What time do your kids go to bed?


I remember a few years ago now that I wrote a blog post about getting my kids to bed by 6.30pm. It’s funny (this was about 4 years ago now) but not much has really changed. We are still early dinner and bed goers around these parts, it’s just how we roll.

No matter how late my kids get to bed, they will always get up early. Things have improved somewhat over the years, the 5am is now more like 6.30 but pretty much every day, by 7am, everyone is up and at it. Much to the dismay of my 9 year old who loves to tell me how EVERYONE stays up till 9pm EXCEPT ME MUM, we still get the girls in bed by 7pm during the week, read till 7.30pm and then it’s lights out. And pretty much every single night of the week they are asleep within 10-15 minutes. See? They ARE tired.

So for us, the afternoon evening look like this. Maggie is 1, Harper is 6 and Daisy is 9. I am just sharing this because it’s good manners to share something of your own before asking others to share right?

3.20pm Girls arrive from School (if there’s no training or other stuff on) they pretty much eat the entire contents of the house out
4.00pm TV off and home work time
5.00/5.30pm Dinner (yes we eat like Grandparents)
5.45pm Bath (Daisy is my hero and hangs in the bath with Maggie every night)
6.00 -7.00pm Watch TV, read, draw or colour in whatever they like
6.30pm Maggie goes to bed
7.00pm Big 2 head to bed to read for 30 mins
7.30pm Lights out
7.45pm Usually asleep


So while it might look good on paper, I’m still tired. Man I’m tired. I saw Michelle Bridges mention last week that she hadn’t had a full nights sleep in 7 months. Oh how I laughed. 10 years Michelle, 10 years. TEN YEARS MICHELLE.

Anyway, I’d love to know what time your kids go to bed.
How old are they?
Do they still wake in the night, or do you have those magical children that fall asleep and STAY asleep?
Do your kids sleep in or do you need an electric prod to get them up in the morning?
Will my children EVER sleep in?

That’s a lot of questions, but humour me, I’m nosy.


  1. My 3 cherubs are still upstairs reading in bed by 7:30pm on a school night and they are 12, 11 and 9 – they hate me for it! There is no TV they need to watch at that time and it encourages reading. It also means that they can stay up later on weekends with no issues. Let me assure you that sleepins will come. We rarely get out of bed before 8am on weekends even if the children get up earlier. They know how to tiptoe downstairs and turn on the TV!

  2. I have 3 kids, aged 11 and also 8 year old twins. I think they’ve all had different levels of sleep success. My daughter started sleeping through the night at nine weeks and I couldn’t fathom how this miracle baby could just go to sleep and stay asleep, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it. Her twin brother woke every other hour for the first 7 months but then he started sleeping through and she started waking up.

    My oldest son spent a lot of time in our bed in the beginning but after I fell pregnant with the twins I was pretty strict with it not happening anymore and the twins have never slept in our bed.

    For the most part they go to bed at 830pm and wake at 630am, my daughter will stretch this to 9am on the weekend if we’re not getting up for sport. On the weekend they might stay up a bit later like 930. Generally the only wake ups come through illness or a nightmare but on the whole I’m very lucky.

    I don’t know what the recipe for success is but I hope you find it! No sleep is bullshit!

  3. Well my 2 girls were early risers…and everyone. EVERYONE told me they will eventually sleep in. At 13 and 16 they do not sleep in!!! 13 yo goes to bed between 730 to 8. She rows and up at 430. She doesnt even argue that everyone else is up late, shes too knackered. Otherhand 16 would be up half the night , but its gadgets down at 9pm so her bed time is anytime after that , as shes then “bored” with no gadget.

  4. Haha, It’s lovely to see the order that you have, like you said on paper, I wish mine was anything even remotely close to that!!

    My kids are 14 and 7.

    We have monday, tues, wed afterschool/ evening activities, and as a small biz owner, sometimes I can be late home, heading out later, all over the place really!

