What’s the “right” bedtime for kids?

Try talking about your child’s bedtime on Facebook and you may see squabbles that break out in the comments section.

There’s a now-viral chart floating around social media about what time children should go to bed. It lists different wake-up times and then you can find the corresponding bedtime, according to their age.

Many parents think the times in the chart are ridiculous and unrealistic, and get defensive for putting their kids to bed much later than the “recommended” times. It says if a five-year-old is waking up at 6 a.m., they should be asleep by 6:45 p.m. Let’s hope that five-year-old’s parents have installed blackout shades, because during the summer that bedtime is two full hours before the sun goes down.

Our kids have always had especially early bedtimes and we protect those bedtimes fiercely. It started because our eldest is a person who — like me — really, really needs a good sleep.

He’s a morning person and naturally wakes up early, but his internal clock doesn’t take into account that he may have had a rough sleep or a later-than-usual bedtime.

If he’s habitually waking up at 7:05 a.m., he’s getting up at 7:05 a.m. whether he’s rested or not.

We pushed his bedtime up when he started Primary because that first month can be really exhausting (on the whole family). We needed to be up at 6:30 a.m., so we started enforcing a 6:30 p.m. bedtime. Twelve whole hours he was expected to be in his bed, asleep.

And you know what? It was perfect.

We’d head upstairs at 6 p.m. to brush teeth, put on pyjamas and read stories. The lights were out by 6:30 p.m. and he fell asleep almost immediately. Sometimes he’d wake up just after 6 a.m., but he got almost the full 12 hours he needed. On the days he didn’t get a good sleep, everybody knew it; he’d be weepy and hysterical over absolutely nothing by 4 p.m.

According to doctors, kids who are between three and six years old need 10-12 hours a night and kids between seven and 12 need 10-11 hours.

But that’s our son. Let’s talk about our darling daughter.

She does not follow the rules of the famous sleep chart that’s all over the internet …

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene … 

So what do you think?

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