Bedtime for a 7 year old ?

Danielle - posted on 06/24/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Hey everyone, I don’t have kids off my own but am looking for some advice with regards to a major problem one of my friends has with getting her 7 year old daughter to bed. I was talking to my friend on the phone at about 10:30pm on Sunday evening when she said she would have to go as her daughter had just come in as she has been playing in the street with her friends. Now I know its not for me to say as its not my daughter, but 10:30pm as a bedtime seems bad enough, but for her little girl to only just be coming in seems really bad. Especially when you consider she has to be up for school the next day and my friend sent me a text just after midnight saying she had only just got her into bed.

The thing is, this isn’t just a one off. I normally see my friend at least once a week, usually off a weekend but I will sometimes pop in during the week and I am yet to witness what I would call the normal sort of bedtime routine that I see when I visit my other friends who have kids. If I see her of a weekend I will drive home and generally don’t leave till after midnight but her daughter will still be up, in fact the latest I have left is about 4am and she has still been up watching the TV then.

Without going into to much detail, she has been on her own since her husband died about 4 years ago and has found it difficult working part time 5 days a week and bringing up her daughter on her own. She has slacked off on the discipline side of things and now seems to be stuck in this situation. I have spoken to her about it a few times and on other occasions when her daughter has been quite badly misbehaved. With having no kids of my own I wouldn’t consider myself to be any sort of expert and at times I feel a little reluctant to say anything to her, but having been brought up by parents who were quite strict and having witnessed how my other friends deal with these things, I have tried to offer support and guidance. Whilst she has acknowledged that she knows there is a problem, nothing much seems to be changing, mainly due to the fact I don’t think she knows what to do or how to fix things. So my question is, what is the best way to sort this out ?

Should her little girl be given a fixed bedtime such as 7pm straight away ? Or should it gradually be reigned in bit by bit over the course of several weeks ? What generally would be considered the best bed time for her ?

My friend normally takes her daughter out on a Saturday on Sunday with her to the shops, should trips and treats be stopped until her behaviour improves ? Rather then my friend buying her items as treats, should her daughter be given a small amount of pocket money to spend at the shops ? Should this be based on how good she has been and if she has been sticking to her bedtime ?

At the risk of sounding slightly selfish, I have started to find the fact the little girl is always up so late is starting to spoil the time I spend with my friend. As I have said already, all of my friends have kids and I quite enjoy playing with them when I visit. I don’t mind keeping my friends daughter entertained for a few hours but I don’t want to spend the whole of my Friday or Saturday evening being dictated to by a 7 year old on what we can watch on TV and not being able to finish a conversation with my friend. (Sorry if that sounds a little harsh.) There are a few times I have considered telling my friend I wont be coming around until she gets things sorted. I am not sure if that would be to harsh or if it would be the kick up the bottom she needs. Any advice would be greatly appreaciated.!!

Thanks, Danielle x x

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Dot - posted on 06/26/2012

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I hate to say it, but unless your friend has specifically asked for help, sticking your nose in will likely cause strife in your friendship. Its her kid and she can do as she pleases, whether you deem it "approiate" or not. I wouldn't say anything at all.

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