    But, mostly, we have dinner around 6:30pm, 7pm Miss 7 is in the shower, pfaffs about till 8pm, and its bed time, reading for half an hour till lights off at 8:30. Master 14 does whatever he does in his room all night, unless he has sport or has work, as he’s just started a job at the local fish & chip shop. He’s meant to be lights out by 10pm, but sometimes its earlier, and sometimes its later. I pretty much leave it up to him, and yes he used to be up at 5am for YEARS!!! But now he’s a typical teenager, sleeping in til all hours on the weekends.

  5. Both my kids go to bed between 8-8:30. I’m not home from work until 6 so it’s near impossible to get everything done earlier than that. 7 yr old boy needs to be woken up for school at 7:15 everyday, but gets up happily. 4 year old girl needs a cattle prod every single day! and talk about grumpy. So not a morning person!! On the weekends she gets up between 8-9. They both sleep through the night too. I got lucky. Now if I have a bad night with them (my son woke up vomiting last night and I managed 2 hours sleep) I struggle big time.

  6. I have a 5.5, 3.5 and 1.5 year old. They are all in bed by 7pm every night and asleep not long after. BUT. My son (eldest) is like your daughter in that he wakes me up every night and comes into our bed. Every. Night. Has done so for years. We go through stages of severe bribery to get him to stay in his bed (involving Lego) but he just loves being near us. Thankfully we have convinced him to sleep at the other end of the bed. Our daughter (middle) goes to bed in her bed and stays in there all night long. Every night. She’s been an amazing sleeper since 4 months old. It’s awesome. Our youngest son used to be like our daughter, but since he developed eczema 6 months ago and we started bringing him into our bed to comfort him (he was so upset from the itchiness) and now it’s just what happens around 11pm every night. So by 2am or so there are 4 out of 5 family members in our bed. We don’t mind too much as it’s a king bed, but we are going to try and get our youngest to stay in his cot again. Once the renovations on our house are done in a couple of months. Sheesh!

  7. I read that Michelle Bridges article and thought the VERY same thing!! We have Isaac 11, Ellie 9, Avery 6 Hugo 21 months and now….big deep breath….Lewis who is 3 weeks. It’s hectic and loud and fun!! Our mantra when we had kids is they will be sleepers….so far it’s worked. Isaac hates going to bed but goes about 8. He says all his friends go to bed later but he just doesn’t cope without it…something we love! My girls are in bed at 7 Ellie reads Avery is quick lights out. Ellie is lights out at 720. Hugo is next books first then lights out at 730 have just transferred to a bed out of the cot so it’s still a bit hit and miss he is asleep by 7.. Lewis well he is 3 weeks. We still have lots of nights up esp w Avery. We think we won’t sleep for another 15 years in any luck. Getting the big kids out of bed is hard esp when they have a good book!! They do their homework reading when they wake up in bed…it’s working except when it’s cold and they would rather stay warm and in book land. Then again kids that love reading so much is fab!!

  8. Twelve year old is in bed 8.30 on school nights, 9/9.30 on weekends. She was ALWAYS an early riser. It was not out of the ordinary to see her arrive in the bedroom when the little hand pointed at 4. Now, as the teen years approach, we have to use said cattle prod (or 1 year old little brother) to get her out of bed for school. On the weekends it is not unusual for her have a sneaky 3 hour (!!!) nap!

    1 year old has book at 7 and straight to bed. Thinks he’s very funny running away and hiding before being placed in cot. Not looking forward to transition to bed without rails as he will take great delight in jumping in and out of bed for hours. He is awake by 6am at the latest. Usually 5.30. Sigh. In saying that, he only started sleeping “all the way through” a couple of months ago. However, it is not unusual for him to call (yell) out for a drink of water through the night. Double sigh.

    • 5:30am – sounds like my son a short while ago. Bring bedtime forward by 30 minutes and he may reach 6am! Good luck!

  9. Three boys, 11, 10 and 3 yrs. Dinner at 6pm, then showers etc. Little one in bed at 7:30pm and older two expected to do a quiet activity in their rooms (read, draw, write). They come out and ask questions a gazillion times every night. The 8:30pm bed for older two.
    One is an owl and will still be lying there awake at 10pm and needs prodding to get up in the morning (luckily, we live opposite the school: he can get up at 8:45am and still make it to school on time). One is a lark and falls straight to sleep but then up and bouncing by 7am.
    All three sleep through the night unless sick…. Although now I’ve said that they’ll be up tonight!

