Tonight I had all five kids in bed by 6:45. ***I think I heard angels singing!!!!!*** There was no whining or fits. Garrett is at a Brian Reagan comedy show and it was just me and them. I fought the battle and won!!!! (It’s been a hot and tiring day, so we all needed it.)
When we first started having kids we got a lot of advice on a lot of things but one of the main pieces of advice we got from people (who were parents themselves and raised good kids) was to have an early bed time. We did this from the beginning, starting with Eden.
Now I need to point out that we are not regimented on bedtime at all. We believe we are the parents and can adjust bedtime as needed when attitudes, whether great or horrible, dictate such. So, during the summer lights out gets pushed back to 8/8:30 and during the winter rarely do our kids see past 7:30. It’s just the way it is. We are not sticklers if we have people over (accept for the baby because she can sleep through anything) or when we go over to someones house. But, I would say between 50-75% of the time we aim to get our kids to bed by 7/7:30. It isn’t always easy but it has been worth it. <–Remember our kids are all under the age of six, this will naturally change as we deal with older children.
So, I lay out my case for the early bedtime (and I totally understand that this doesn’t fit everyone’s personalities, lifestyles, work schedules, etc… this just works for us and honestly, I shouldn’t even have to point that out because these are my own opinion but whatevs, we live in a world full of offended people):
- Do it for yourself. That sounds awfully selfish doesn’t it? I am a stay at home mom who is surrounded by little bodies (five on the outside and one on the inside) all day long. I love being home but by the end of the day I’m done being touched, talked to, and ready to call it quits on cleaning up little bodies. So, by putting those little people to bed early, it gives me time to decompress and relax a bit before I fall over asleep in bed.
- Do it for your marriage. Trust me. Putting your kids to bed early is a great way to show each other love, if you know what I mean (How do you think we ended up with a small army? Hello, early bedtime!). After the kids go to bed its our time together. We can sit close and hold hands and hug and kiss without some little person trying to weasel their cute little selves into the mix (and I really do love it when they get in the middle of the love they see). We can also have important conversations that aren’t meant for little ears.
- Do it for them. Seriously, if you start your kids on an early bedtime from the get go they will thrive on an early bedtime. Kids are supposed to get around 12 hours of sleep at night and you know what? When they do they act better. They are more pleasant. I don’t dread spending the day with a child who is clearly sleep deprived. Early bedtimes do mean early wake up times but did you know it is normal for kids to wake up between 6am and 8am? It’s early but with work and school this is a pretty good wake up time in general for most kids and honestly, it is a benefit to us to get ourselves out of the covers then too.
Do our bedtimes always go smoothly? No – I am always amazed at how many times my kids can pee or need their nose wiped after lights out.
Do we sometimes end up walking up and down the stairs a bajillion times to get little bodies back where they belong? Absolutely – this is when I wish I could duct tape them to their beds (Just kidding!!!).
Do I miss sleeping in? You bet – I like being able to get up early but I also like just laying in bed without a little face inches from mine asking if it is morning time every two minutes until I get out of bed.
Do our kids thank us for wanting a good night’s rest for them? Hasn’t happened yet but my bet is one day it will.
Do our kids always have great days after a good night’s sleep? Nope but what kid is always in a good mood 100% of the time?
On nights like to tonight where the kitchen is clean and the kids are all tucked in bed, I can sit back and relax for a little bit and decompress (seriously this heat is making me tired and kind of grouchy – I hate sweating when all I do is step outside and adding a bunch of weight (thanks baby!!!) to my frame makes me even hotter).
There you have it. My case for an early bedtime. Good night and sleep tight!