Bed time !

?? - posted on 09/12/2010 ( 34 moms have responded )




I'm really lax with bed time but we have a routine that is pretty consistent. With his nap being hit and miss lately, I've found his bed time has fluctuated a lot, but our routine remains the same.

My boyfriends grandma is constantly on my back about how my son needs a set schedule to thrive off of. Every time I have tried and keep him on a set schedule - he goes bat shit crazy, fussy as hell and it never sticks. His crankiness ends up throwing off the 'schedule' even more so than if we had just gone with the flow like we normally do. I've tried explaining that to her but she just figures I'm not doing enough to make it work. I've told her to butt out a thousand times because he thrives off of the routines we have for individual aspects of daily life without every minute being scheduled.

Do you have a set bed time and routine?

Does your child(ren) thrive off of a schedule or no schedule?


Sara - posted on 09/13/2010




I think all kids are different, and you have to do what works for your family. However, I am a big believer in rountines for Rowan and bedtimes. With bedtime, there's a window, but she goes to bed in that window. Naps have been a bit tougher lately, as she seems to need them some days and not other, but I still lay her down and make her have "quiet time" even if she doesn't sleep.

I honestly think that routines not only function to help the child rest, but they also provide a sense of security for the child. They know what to expect, and that helps them developmentally. I think there are definitely some things that need to be child lead (eating, potty training, etc), but bedtime is not one of those things IMO. Ro can be running around not acting tired 5 mintues before bedtime and will say "No" when you tell it's nite-nite time, but as soon as her little head hits the pillow she's out.

I think it's worth mentioning though that being too rigid with things can probably have an ill effect on your child. It can make them nervous and unwilling to try new things, I think (my niece is like that, her parents were really strict) They're still a kid, afterall.

[deleted account]

I have what I call a 'flexible' schedule with my daughter. We work within specific windows of time. ie she wakes between 7-7:30am, has her breakfast shortly after and a bottle roughly around 9 and a nap roughly around 10am. If she's tired, I put her down earlier. If we go over and she's down a bit later, so be it. She generally wakes an hour later but if she sleeps longer I let her and just adjust the rest of the day accordingly. I don't say "Right, 3pm off to bed now", it's more like some time 30min plus or minus that time. I feel she does thrive on knowing the general order of the day and roughly when it's going to happen but I also feel our 'go with the flow' attitude works well too. Makes for a very calm and relaxed day. For bedtime we have a general routine. Daddy changes her nappy and then one of us will give her her bedtime bottle and then read some stories before bed. She goes down without a fuss. We take her in any time between 6:30 and 7pm depending on her mood. She's usually in bed 7:15 at the latest.

If your 'routine' is working for you guys then tell your boyfriend's grandma to back off. Why fix what isn't broken? But if you do want to have a 'flexible' routine like ours (though I must say, it sounds like you might already do??) then I suggest noting your day and seeing if there's a pattern and then working from that. :)

[deleted account]

I posted before I read the comments, and I'm pleasantly surprised that everyone has just about the same opinion on this! A similar topic came up on the Young Moms community and 90% said a set bedtime was essential to a child's well-being and discipline. And that my child would be a wild and rebellious teenager because I didn't force her to go to bed at a set time. What a difference an intelligent group of women makes!

Petra - posted on 09/12/2010




Routine, yes. Schedule? Hell no. My little guy would settle into a schedule and promptly destroy it a week later, so I found that trying to create a daily schedule of naps, feeding and playing was useless. We do the same things every day according to when he gets up, how long he sleeps, etc. I think once kids get a bit older and you can actually communicate with them, scheduling is a good thing. But I've totally gone with the flow and the result is that he has settled into our routines and tends to do things at pretty much the same time every day - but on days that he is teething, constipated, tired, etc. I'm not going to try to make him abide by "my" schedule...

I'd tell grandma to stuff it. I had to tell my mother and my MIL to back off with some of their words of wisdom too. Do what feels right for you and your LO and don't worry about what everyone else thinks.

Jess - posted on 09/12/2010




Ava is a demand feeder even now at 13 months, she eats when she is hungry and not a minute sooner. This makes it hard to have an exact schedule, so we just go with the flow. She wakes up whenever she wants and then I do things in a set order with her from there. I think children thrive off of what they are use to.

