Parenting

Why my child has a set bedtime (and why I don’t care if your child sleeps late)

I have always been a stickler when it comes to my son’s bedtime routine and I don’t plan to let up anytime soon. You see, he has always had what I see as an ‘early’ bedtime from since birth. Of course, taking into account the fact that newborns sleep when they want, I took the advice of establishing a bedtime routine from the holy grail of new parenting info: Babycentre. It was basically one of the few routines that worked for us. Eating on a routine didn’t work, nor having set activity throughout the day.

From since birth I did the feed, bath, feed and then bed routine and we went to bed at around 6pm. I would breastfeed him and we would cuddle in my bed until he fell asleep and then I would deposit him into his bassinet and wait for his next wake up. Then the bedtime routine evolved to dinner, bath and bed at 7pm (around 2 years old). He kept this bedtime routine until about 3, which was when he finally began to sleep through the night (yes, you read that right! Before that we had multiple wake-ups and I was always a muddled mess with lack of sleep). Anyways, so around 3 years old when he began Preschool, we realised that bedtime pushed naturally to 7:30pm since they would take a nap in the afternoon (something we/he stopped doing when he was home previously). This nap gave him his second wind and he would only be able to wind down to fall asleep by 7:30. This was also when we added another element: reading a story before bedtime, so the routine changed to: dinner, bath, story (in bed), and sleep.

Today, at 5 years old, his bedtime has stretched to 8pm. This is the absolute latest that I would willingly have L up and honestly, unless we are out at night (which is rare), he would show signs of tiredness, or fall asleep fully around that time. So 8pm is his bedtime, no back-sies, no negotiations.

This is compared to most of my friends who have children. The majority of them have either not established set bedtime routines like I did at the start and are now seeking to do this now. Some don’t care to establish any routine, and are fine with their children ‘naturally’ falling asleep. If that happens at 10pm or 2pm; it works well for them.

Honestly, I don’t care when other people’s children go to bed; I just care about mine because I know I lose my shit around a certain hour every day when I have had enough of ‘peopling’ and ‘parenting’. That is the moment I need someone to no longer need me; that is the moment I need to not hear someone say the word ‘mommy’.  For my sanity and his safety, L has to be in bed at a time when I still am able to have some mommy time, and if I am still awake; some adult conversation with my husband. So if you are ok with bonding time ’till late, more power to you! Rock on until the break of dawn!! I however, will be trying to hear myself think and attempt to say a sentence that does not get interrupted every two words.

As an introvert, I constantly need to refresh and recalibrate and while I love my son to the moon and back he is at that age where he is asking a question every 5 minutes and decides that he cannot do something and absolutely needs my help to do it. If I don’t separate, I am incapable of being the best mommy I can be and I would definitely be snapping at him all the time. So kudos to all who have early non-negotiable bedtimes, and kudos to those who don’t. Good luck to the those who are now setting bedtime routines (You can do this! Don’t give up!!). Let’s just all focus on rocking this parenting and sleep thing right!

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