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.)

10 thoughts on “Bedtime

  1. Judy

    I am a born night owl and imagine I will be outlasting my kids well into the their teens. I have been going to bed midnight or later since high school. I think each family is different and finding the time whether it be morning or night which is what matters.

  2. I’m a night owl and I can’t remember enforcing a strict bedtime (or arguing over it). We slept when we were tired, as simple as that. We did just fine 🙂 We had to be in bed and reading or resting, though.

    I usually outlast everyone… but mostly because I work at night because somehow, I can never complete everything I need to do during normal working hours :-/

  3. I saw Annie’s post too and wondered about that. And I feel guilty too because I am not a night owl and never have been, but DH is.

    My DH is a night owl. He is inevitably up way later than me and sometimes falls asleep on the couch. I think those are poor sleep habits and do not want the kids to get into the habit of falling asleep on a couch in front of a tv. He agrees with me and is ‘working on it’.

    I’m the opposite. I love early bedtimes, be it for reading, for watching my sitcoms, or to get some well deserved rest. I am a morning person and cherish beyond reason my early mornings of alone time. So bedtime is early for me and I’m not ashamed to admit it (9 is a good time for me).

    The kids, at 11.5 and almost 9, are in bed usually by 9 as well. So far we’re not enforcing it, it just happens that way. They both like to read in bed and they turn off the lights on their own when their eyes get tired. It has not been an issue,s o far. They seem to feel the need to be lying down and getting rest, and I will take credit for teaching them to learn how to listen to their bodies. Will this work in the future teen years? Time will tell. Both kids are in highly active sports, one in competitive hockey, so the need for quality rest is definitely a priority here.

    So the evening bonding is not really a thing here for us parents. I don’t know, maybe we’re weird. We spend more time at the rink than we do on the couch at night at bedtime. Who says you can’t bond at the rink? 🙂

  4. I am a morning person, so one of the challenging parts of the teenage years was the period of time after they became old enough to start staying out late at friend’s houses but before they got their driver’s licence. I would be SO ready to be tucked in for the night but would have to stay up late to go and retrieve them.

  5. nicoleboyhouse

    My kids go to bed slightly later than I do. They actually kind of tuck ME in. But I get up at 4:30 in the morning, and so I am basically in a coma by nine.

      1. nicoleboyhouse

        Well, they mostly get ready on their own, then my husband tucks them in. I see him when he gets home (around 6:30) to bedtime, except on karate nights. I used to try to stay up to tuck the kids in but I was generally kind of cranky and tired, so this was actually the best solution.

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