What Time Should My Kids Go to Bed?


Chances are that, since this is the Quad City Moms Blog, you are a mom reading this right now; or else a super cool dad who reads mom blogs. Either way, you have a little one that at some point needs to go to bed. What time is the right time to put your child down for the day? Do I even know what time my kids should go to bed?

Kids don’t come with instructions.

In the world of parenting, much like in the world of dieting, there are so many different opinions on how to do things. Some of us spend countless hours of our lives researching and educating ourselves on how to make the right choices as parents for any given situation. Why didn’t these kids just come with instructions? Seriously! I’m sure this would have been the one set of instructions I would have read!

Who am I kidding? I probably would have:

  1. Looked at them very briefly
  2. Realized I didn’t need them because “well how hard can it be?”
  3. Tried this parenting thing
  4. Realized it was much harder than I anticipated
  5. Finally, I would have decided to actually read the instructions only to realize they were very poorly written and I still had to figure some of it out on my own!

All we know is kids need to go to bed at some point.

The point is, they don’t come with instructions so how do we even know when the “right time” to put them to bed is? According to Sleep.org, this is how much sleep our kids actually need:

  • Newborns (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
  • Infants (four to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers (one to two): 11 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (three to five): 10 to 13 hours
  • School-age (six to 13): 9 to 11 hours
  • Tweens and Teens (14 to 17): 8 to 10 hours

However, as they clearly state “there’s no one-size-fits-all solution” bedtime at our home is at Mom o’clock! Yes, you read that right I said Mom o’clock because the kids’ bedtime in our home it’s not necessarily about them: it’s about me! There comes a time in the day after doing this wonderful thing we call “adulting” for hours at a time when I’m simply done. Working full time and homeschooling my three kids does cause that time of day to sometimes be at noon. I promise I always fight the urge to cash in my chips then!

Bedtime is important business.

In all seriousness, it is super important that our babies get the sleep they need to be healthy functioning individuals. Just as much as I believe that, I believe that it is also important for us to be able to say, “Okay, guys it’s time for bed because mommy needs to relax.” The kids’ bedtime is whatever time I’m ready for my night to begin.

Of course, you will be faced with the usual, “But I’m not tired” but guess what! It’s not about them! The time your kids should go to bed is all about you! It’s about you being able to get to bed at a time that helps you function better. It’s about a few minutes with your spouse to catch up on your favorite shows. It’s about taking a second to unwind or wine up!

Our days are all about them so next time you feel like it’s only 8 pm and you’re done for the day, don’t feel guilty for putting them to bed even if your friend’s kids are up until 10 pm. Get some blackout curtains, give them a book to read or look at, and put those kids to bed at MOM o’clock!

A version of this story was published on Sep. 27, 2019, by author Bere Boyer; it has since been updated.

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