I have tried strict routines with Ava, and like with your son it just made for an unhappy baby and it simply didn't work !

Kids have no sense of time anyway, so as long as your child knows roughly what is happening next, for example dinner is followed by a bath and shortly after is bed than I don't see why it needs to be done to a set time.

Do what works for you and the child you have, its the only way to make it through this parenting gauntlet without doing your own head in !

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C. - posted on 09/16/2010




From what I've seen, kids DO end up doing a lot better if they have a schedule while growing up.

We had a routine, but b/c I've been feeling ill lately, it's kind of been thrown out the window- but not on purpose. I try to get up early to get my son up and have him eat breakfast before 830a. I try to put him down for a nap after lunch (which I usually try to feed him no later than 1p) and feed him dinner by 630/7p. And he does get a snack or two between lunch and dinner, depending on how hungry he is. And we try to get him to bed before 930p. My husband tries hard to be in bed by 9, but it's usually more like 930. He gets up around 515a, so he needs his sleep and we try to get our son to bed by that time so my husband doesn't get woken up by the sound of our son playing or running around.

Our bedtime routine is just getting him to settle down for a little bit. Sometimes he'll ask for milk and if he does, I warm it up just enough to take the chill off to help calm him. We make sure he has a clean Pull-Up, put him in his crib, turn on his shows (at night it's usually Little Bear or Gullah Gullah Island- he's in our room at the moment) and then he falls right to sleep within 10 minutes or so. When we had him in his own room, we played soft music and kept the disc on repeat all until we knew he'd be asleep (sleep timer). Now that he's older, I'll have to get a different bedtime song CD. But that's the same thing we're going to do when he's back in his own room- in place of the TV, it will be music.

All in all, it really is better to have a schedule, though. I really wish I wasn't feeling so crappy so our schedule would get back on track b/c I feel like it ruins our day when we don't stick to one.

Joann - posted on 09/15/2010




from what you say your son as a schedule/ son goes to bed at 9pm and is up at 730 8am and has no nap thru his day.this is his schedule he is only 4 but if i try a nap or an earlier bed time he fights me and my hubby he will rebel and stay up all night then be the grumpiest lil one the next day, if your child is in a rountine and he seems healthy happy and full of energy dont change it. have her come and try HER routine she wants and see if SHE can get him to stick to it if she feels like youre not doing it right.otherwise keep doing what youre doing.

Vicki - posted on 09/14/2010




I'm a young mum and was determined that I would have a baby that slept. My daughter was born 5 weeks early and spent 3 weeks in hospital to which no routine was followed but after i had gotten over the initial shock of bringing her home and working out how the hell to take care of a baby, i followed a bedtime routine everynight, of play (stimualtion time with a young baby) a bath, milk then bed. Once I had taken my daughter out of the bath, i made sure the lighting was very low and talking was kept to a minimal and also very quiet. I gave her lots of cuddles and then put her down to sleep. Ever since she was 12 weeks old she has more or slept beautifully through the night - only waking when she has been ill/teething.

BUT then again people tell me that every child is different, but it worked for me so i would encourage anybody to try a routine - what do you have to lose?

Jessica - posted on 09/13/2010




We have a set routine but bedtime varies between 7 and 8.30. Because I work shifts, it is isn't always possible for Josh to have a set bedtime. We are both happy with what we have and he sleeps fine. Wakes up once, put him back to bed where he sleeps till about 6 when he crawls into bed with me for half an hour before we have to get up.

Joanna - posted on 09/12/2010




Paige has never been a schedule follower. It just doesn't work for her or us as a family. There's no set bedtime, just a roundabout time we try and get her in bed (between 9 and 10). And no real routine. When she was younger we tried the whole bath, bottle, story routine, but it didn't help any more than just cuddles and putting her in her crib did. Now that she's potty training we make sure to give her a small snack/cup of milk, cuddles, and then after she uses the potty it's toothbrushing and then bedtime. That's as close to a routine as we have now.

