Someone I know made a post on Facebook the other day, asking how old everyone’s kids were when they started going to bed later than their parents. I was very interested in this thread, as we have been butting up against this very question for a couple of years now. The older two have started going to bed later and later, while I, in my old age, have started going to bed earlier and earlier, and now we’re at the point of passing.
On Facebook, the answers were all over the place – some parents were night owls and outlasted their kids well into their teens; other parents had a regular bedtime of 8:30 p.m. for themselves, so their kids had been staying up later than them for years. One woman mentioned that her 12-year-old daughter was now at the point of wanting to stay up later than her parents, but was still a little freaked out at being the only one awake in the house at night, and so still went to bed when they did, even if she didn’t fall asleep for an hour or two. FASCINATING.
I think I would actually like my older two to pass me at this point. They are 13 and 12 (TODAY, happy birthday Gal Smiley!!), and both have been officially appointed as babysitters for their younger sister so they’re getting used to being alone in the house at night. They’re both starting to be super awake in the evenings, as teens are, and would like both to stay up later, and to have more say over their own bedtimes. For now, though, we still put them both to bed around 9:30, and sometimes we let them read for a bit, but it’s lights out by 9:45.
Meanwhile, I’m desperately trying to stay away on the couch past 9 p.m. Why bother? Both kids still like to be “tucked in” – to have us walk them upstairs and chat for a few moments before bed – and although I’m exhausted, it’s hard to let that go.
The other reason is that post-bedtime used to be time for my husband and I to hang out. Even if we were just watching a TV show together, it was something we did as adults that was just for us. I still try for Couple Time, but it’s getting harder and harder. I usually barely make it to tuck-in time, then we come downstairs and I’m asleep on the couch within 10 minutes. It seems like it’s time for me to just call it, and give up, and go to bed at 9, and let the other three sort things out.
I’d be missing out on some good quality bonding time, though. How does everyone else manage this? I wonder.
(Don’t tell me: COFFEE. SIGH.)