Early Bedtimes: Tuesday’s Tip For Moms

Back when our first child was born, we made a decision that was smarter than we realized at the time and we have reaped the rewards for the last 12 years.  We set an early bedtime for our child.  As soon as our baby was settled into a schedule, we put her to bed early.  In our house early is 7:00 pm.  Our children’s bedtime is still… 7:00 pm.  (Well, we generally move it back to  8:00 during the summer, and then back to 7:00 when winter rolls around again.)

An early bedtime is advantageous for a number of reasons.

It ensures that our children are getting enough sleep. Since we rarely have to wake our children in the morning, we know that they are getting adequate sleep.

It allows Mark and I to have some quiet time without the children every evening. This is much better, in my opinion, than a date night once a month or even once a week.  We are able to refuel and reconnect or just discuss family business.

It allows me to go to bed early if I wish. ’nuff said.

It allows our family to be hospitable in the evenings without disturbing our children’s schedule. We host a few meetings in our home, a men’s prayer meeting and our mom’s meeting.  Both of these begin at 7:30, so the children are already in bed and Mark and I are able to focus on our company.

It allows us to be flexible with our schedule. Since we know that our children are getting enough sleep we can allow them to stay up late occasionally.  One of the ways that we help our children to be servants is by teaching them that the world does not revolve around their schedule.  So if we have company with children over and our children are up until 11:00 or so, no big deal. There will be time to catch up.

It allows us to spend special one-on-one time with our children. We periodically allow our children, one at a time, to stay up late and have special time with mommy and daddy.

Every family is different, but having an earlier than typical bedtime has been a terrific  decision for family.

Now its your turn.  Post a Tip for Moms link back to Raising Olives in your post so that your readers can come and read other tips if they desire and then use Mr. Linky to link to your post (not your homepage) and include a 3-4 word phrase describing your tip*

1. Dawn
2. Sasha (Playdough recipe)
3. Kristin (Chore System)
4. Angelia
5. Jama (Buddy Time)

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* Mr. Linky is back in my good graces. The support is fabulous and I have been assured that my problems were part of a temporary glitch and that things are going to be happy, happy from here on out. So link away!

To make linking back to Raising Olives super easy, you may also copy and paste the following into your post:

Tuesday’s Tip for Mom is a blog carnival hosted at Raising Olives to allow moms to share what they have learned along the path of motherhood. Join us every Tuesday as we learn and share tips and ideas for spending time with, encouraging, training or relating to our children.

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27 Responses to Early Bedtimes: Tuesday’s Tip For Moms
  1. Sasha
    June 2, 2009 | 1:42 am

    I totally agree. Bedtime is 7.30 in our house, with the occasional 8.00 – and I love having a few hours with Brad, just to have some quiet time together.

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  2. Pure Mommy Extract
    June 2, 2009 | 2:19 am

    We have an early bedtime as well. Our children are in bed at 6pm, though now the 3 year old is “staying up” until 6:30 or 7pm. We enjoy it for all of the same reasons stated above. It works well for our family too!

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  3. Kristin
    June 2, 2009 | 4:56 am

    I have to admit that we are not diligent in sending our children to bed early. It always seems that the evening gets away from us and before we know it, our own bedtime has arrived. I am hoping that having our schedule in place will help us to accomplish carrying out earlier bedtimes for all.

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  4. Cardamoms Pod
    June 2, 2009 | 7:30 am

    Hmmmm, since I have to wake most of my children in the morning, probably an early bedtime would work better. But with Dave’s schedule I have to be flexible – for a few years we would eat dinner at 8pm to be able to eat with Daddy before he left for his night job at 8:30pm… Now, his 12-hour days have him home at 7:30pm and he likes to see the children for a bit. So probably 8pm is the earliest it would work for us…that would give Dave and I an hour and a half before he needs to go to bed. Always tweaking!

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  5. Tracey (momtofivekids)
    June 2, 2009 | 7:44 am

    I wish my kids went to bed early. Right now my older kids have been getting to bed around midnight! My husband has been spending quality time with them in the evenings. It’s starting to become a bad habbit though. 7:00 sounds really good!

