Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Do You...Set Bedtimes When Children Are Different Ages?

How do you juggle multiple bedtimes? 

I answered this question during the original run of this series and much of what I said remains the same, but as my kids have gotten older we've made slight changes.  (Click here to read what I said then.)

Since my 3-year-old and 5-year-old no longer nap, they are ready for bed by 7:00-7:30 pm.  They brush their teeth, get a drink of water, and sit on their beds while I make the rounds.  I usually take a few minutes to read Alaine a story, talk to her about her day, or discuss what is coming up tomorrow  She also likes me to lay out her clothes for the next day.  (She has a touch of OCD like her Mama.)  Then I move on to Ben's room. He reads aloud to me for about 5 minutes before I turn out the lights. Both kids listen to music as they fall asleep. 

My older kids (ages 7, 9, and 11) aren't ready to sleep at 7 pm, but we need quiet in the house so as not to disturb the younger two.  Since Alaine occupies the girls' room and Ben occupies the boys' room, the older kids are allowed to hang out in the master bedroom after 7.  They each read for 20 minutes and then they rotate nights choosing an audio book.  While listening, they are allowed to look at books, draw, or color, but no playing or loud talking is allowed. When they finish a disc of their audio book, they have to straighten the room and head to their own bedrooms-- usually around 9 pm.

My How Do You...? series is back for a limited time.  I'm in need of some fun ideas for topics.  What do you want to know? Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page

In the meantime, you can browse the archived index of past topics.


  1. I love this idea. Right now all of our kids go to bed at the same time (typically about 7:30) and then listen to one disc of an audio book. Usually, most of them are asleep by the time it's over.

    I like that you have the older kids in your room so you can finish up your work and hopefully have some down time with Brian. We'll keep this in mind for when we no longer have a baby in our room :)

    1. The older kids feel like being able to stay up longer is a treat for them, but it definitely helps me, too. I love still having quiet time when Brian and I can talk or watch a movie or read.

    2. At what age did you start letting the older ones stay up later? I'm thinking we still have at least a year or two. Emahry does stay up later listening to the audio book, but she normally falls asleep by the time it's over or shortly after, while Amelia and Eliya fall asleep within 15 minutes if they haven't napped.

    3. I think Gavin and Maddie started staying up later when they were around 7 and 9. It started with Gavin. He has never needed lots of sleep (even as a baby) so he wasn't tired when the other kids were going to bed. We would let him read with a flashlight in bed. Then one of us got the idea to try audio book so he and Maddie would stay up together. We did not include Owen until less than a year ago (so sometime around age 7) because he was always the first one asleep of the younger kids. He would be out as soon as his head hit the pillow while Ben and Alaine were still fidgeting in their beds. :-) Once the two little ones gave up naps, though, and started going to bed even earlier, Owen graduated to "big kid" status.


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