Nikki - posted on 09/12/2010




We have a schedule for certain things and not got other. I have always said my son is not a robot and will not shut down when the clock strikes 9.
He wakes up anywhere between 8am and 10am we have breakfast and then we usually go for a walk or take the dog to the park.
We have lunch at 12 and he goes down for a nap around 130 and that nap is like clockwork but thats about it, its so weird that everyday I can put him down at 1:20 and he actually falls asleep by 130 and sleeps normally 2 hours
Then he wakes up we play run errands, everyday is different. He has dinner between 6 and 7 and then he has a bath.
We normally go for an evening stroll in his wagon and he walks home, its amazing because he loves to be outside so hes not cranky near bedtime and he wears himself out.
Then sometime between 830 and 10 he goes to bed, if there is one thing I have learned with my son when it comes to bedtime is to follow his schedule not mine, I wait til he is tired and then I put him down, people may not agree with me but honestly if i put him down and he is not tired he will not go to bed, he will fuss he will cry he will get super mad and the last thing he will do is go to bed and then he ends up staying up super late. So until he is ready we dont put him down and every night normally before 9 he goes down, the odd time 930-10

Jo you know what is best for your child and thats what matters

Lyndsay - posted on 09/12/2010




We have a daily schedule, but we're not rigidly fixed on it. It all depends on what we're doing in the day, I'm not going to drop everything just so we can eat dinner at exactly the same time every night, and if we come home half an hour later than his usually bed time it doesn't make a big difference.

ME - posted on 09/12/2010




We have a pretty regular routine around here...Miles gets up around 6 am, he has lunch at 11:30. He naps from 12:30-2, then he has dinner between 5:30-6pm, and he takes a bath and reads a couple books, then goes to bed...bedtime is rarely before 7 and never later then 7:30...Unless something happens like: we have dinner at grandmas/my parents house, and get home late...The thing with Miles is that no matter what time we put him to bed, he wakes up at 6 am on the nose...I figure, the longer he sleeps, the better...

OH...and, about whether he functions better with a schedule or not...Miles falls apart without his schedule, but we are sending him to preschool two days a week this semester to try to help him deal with a little bit of change...

Stifler's - posted on 09/12/2010




I used to be like that when Logan was really young. Because I had no idea what to do and wanted his routine to be predictable so I knew what he was crying for. But since he turned 4 months he does whatever and I know a bit more about him.

Johnny - posted on 09/12/2010




Ah, people who've listened to everything grandma said. Or read just one parenting book and decided to follow it word for word.

I remember having a kid in daycamp once whose mother would get furious if she found out that they'd had lunch at 12:30 instead of exactly at noon. Noon is lunch time, no room for negotiation.

If you want to live life like that, don't send your kids to outside childcare.

[deleted account]

Some people are crazy about their schedules. We had some parents at my work who wanted their son to be in his cot from 9-9:20am regardless of when/if he fell asleep. If he feel asleep at 9:15 we were still expected to get him up at 9:20! How nuts is that! A sleep cycle is 45 minutes so I have no idea what they were thinking. With their older child they always insisted she slept for a hour even though she always ALWAYS woke after 45 minutes. Some parents just need to relax.

Johnny - posted on 09/12/2010




We have a routine that we generally stick to that is based on her rhythms, not some arbitrary time that looks right. She gets up around 6:30 or 7 am. Naps around 1pm for about an hour & a half. And is in bed around 8 pm. Most nights. That's when she is tired and when she will fall asleep best. If something happens to alter it, no big deal. Saturday night was our co-op barbeque and she was out playing with all the other kids and eating chocolate cake until 7:30 pm. Needless to say she wasn't going to come in and suddenly go to sleep. So we got her into her pajamas and put on a movie. She went to bed easily at 9:15 and was back to her routine today.

I must say, if I could I'd probably move her bed time earlier a bit. But by the time I pick her up after work and we get home, it's already 6 pm and I still need to cook dinner, we eat, and then bath, pajamas & books. I've never found a way to get that to happen in less than 2 hours. Hopefully when she starts daycare which is right by our house, we'll be home by 5 pm and it should be doable. I hope she adjusts to it without starting to get up at 5 am. That would not be a winning situation.

[deleted account]

Also it is always worth remembering that everyone is different. So although some people need strict exact schedules and are uncomfortable without them, some of us need more relaxed routines that allow us a little freedom so we do not become claustrophobic and children are just the same. As Dana said it is more important to read your babies/ childs needs then to do something just because.

[deleted account]

Those silly young moms....they probably just read somewhere how important it is for kids to have structure and took it too literally. Structure doesn't mean being SUPER of the most important parts of parenting is being able to roll with the punches....we all need to be flexible once in a while.

