Some comments on the challenges of bedtime shared with me:
-old times families went to bed at the same time regardless of age
-old times they worked harder manual labor and were more tired at night
-old times they went down and up based on the sun
-limiting screens before bed helps
-Time reading to children etc. before bed helps them go down.
-perhaps let kids stay up later with the rest of the family as they aren’t as tired due to not doing manual labor.
-Whatever you do, look for family unity solutions.
-Be kind and patient
We have bedtime struggles too… I think we just don’t spend as much time with our kids as they need, so when bedtime rolls around, they don’t want to separate. At least, on days that I spend a lot more quality time with my kids, I notice they go to bed MUCH easier.
Not waking kids up at the same time each day, and consequently them not being on a good sleep routine is also contributory, I am sure.
I wonder sometimes if it has anything to do with the fact that us parents want that quiet time at night and so we don’t go to bed at the same time…..as a family. For some reason it has entered my mind that people used to go to bed at the same time…. especially before electricity (down with the sun and up with the sun) because that was the way they had to do it. Now, we adults want that quiet time and we get upset because we can’t get it until the kids are in bed, so we are impatient with them…..all the while we’re doing something unnatural and probably less healthy (parents going to bed chronically late).
I’m feeling blessed now. I don’t have much of a struggle, but I’ve got a routine down that we’ve followed for years.
I do know that the not wanting to go to bed is a new thing though. Going to bed must have been easier when the most thrilling thing to do was read a book by dim light.
I’ve got two main thoughts:
1- electricity. Through the ages, when the sun went down, life slowed and calmness descended, candlelight is even calming. I think there’s something powerful there.
2- energy. Kids who had to work farms and help all day were exhausted. The wealthy who had servants laboring for them stayed up later. When my kids work hard or play hard for most of the day, they’re much better about going to bed.
I’m sure there’s more to it than this, and I certainly deal with bedtime woes. My 3 yr old is often up later than all the other 6 children, sometimes even past 1 a m. She’s a hard one to get to sleep.
We have had struggles in the past, but my 3yo (child number 7) has a bedtime routine that he loves. We brush teeth, he picks out a few stories for me to read to him while we lay in his bed, turns out the light and shuts the door (has to do it himself!), says his prayers, and then listens to the thunderstorm app on my phone until he falls asleep. I stay with him until he is asleep, and I love that time with him.
It probably helps that my husband and I like to go to bed early, too. We all do, with the oldest ones having early morning seminary, and I like to wake up super early to do prayer/journal/scripture study. There just isn’t much interesting going on at our house after 8 or 9pm.
The blue light from digital devices prevents melatonin production, so cutting off screens–tv, tablet, phone, etc–long before bedtime is important. I also really dislike artificial light in the home, so I keep lights dim in the evening and even quietly start turning lights off around the house an hour before bedtime as a cue for everyone to start winding down.