Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Kids in bed by 7? Dream ON!

PC asked me a riveting question the other night: How (the hell) do people get their kids in bed by 7pm?

And we both looked at each other and responded at the same time: I. have. no. clue.

Seriously... no freaking clue how people have their kids fed, bathed, teeth brushed, stories read, and lights out by 7pm. I know there are a TON of families that do it - but we are not one of them, and frankly, we never will be.

The earliest we are all in the door throughout the week is probably 5:15, but its more like 5:30, 5:40. If dinner is planned ahead, its probably ready and on the table by 6:15ish, but if its not, then we are looking at 6:30 to 6:45 most nights.  We often finish eating when Wheel of Fortune is on, which airs every night at 7, so what does that tell you. We eat late... we always have, and we probably always will - that's how we roll.

If you are keeping track, its now after 7 and we are still at the dinner table in our house... then if its bath night, that takes us anywhere from 7:30 to 8, then we have to get pjs on, teeth brushed, and coax a 2 y/o onto his bed (which really isn't that hard unless he's full of energy from supper).  Now we are talking 8:20 to 8:30ish, and then its story time. By the time we read a couple of books... its closer to 9pm before we call it lights out for the night. And that's only if I'm in drill sargent mode, with my bull-horn on repeat.

I don't really know what I would do if there was some law that stated kids must be in by 7pm... I don't think we could do it, unless we went without supper or a bath which are not options. We also try to fit some quality time in there too, which happens more so on the non-bath nights, but regardless, a 7 pm bedtime would be more than a real challenge, it is down right impossible here.

In a couple of months when we get H on the same type schedule we'll have two boys to run through the paces - so then the question will become: How (the hell) do you get two kids in bed by 7 pm?  And I know the answer will remain a mystery here.

There are two key factors when it comes to solving this mystery... there's PC and I, and then the boys.

I have to admit, and it probably comes as no surprise to those who know us well, but PC and I are slow movers. Even when we are rushing, we are slow moving... and I kinda fear we are going to pass this trait on to the boys whether we consciously know it or not. Even now, E (like any 2 y/o) takes his sweet time when getting ready to go anywhere... and we let him, because even when we say 'ready to go?' we really mean 'ready to go in another 5 minutes'.

The good news is that the boys (who knows what H will be like, but E for right now) is fairly even tempered and easy to get along with, even at the end of the day. Even when he's exhausted, he can still be quite an enjoyable little boy, and this is truly a plus, but its also part of the reason I think its closer to 9pm every night before E is fast asleep - because he's not kicking up a royal fuss. Most nights, when we actually turn the lights out, he goes to bed with a goodnight kiss and hug and that's the last we hear from him until the next morning at 7:30 or 8 am - and that is perfectly fine with me.

I know there is no parenting rule that says kids must be in bed by 7, but I do know there are people that pass the 'wow, those kids are up late' type judgment on others, but I really think, you do what works best for you, and right now, the 8:30-9 pm bedtime is working for us, and until we have school-aged children and early school mornings to contend with, this is how its gonna be!

Do you find it hard to get your kids in bed at a decent hour or is an early bedtime just come naturally to your household?

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Alicia said...

Evenings seem very rushed in our house too. It seems like as soon as we finish eating dinner it is time for bed. My E goes to bed between 7:30-8. I used to do 7-7:30 but it was way too rushed. Plus if I wait til 8 ish he is more willing to go to sleep because he is tired. I have a friend who puts her daughter down at 6:30 every night...how is that even possible!?

Anonymous said...

I think it's more important to look at your overall schedule than the actual time on the clock. My son is three and while he does go to bed by 7/7:30 p.m., we are also up between 6:30/7 a.m. in order to have breakfast, get dressed and get to daycare for 8 a.m. By the time he goes to bed, he's had a 12 hour day (including an afternoon nap). If your son is up at 8 a.m. I'm guessing your daycare drop off is later than ours which would make your entire day about an hour or so behind ours, but in the end it works out to the same thing. Don't worry about the time on the clock.

Chelsea said...

I agree with the above comment - your day must start later... or is E home with you? If that's the case then your schedule is likely flexible and you need not worry as much about time...getting him out the door and getting yourself to the office. Enjoy while you can, once daycare drop off times are again looming things may feel hectic for the first little bit. I am also a firm believer in doing whatever works!

SC said...

Yes, our day does start later at the moment as I am on mat. leave right now and E is still going to daycare full-time until the end of the month. However, even when I had to go to the office, we were leaving the house at 7:15 am for daycare drop-off, but it was still 8:30 or 9 before bedtime.

I think we are just a later than usual family! I like what you say about it not being about the hour on the clock but the length of the day. I know I'll be trying to bump up the bedtime slowly as my mat. leave winds down so that when I am back to work, hopefully we can achieve an 8pm-ish bedtime - as that will be a mega-accomplishment in my books!

Anonymous said...

When I returned to work for the first 6 month my child was in bed by 6:30. She was so tired I no other choice

I have to leave the house by 6:30 to go drop her off at daycare and don't pick her up before 4:20. We usually eat around 5:30 and right after dishes are done it's either bath time or play time (on the none-bath nights).

She now goes to bed around 7:30...witch is a lot better. We actually get play time together.

But don't get me wrong...I also agree with everyone else that you do what is best for you.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is any one right answer. Gavin is in bed between 6:30/7 every night. This said, I am home with him and if I worked outside the home, our schedule would be much later. This schedule works for Gavin and for us. It is nice to have our nights for just us though, but Gareth does miss out on a lot of 1 on 1 with Gavin. I think as long as everyone is able to cope, you do what works for you and forget about the judging stares !

Julie said...

I agree 100% that you have to go with what works for your family.

I'm one of the crazy ones that enforce a strict 7 pm bedtime but we are an early-rising family. My kids are up before 6 and T still takes a 2+ hour afternoon nap (3 on weekends) so we have to be in bed early. B's school starts at 7:45 so we're stuck with that as well.

I don't find it rushed but we get around it by staggering our start times at work. I do the 7-3 shift so I can pick up by 3:40 and be home by 4 most nights. DH works 8-4:30 so he gets some time in the am and pm.

Steph said...

Great post...my little guy is 10 months and I have wondered about this throughout my mat leave. Michael gets up at 7 and we do bath and bottle at 8 and he's down by 8:30. I know it's late for someone so little and I'm even embarassed when people ask me about his schedule but it works for him. And for us. Every kid is so different that you have to figure out what works best for him and for you and only you know. Sounds like you're doing an awesome job!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sara. 8pm in our house is when the girls go to bed, however we get home with them at 4:15. We're done dinner & dishes by 5:30 usually leaving plenty of time.

Steve W.