Jocelyn, I think it's AWESOME that Cooper still naps...I hope Roxanne keeps it up too! Sleep is SO important! My mom says that I napped right up until I went to preschool.

[deleted account]

We have a routine but not a set schedule. I may need to alter the timings a little now autumn is here as Ethan has started sleeping in until 8/ 8.30am which is fantastic (it was 6.30/ 7.30 during summer).

Generally he wakes around 8am ish, then he has his breakfast about 30 mins after he wakes (whatever time it may be, unless we have to be somewhere like one of his baby groups). He has his morning nap at about 9.30am ish until about 10.45/ 11.15 ish usually, followed by his lunch around 1/ 1.30pm. He has an afternoon nap at about 2.30pm ish until about 4pm ish then has dinner at around 5pm and has his bedtime routine from 6pm and goes to bed at 6.30pm ish.

We alter his routine dependant upon the time he wakes and if he is tired/ awake we move his nap times, if he is not hungry we do not force his meals at set times, if he is hungry before meal time he has a snack. His bedtime generally does not move more than 15 mins later.

[deleted account]

We have a very flexible schedule. My daughter goes to bed when she's tired. But that always falls within the same hour for bedtime and within a two hour frame for naps. She goes down for a nap anywhere between 11 am and 1 pm. It just depends on what we are doing and how early she woke up that morning. The duration is generally 2 hours. She goes to bed anywhere from 7 to 8 and she wakes up between 6:30 and 7:30. I don't stress if it's 7:30 pm and she says she's not ready for bed. She'll go to sleep when she's ready and it will be a reasonable time. It's always been like that, so why force it?

Jocelyn - posted on 09/12/2010




We have a general schedule. Conner is normally in bed by 9pm. 8:30 if he missed his nap (yes, he's 3.5 years and still naps once a day! It's wonderful lol) He's in bed by 9:30 if he had a late nap or we are late coming home (for whatever reason). What ever time he goes to bed at he still wakes up around 6:30/7am. Brooklynn isn't on a set schedule, but she is pretty consistent: up around 7am, asleep around 10 pm (with a couple naps in between--she's 11 months in case you are wondering). They both seem to be thriving :)

[deleted account]

Sort of. Bedtime is a flexible 8 for all of us. My son would probably do better w/ no nap and going to bed by 7, but considering that we don't even get home til after 6pm 3 days a week.... that's just not possible. Many nights he doesn't fall asleep til 9. Not sure when the girls fall asleep, but if they aren't quiet while I get their brother to sleep....trouble.

[deleted account]

We're like you - ROUTINE is the key. A sequence of events without being TOO strict or focused on the clock. Naps depend and are a direct result of the sleep the night before. If Roxanne wakes early (5-6am) I'll put her down for her nap before lunch BUT if she sleeps in 'til 7-8am, I'll feed her lunch first and then put her down. AND, her bedtime is another result of her nap. If she naps from noon 'til 3 she won't typically go to bed until 8-9pm BUT if she had a nap earlier in the day she's in bed by 7-8pm.

We've had a bedtime routine since we brought her home from the hospital and IT hasn't swayed or changed. After dinner we wait for her poop (which she ALWAYS does) and then it's bathtime, snacktime, brush her a book or two and then lights out. Works great for us.

Your boyfriends grandman needs to butt out for sure.

?? - posted on 09/12/2010




Oh yea, I promise you, I've told her where to go ;) That doesn't stop her from butting in every chance she gets in order to tell me how it should be done. She does it with everything - she's still stuck in the 60's where feeding your kid cereal was acceptable at 2 weeks. She's tried to undermine MY parenting by whispering to my boyfriend to 'tell her it needs to be done this way.' I've caught her doing that a couple times and tore a strip off her then too.

I'm not looking for advice or input on how I'm doing it, I know what works for my son and I do tell her to shush - I was just using her rigid 'it needs to be this way or it won't work' as an example of the 'opposite side' :p

Lindsay - posted on 09/12/2010




We are pretty much a schedule kind of family...always have been. We are fairly strict on bedtime. During the week, they are never up past 8 pm but on weekends they go down when they are ready. Ususally they are ready around 8pm because that's what they are used to though. In the mornings, the kids wake up on their own but if Madeline is not up by 6, we will wake her up to get ready for school. This has never happened, lol, but on the off chance she ever actually sleeps that late, she will be woken up at 6! We are much more go with the flow during the summer than we are during the school year.

