Daddy Thinks

Do kids go to bed too early?

Written by Daddy

One thing that varies enormously from one parent to another, is the bed times that we ‘allocate’ to our children. It has got me thinking about how and why we decide on the times we do, and it leaves me wondering when is the right time to allow my kids to stay up later?

At the moment my daughters R and LA go to bed at 7pm roughly. Recently that time has become more and more rough. Not only are they getting older, they’re 6 and 5 now, but we’re now smack bang in the middle of a summer heat-wave and the daylight hours are definitely dragging themselves out. Some nights it’s still bright at 10pm, which probably screws things up leaving their body clocks telling them it’s still early and time to play.

An easy solution would for me to go out and buy some blackout curtains and snuff out the sunshine at the bed time they have set. However I think that days are too short as it is, why should I deprive them of a little extra ‘up’ time while the sun is out? Sure they may be a little more tired the next morning, but kids always manage to find energy from somewhere.

My eldest son LU is 3 years old and his bed time is 6pm. Again that can quite often turn into half past by the time he’s ready, but despite part of me thinking it could be time to extend his bed time, he never ever fails to go straight to sleep. He must burn himself out through his constant misbehaving and tantrums. Unlike the girls – who seem to think it’s always too early for bed – LU always seems more than happy to hit the sack.

Finally there is baby C, our 5 month old son. As a baby he doesn’t really have a set bed time just yet, but we try to send him to the land of nod between 6.30pm and 7pm. It can often take a while for him to drift off, you know what babies are like. The bad eczema on his face doesn’t help, especially in the current heat as it gets really itchy for him and when he itches he either scratches himself of knocks his dummy out which wakes him up.

I personally think it may be time to give my daughters an extra half an hour at least, possibly even an hour so they go to bed at 8pm. They definitely have the energy to spare most days, and although it will mean less ‘rest’ for Mummy and I it could also have it’s advantages, such as extra time for the girls to learn by reading books or doing ‘homework’, or just some nice quality quiet time with Mummy and Daddy to finish off their day without the noisy boys continually distracting us.

How old are your children and what time do they go to bed? When do you think the time will be right to allow them to stay up later? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, i’d love to hear your opinions and advice on this.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge


  • I’ve never found it possible to have 7pm bedtimes due to commuting or other after school stuff. So my kids have always gone to bed 7.30 earliest. Currently my 5yo goes to bed at 8pm and is usually asleep by 8.30. She gets up at 7.30. NHS advice is that 5yos are meant to have 11 hours sleep and it falls to 10 hours when they are 8 or 9. Hope that helps!

    • To be honest I tend to disregard advice from ‘establishments’. For me every child is different and will have unique needs in every aspect of their life including the amount of sleep they need to be at their best, and no NHS guideline can take every single kid into account. I think we will allow ours to stay up a bit later in the very near future – they seem to be ready.

  • Well, we used to have a bedtime routine, between 7-8pm he used to go to bed, but then we went on holiday and kind of fell out of it! It’s know anywhere between 8pm when he falls asleep with his bottle, or 11pm when we go to bed… Eek :/ Really need to get into a routine again!

  • For our 3 year old term time bed time was 7pm so we were up in time for nursery and groups. But now its the holidays we are more relaxed with bed time being somewhere between 8 and 9pm. Our 18month old has gone all Mediterranean since its got hot. He now has a 3+ hour nap during the hottest part of the day and stays up until 10pm. Advantage is they both sleep later! Disadvantage no child free evening. We’ll worry about getting back into a “proper” routine closer to September.

  • S is 15 months and she goes to bed at 6 usually. On days when she’s been at nursery, she really needs to go to bed at that time.
    I sometimes think I’m being a bit harsh putting her to bed too early, when I look out the window and see the neighbourhood kids outside playing – but they’re often out there til 9:30 and gone.
    S’s father used to try and force his kids to stay up as late as possible if he wasn’t working the next day, to make sure they slept late. It worked with the older ones, but the 4 & 5 year old were up by 5am every day, and just more cranky if they’d not been allowed to sleep til gone 10pm.
    I say if they sleep when you put them to bed, then that’s the right time. If it’s a constant struggle to get them into bed, maybe re-think it.

  • For the longest time my wee boy went to bed at 7pm. He’s now 15 months and for about 2 months now he’s been going to bed at 8pm. I follow his lead to a point & this 8pm bedtime seems to be working for him as he’s now waking most mornings at 8am. Bliss! Sad when you’re excited about waking at 8am