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  6. Dawn
    June 2, 2009 | 9:26 am

    I completely agree. Bedtime for my kids is 8. They start getting ready for bed by 7:30, sometimes earlier. I used to have mine in bed by 7 like you but now that they’re a little older we have made bedtime a little later. My husband and I do find the time together each night refreshing and much better than a “date night”. I wrote about our schedule this week, too. I will try to link in.

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  7. Lisa
    June 2, 2009 | 12:03 pm

    When younger, like grade school our kids went to bed at eight. As some of them got older we set their bedtime for nine. For the “nine o-clockers” they would not always go to sleep at nine but be in their rooms and doing something quiet. They become responsible for getting to school on time and if lateness becomes a problem they loose their nine o-clock bedtime and return to eight. My husband and I also are usually in bed by nine, sometimes we read together or talk, sometimes we crashout before the light bulb can switch off. We can tell when one of the kids is tired…they are cranky! Kids usually need more sleep than adults. I ran a daycare for years. It was easy to tell the difference between the kids who go to bed early and the ones who stay up late. I bet any teachers out there would say the same.

    Does any one have a child who has a hard time quieting down at bedtime? What do you do that works for that? My oldest two boys still to this day (though they are grown and on their own) both have trouble with transitioning to bedtime. I am no longer in charge of them, but it was a difficult issue when they were at home.

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  8. Stephanie
    June 2, 2009 | 1:26 pm

    I am wondering if this is for all ages and if so when will it change for the older children who don’t need as much sleep.

    Thanks

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    Raising Olives Reply:

    Stephanie,

    For our family this bedtime is for all ages. Since our oldest is 12 I can’t speak for children any older than that, but from what I have read, teenagers actually need more sleep than pre-teens, about the same amount as young children around 9-10 hours a day. There have been a lot of articles written about sleep deprivation in teenagers, including the discussion of beginning the school day later because teens aren’t getting to bed early enough at night. Of course the stereo-typical teen is the kid who has to be dragged out of bed each morning for school. All that to say, that I’m not convinced that older children don’t need the sleep.

    However, when we consistently get the children into bed at 7:00 or 8:00 (depending on the season) we will put on a story or music on CD or MP3 in their bedroom. This is win-win for everyone. If someone is tired a softly playing story will not keep them awake and those who are not yet in need of sleep will listen and enjoy the CD.

    Also remember, our family gets up early. I am up by 4:30 or 5:30 when I’m not pregnant or over committed and 5:30 to 6:00 when I am. The children are allowed to get up at 5:30 and their schedule begins by 6:00. So pehaps a later bedtime may be appropriate for later risers.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  9. Angelia
    June 2, 2009 | 1:44 pm

    Hello Kimberly, I agree that children need a set bedtime. I think that having a routine is very important, as they know what to expect. There is comfort in dependability. I linked back to you as well. much love, angelia

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  10. Stephanie
    June 2, 2009 | 3:05 pm

    Thanks, I was thinking of real littles that need more than 9-10 hours a day I guess. I wasn’t thinking about getting up that early either.

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  11. Raising Olives
    June 2, 2009 | 3:41 pm

    Yes Stephanie. Our real littles still get afternoon and/or morning naps that take care of that extra sleep requirement.

    As always, thank all of you for taking the time to comment! Comments=Love 🙂

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  12. Nikki
    June 2, 2009 | 5:17 pm

    Our children’s bedtime is 7 p.m. as well. But I really like what you said about being hospitable in the evenings. I never thought of that. Why not? They’re in bed already. We’ve had a few friends express a desire to get together for occasional game nights. This would work well. How obvious! And it never occurred to me. Thank goodness for you Kimberly!

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  13. Multi-Tasking Mommy
    June 6, 2009 | 9:47 pm

    We’ve had to do this in our house too.
    My question for you is what time do your kids wake up at?
    My daughter was waking up so early (5:15ish) so we had to move her bedtime early so that we knew she would get enough sleep. She is 4.
    It is very nice to have evenings to ourselves!

