walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

children's bedtimes

I have some Issues when it comes to enforcing kids' bedtimes. These largely revolve around my parents enforcing a 6 p.m bedtime when I was in early grade school (I think 3rd or 4th grade) with beatings if we were caught up reading by the hall light. When a teacher at school predictably raved about what a good reader I was, I mournfully (and completely innocently) noted that my reading was a Very Bad Habit and one I needed to break. The teacher, not unexpectedly, inquired and was horrified when I (again, totally innocently -- I did not grok that this was something One Didn't Talk About) explained that I was regularly beaten with a stick because I wanted to stay up later reading. Very shortly thereafter, and at the time somewhat mysteriously (this is something I pieced together years later), my parents took me aside and told me not to tell my sisters, but if I wanted to get up and read by the hall light, as long as I was quiet and as long as I got up in the morning I could do so. At the time, of course, I was kind of charmed to have a little deal on the side. When I got older, I became convinced that like employers who stop their employees from discussing pay so no one knows what's up, my parents were similarly cutting separate deals with my sisters. Efforts to ferret the details out of my sister R. have thus far failed, which makes that theory increasingly implausible.

I mention this because over at the Well (I keep thinking how nice it would be if the NYT went out of business and all their bloggers continued on their own, or at some other site; especially Tara), there's a pointer over to an article by a pediatrician, about her own kids' bedtimes, and the Obama kids' bedtimes. If you are interested, you can pursue it yourself. I won't give them the traffic, altho I will note that the people who worry about their kids and themselves getting enough sleep are rarely the people who probably should be worried about their kids and themselves getting enough sleep.

I think kids and schedules are a piss poor combination. That said, for several months now T. has had a strikingly consistent bedtime and bedtime routine, even tho we've made no effort to create a routine and have on occasion actively thwarted it. And that bedtime is a _lot_ earlier than it used to be. Sadly, he gets up a lot earlier, too, which is a real bummer.

A.'s habits are still fairly flexible. She sleeps every few hours during the day, and she sleeps a good long stretch only partly waking up for snacks at night. I'm sure some day she'll disappoint me too, by developing a regularity I will find somewhat deplorable. My favorite personal schedule, adopted in college, and maintained until the kiddies started arriving, was sleeping from about 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. Alas, I haven't been able to sustain staying up that late for years, and the last few months I haven't been able to sleep in that late, either. Which just goes to show you that setting a 6 p.m. bedtime is kind of pointless.

All that aside, I _do_ believe that people need to get enough sleep. I even believe that there are times of day and night when sleep is more rewarding than others (trying to go down for a nap at 10 a.m. for me is really tough, but napping at 3 or 4 p.m. is really easy). I just don't think it should be taken quite as far as our culture persists in taking it.
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