Now that school has started, this is our routine. The kids have to have a shower, breakfast and be out the door for the school bus by 7am so the morning is run on a definate time frame. It has to or we'd be running to school half dressed or with empty stomachs. When she gets off the bus about 2:40 pm, we do snacks and homework. Then the kids play until dinner. We have dinner between 5-6pm every night, then they can play outside or inside until about 7pm. At 7, they clean up their toys and then we figure out what they are wearing for school the next day, they are able to watch TV and quiet down until about 7:45. At promptly 7:45 each night, we brush teeth, get in bed, read a story and lights out. On nights that we have cross country or other activities, dinner is moved earlier and the bedtime routine remains the same.

Stifler's - posted on 09/12/2010




We have never enforced a strict to the hour schedule for feeding or naps but usually try to get him in bed before 8 at least. Dinner time seems to just always be 530 and he just wakes up at 6 -7 naturally in morning. He is a good boy all day when he doesn't have a night feed, but days when he's woken up 5 times the night before he is a terror and won't play by himself or stop screaming and won't nap properly either. My parents are anti-schedule too pretty much so I don't cop any shit for it and we've travelled far too much since he was born to keep to a schedule anyway.

Krista - posted on 09/12/2010




We have a bedtime schedule, but we do allow for a certain amount of flexibility. He usually goes to bed by 7pm, but there are times when it's a little later (never later than 8, though). Of course, as he grows and changes, the schedule might need to change as well. I'm pretty similar to Anika in this -- it's a "flexible" schedule, which CAN be handy in planning out your day, because then you have an idea as to when he'll want a nap, when he'll want lunch, etc. It DOES make things a lot easier when figuring out when a good time is to go visiting or run errands.

But honestly, if your way is working out well for you, just keep saying to your BF's grandma that you can see the value of scheduling, but that your son is doing really well and thriving, so you have no plans to fix what isn't broken.

Jessica - posted on 09/12/2010




It sounds like you know your child and what works with him, and you're doing the best thing for your situation!

My son's 15 months and we've always tried to go off his cues. We based his nap and sleep schedule off what seems to work best for him. We have kept a fairly consistent routine and bedtime and he does well with that. I am not sure what is going on with his naps- he may be starting to get to the point where he's going from 2 to 1 so its making things a little off at times. We usually get his bath ready at 6:30, he takes a bath and plays for a few minutes, we put his pajamas on, then we read a story and sing a song and put him in his crib. He's pretty lenient though for the most part- if we are out doing something and are later getting home, he goes with the flow pretty well. But if we're just hanging out at home, we stick to that otherwise he will be too cranky.

Sarah - posted on 09/12/2010




Ours is pretty much a set time every night (between half 7 and 8pm) On the weekends or holidays, it can be a bit later. I wouldn't have them staying up past 9pm though. Sometimes when they go to bed, they don't actually go to sleep, they share a room, so they often play later.
I think it's important that they go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a full nights sleep. I've always thought that from the beginning, but I'm even more insistent on it since my eldest started school. I think having it set up from the start helped avoid any arguments once school started.

We have a pretty set routine each day, but again, that's largely due to my eldest being at school. You can't be so flexible as they have to to be at school on time etc.

I think routines are good, although I think some people can take them too far and keep the timing too rigid. I think as long as your kids aren't still tearing around at 3am when they have school or nursery or whatever the next day, then do whatever works for you. :)

Kylie - posted on 09/12/2010




We don't have a schedule and never kids goto bed when they are tired..which happens to be around the same time most nights. We have routines which set a rhythm in the household but it's never set in stone. Children like the security of knowing what to expect but i don't think that means there has to be a timetable. I know a few people who have a firm 7pm bed time and dont deviate..but they do more for themselves and their sanity.

Louise - posted on 09/12/2010




All children do better on a schedule as they know the routine and tend to sleep better but saying that if you are happy with your make shift schedule and your child is sleeping ok then why change things. The only problem you will have is when your child starts school and then you will have to stick to a reqular bed time to guarantee he gets the sleep he needs.

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