absolutely adamant about not changing the bedtime, though.  And, what’s funny is that she has science on her side.  Children Zaphod and Trillian’s ages need 10-11 hours of sleep a night.

It’s funny – Lintilla gets absolutely frustrated with me when I adhere to the speed limit on the interstate, although I am being passed by every other car on the road, even those driven by little old ladies.  This is a similar situation.

NOBODY makes their kids get the recommended amount of sleep anymore.  Except us.  We send our kids to bed before dark this time of year.

Here’s the thing: I know that our lights out policy at home is partially responsible for our kids’ incredible grades and test scores.  But, I’m afraid the kids are approaching an age where grades are far less important than peer approval.  I know that Lintilla and I have to be the adults, and ignore peer pressure, doing what’s best for our kids.

However, I think totally ignoring their peer group is a recipe for disaster down the road.  We have to walk a fine line.  Plus, they feel we treat them like ‘babies” and are not letting them “be” their age.  Even if “being their age” means getting less than the recommended amount of sleep per night.

I’m wondering if we’re doing the right thing, or being entirely unreasonable. 

What time do your kids get in bed?  If they are older, what time did you send them to bed when they were around 10 or 11?  Do you think they get/got enough sleep?

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12 Responses to “To Sleep, Perchance”

  1. x117236 Says:

    A is 9, he goes to bed at 8:30, lights out at 9. Except for bad nights like last night when he put off his project for so long that it was 11:30.

    R is 4, he goes to bed at 9:30 or 10. Yes, later than his older brother. However, he is still in a daycare that makes him take a 2 hour nap in the afternoon and he isn’t ready to sleep at 8. His time will be early when he starts school in August.

  2. Busy Mom Says:

    Ours go to bed whenever we catch them.

  3. Ashley Says:

    I think you’re nearing the ages where they kind of learn to judge when they’re tired and ready to pack it in… Maybe to avoid a big blow up over something as minute as ‘bedtime, y’all could compromise with the kids. 9 &10 years olds should at least get to stay up until 9-9:30 in the summer. I have two boys (5 & 2) and their collective bedtime is 8-8:30..

    Also, I think it’s very responsible for y’all to bother to look up the recommended rest per night – but it is just an estimate.. all kids are different..

  4. ford prefect Says:

    First off we are wusses when it comes to inforceing bedtime rules. Add to that that both our kids inheritied our love for staying up late. Now Z is 19 and I’ve got no idea what time he goes to bed but he is out of school and doing his own thing. Now if he would just do his own thing at his own place! (but that is a completly different subject!)
    L is a different story, she turns 13 next month, we try very hard to get her into bed by 9:30 but we usually fail at that so she usually averages getting into bed around 10:00 or 10:30, but with my current schedule I’m home in the mornings and she usually gets to sleep till 8:00am or so. So she averages 9 to 10 hours a night.
    I guess alot of it depends on the individual kids and their ability to get up and moving in the mornings. L has never been a problem in that department where as Z when he was younger was a holy terror every morning no matter how much sleep he got.

  5. dolphin Says:

    8-8:30 sounds about like when my bedtime was at that age.

    I had an incredibly early bedtime (I think the latest it ever got was 9) until I was about 13 or so. Then “bedtime” vanished altogether, and I just went to bed whenever I felt like it. I suspect most people gradually get later bedtimes. I didn’t. I went from very early to none at all pretty much in one fell swoop.

  6. Susie Says:

    My 2 at 17 and 15 have had the same bedtime since they got to middle school…10 p.m. Mostof the time J can’t keep her eyes open past 9:30 and we have to gripe at D to get his butt in bed on time. When they were younger it was 9 p.m. On the weekends they still have bedtime no later that 12 on Friday night or 11 on Saturday so they can get up for church. Trust me, your kids are reaching the age rapidly where nothing their parents does is right, and they think they are smarter than you anyway, so if you feel like it is important that they go to bed then stick to your guns. You might be a little more lenient on Friday as they get older.

  7. nm Says:

    I think you are approaching this question backwards. An arbitrary bedtime, especially one of the “in bed with the lights out” variety, can lead to severe insomnia: kid isn’t ready to sleep, lies in bed awake, body goes into being-awake-in-bed mode, so sleep doesn’t come when it is needed. (This happened to me as a kid, and it took me years to get over the insomnia.)

    A more reasonable approach is to give them a time to be in bed (in their pajamas, with teeth brushed and all that stuff), with the overhead light off — but to let them read with a bedside lamp, sit up, whatever they want to do quietly, until they are ready to turn off the lamp and fall asleep on their own. This has a lot of advantages. It gets your kids out of active play or study mode at the appropriate time for them to start winding down, gives them autonomy in terms of control over when they fall asleep, and lets them establish natural sleep patterns.

  8. GingerSnaps Says:

    I must laugh, because from the day Amanda was brought forth from my body, she has *never* wanted to go to bed at the normally prescribed times as set forth by Spock (or Capt. Kirk or whoever the child rearing authorities are these days).

    Why, she might miss something!

    So, I spent a few years beating myself up over being a horrible mother who couldn’t control her child to now just making everything quiet, and like nm said…giving her the opportunity to fall asleep on her own without a bunch of drama. She doesn’t seem to need as much sleep as the usual amount that kids her age do…she never has…and she has good grades, etc. So…I suppose it’s all in how you pick your battles.

  9. nm Says:

    Oh, yeah, I should have said: my best friend when I was a girl was put to bed on this system, and if she ever stayed awake as long as half an hour after be-in-bed-quiet time it’s news to me. And it was all so low-stress for everyone. No drama, like Mary J. Blige Ginger says.

  10. sista Says:

    Bedtime schmedtime….mine go whenever they crash. That’s kinda how it was when I was coming up. I know that’s not really “structured” and all. I’m loose about stuff like that. Probably shouldn’t be.

  11. bridgett Says:

    My 9-year-old goes to bed at 8 and reads or we sing together or tell her stories for about a half-hour as she winds down. Lights out at 8:30. I guess that puts me on the hardass bench with you and Lintilla. We don’t have to worry about peer pressure because she doesn’t do any night activities — when her dance class is over at 7:30, all the kids go home.

    My experience was like dolphin’s. I had a 9 pm bedtime until I was a sophomore and then I had no official bedtime thereafter…but I did get a “Are you ever going to bed?” hollered from my parents’ room if I was up past 11.

  12. Precious Says:

    Reading this makes my deicsions easier than taking candy from a baby.


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