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    Raising Olives Reply:

    Our children usually get up between 5:30 and 6. I prefer that they sleep until 6, but we do allow them to get up as early as 5:30 and come snuggle with mommy, while I read my Bible. They do have to be quiet in order to not lose the privilege.

    I’m a huge morning person, so them getting up early works for me. Sounds like you have one of those yourself. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  14. Cardamoms Pod
    July 8, 2009 | 8:01 am

    Just wanted to update that now that Dave’s schedule has changed, we are putting the children into bed by 7pm and their lights go out at 7:30pm. They may wake at 5am if they want to see Daddy before he leaves, but I’m shooting for a 6am “you have to get up” time for the whole household. Already, the little girls who would normally sleep through an alarm will be up at 6am, turn off the alarm, and be out in the living room right away. Amazing what a difference this has made in the evenings with Dave having to do extra study for work! The house is quiet – I go take care of the little discipline “fires” that crop up. Thanks again for posting this.

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  15. April E.
    August 5, 2009 | 12:45 pm

    How do you get them to fall asleep that early? We have never done early bedtimes, but when we do put them to bed, they lie awake forever, it seems.

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    Raising Olives Reply:

    April E.
    I think that the key is consistency. We try to put them down at the same time each evening, they have been going to bed at 7 since they were just a few weeks old. We also wake early each morning, so they are ready for bed by bedtime.

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  16. Emily
    August 30, 2010 | 10:13 am

    I have always lived by the rule that “sleep begats sleep.” A kiddo who is over-tired often has more difficulty going to sleep…I would say that those who don’t seem to be falling asleep easily may actually not be getting enough sleep.

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  19. Jamie (@va_grown)
    November 17, 2010 | 9:36 am

    Finally got time to shift through a lot of your site and LOVE it–and appreciate it! We do an 8 pm bedtime that has been drifting towards 8:30. It’s considered early to a lot of people we know that work and keep their kids up later so they can see them more in the evenings. We did it for all of the GOOD reasons you mentioned and thanks for reminding me! I’m recommitting to get them in bed, ASLEEP by 8 pm (which means story-time/lovey-time in bed at 7:30). Wish me luck! 🙂

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  20. deanna
    May 12, 2011 | 1:45 pm

    I am new to your blog and am reading old archived posts, and came across this one on bed time.

    I am wondering if your older children really go to bed that early? I have a 13 year old who insists he isn’t tired and he wants to stay up late. I don’t want him alone creating habits of being on the tv or computer late at night. But my husband and I would like that alone time you speak of and to get ourselves in bed at a decent hour. We try to spend some time with him at night but I think that is partly why he wants to be up late, to be with us.

    I don’t want to deny him time alone with us but the late nights are becoming a burden. I am worried now that he will be mad if we re instate an earlier bed time. Any advice?

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  21. Kirsten
    April 18, 2012 | 7:47 pm

    Do you have a post on how you handle specific bedtime issues?…drinks of water, getting out of bed, scary dreams, potty breaks, noise level etc…?
    Congratulations on #11…can’t wait to see him 🙂

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  22. Hannah VW
    December 6, 2012 | 1:19 am

    We got into the later bedtime habit when my husband was commuting and hour or more (plus setting his own hours, so often home around 7:30) and it has worked OK for us. One advantage is that my kids don’t fall asleep on the way to (or during) our evening church service on Sundays. But I do wish for more alone time with my husband! Trying to gradually shift it a little earlier.

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  23. Bethany
    January 5, 2013 | 12:12 pm

    Hello!
    This is my first time visiting your blog and just want to thank you for all the tips. I am happy to be on a blog that shares the same views(even using the word “littles”, haha, I call my kids that are 8, 7, 5 and 1 littles and have not heard anyone else use that term before!).
    Im off to pick up more tips. Schedules are my downfall as I seem to be pregnant all the time, haha. We are due in April so I plan on making a revised schedule similar to yours starting in May…so thanks again!!!
    Bethany

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  24. Kathy
    February 5, 2013 | 2:27 pm

    Hi! I think your early bedtime is great – I’m just wondering how the older kids view this. Do they balk at going to bed at the same time as the preschoolers and grade schoolers? Are thy allowed to read if they are not tired? Thanks…

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