Thursday, May 24, 2012

How Do You...Juggle Multiple Bedtimes?

How do you manage bedtime with a wide range of ages? 

When my kids were all under five, it was easy to keep a single bedtime.  In the summer, it was between 8 and 8:30.  In the winter, it was between 7:00 and 8:00.  We noticed, however, that as Gavin grew older, he wasn't ready to sleep as early as the younger ones.  It was also harder to convince him it was bedtime when the summer sun still seeped around the pulled curtains.  Since he shared a bedroom with his younger (sleepier) siblings, we gave him the privilege of going to bed with a book.  He was allowed to stay up until he was tired as long as he was reading.  Reading settled him and made him sleepy so we never had to set restrictions on his reading time. 

When we moved to our new house last year, the boys got a bedroom and the girls got another.  We still keep Alaine's bed in our room, though, so we worked out a new bedtime routine.  Between 7:30-8:00, we all pray together and the three youngest are tucked into bed.  Gavin and Maddie then go into the girls' bedroom to listen to a portion of an audiobook.  They are allowed to stay up until 9:30-10:00, but the guidelines are similar to what they would be if they were in bed.  They cannot be loud.  Then cannot come out into the house for drinks or snacks or to talk.  Unless they need to use the bathroom, they need stay in the bedroom, quietly listening and winding down. 

Do your kids have different bedtimes?  How do you manage it?  Let us know in the comments.

If you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail   


  1. Nope, but sort of. LOL. All the kids over 2 go to bed at 8:30 and we turn on an audio book in the hall for all to listen to. However, the oldest daughter is 10 and she often stays up with me to help settle the littlest two (age 1 and age 4 mos) because my husband usually has to be in bed by 7pm to get up in the wee hours of the morning for work. It's actually become a nice time for my oldest and I to have some 'girl time' and talk, so I hope to continue it as she gets older.

  2. @Tristan,
    I love your idea of letting your oldest stay up to help you with the babies. Audio books or calming CDs are probably in our future, but thankfully, everyone usually goes to bed fairly early still.

  3. In our house, all children go to bed at 7pm until the age of 8. After that, their bedtime moves back 15mins each year until it hits 9pm. No one stays up later than that.
    So currently our children's bedtimes are as follows:
    2yo & 6 yo - 7pm
    10yo - 7:45pm
    11yo - 8pm
    15yo - 9pm

    The three youngest share 1 room, and the two oldest another. This never seems to cause any problems with staggered bedtimes as the children are in the living room with us until their bedtime.

  4. Do I dare admit this, knowing everyone will *gasp*, lol.
    Our littles (10, 7, & 4) go to bed between 10 & 11. Our biggies (15, 18, & 23) usually go to bed around midnight. My kids have never been much of sleepers, stopping napping around 18 months. Just in case anyone is wondering, they all get up between 6 a.m. (23 yr old) and 8 a.m. (15 yr old). (the other 4 get up around 7.) They take after me I suppose, 6 hrs is plenty sufficient for this mama. *smile*

    ~ Sheri

  5. I used to read in bed by the light of the hall light. Now....I canNOT go to sleep {unless I'm dead tired} without reading even just a chapter. I guess it's a soothing thing to me. :)

    As far as my kid's bedtimes. The baby {18 mons} goes to bed sometime between 6:30 and 8. Mostly around 7. But whenever she seems sleepy. The older boys {3 & 5} go to bed at 8:30. I never really considered let the older ones have different bedtimes, but I know as they get older that will be something to think about. Love all these ideas!


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