  10. My boys are 2yo and 3.5yo and bedtime is between 6-6.30…and can even be somewhere in the 5’s of they are tired. I have those freakish children that sleep when they need it, so never fight bedtime. They usually wake between 6.30 and 7, but no-one is allowed out of bed before 7 (we tell the 3.5yo he can’t get up until he hears the coffee machine ?!) and on weekends, undisturbed by us showering and banging around in the kitchen, they often sleep until 7.30-8! Their early bedtime makes it hard on their Dad, who is often it home until after 5, so he doesn’t see much of them and they are at their worst! And only sees them briefly in the mornings! We rarely eat as a family, which is a shame, but timing is just too hard right now, and is their most terrible time of the day (I’m considering getting rid of dinner all together!) Our days and weeks are very structured and we all thrive on routine – I get very nervous about messing our routine up, as I do not cope when they are tired and (more!) difficult than usual, but more recently, I’ve begun to realise my need for routine is affecting our ability to have a life, and this is not good for anyone. So we are working on comprimise!

  11. Mine are 7 and 10. We aim for bed at 7 to read and lights out by 7.30 but I need to be super organised for that to happen. But lights are always out by 8.30 at the latest on a school night.

    Beth my kids were terrible sleepers. For years I thought it would never end but now (touch wood) they sleep through the night and I rarely hear from them until 6.30-7am. It’s bloody marvelous and I’ve waited a long time for it.

    In the event that they do wake, I’m pretty firm with them. They’re old enough now to know that I need my sleep and I shouldn’t be woken unless they have a damn good reason. If they’re frightened or unwell then they’ll get a warm reception and they know that. But they also know that if they wake me just because they’re awake, it’s just not on. Now that we have that understanding, it is bliss Beth. Bliss. Be firm! Not with Mags obviously but it sounds like your big girls need to give their Mum a break!?!?

  12. Hi Beth, my kids are 18, 15 & 13 and you probably don’t want to hear this, but they have always been good sleepers. Don’t ask me what I did to get them that way – I don’t know.
    They have always been early risers – 6am – no sleep-ins. Luckily now that they are older they just read in bed or get up and watch tv (only on the weekend).
    I send them all to bed at 9pm – even the 18yr old when she is home! I don’t care what they say, they need their sleep and I even think my 13yr old needs to go earlier because she is always hard to get out of bed in the morning, but what with sport and homework etc, 9pm seems to be the time that works for us.
    The 18 yr old has just moved away to uni and she tells me now that she sometimes now sleeps in till 11am – but that’s only because she’s up till 1am “studying” – hmmmm? I hope you don’t have to wait until Maggie moves out to get your sleep in!

  13. Whitney Sigler says

    We did the same thing with our three. Now our grandchildren have the same schedule. My son & daughter each have the same schedule within 30 mins or so.
    Son’s girls 8 & 4 1/2
    3:40 home Snacks and free time.
    4:30 homework
    5:00 bath time
    530 dinner (mom gets home at 5’our son is the cook)
    630 tv or play (they usually only watch one show 30 min.
    700 bedtime /book reading
    730 lights out bedtime and like yours asleep wishing 10/15 min.

    Our daughters (6 1/2 and 5) (one on the way) is about 30 min. Later but the same. Due to Their work schedule.

  14. I have two teenagers in our house. 14 and 17. I like to try to get them to bed before 9.00pm but by this age homework generally dictates whether or not this happens. Yes, they sleep in when they can. On the weekends or school holidays it is nothing for them to sleep the morning away and be eating cereal for lunch…… Both used to be early riser’s but once they really settled into being teenagers they started to sleep more and more. The body seems to demand it. They rarely come in to visit during the night but if they do it is because they are sick and in need of advice / help.

    Enjoy how much they need and want you at the moment because in a blink of an eye, they change into the most incredible independent creatures which you can only stand back and marvel at.

  15. I am very lucky and have great sleepers.
    2 kids- 4yo and nearly 2yo.
    Both in bed 7:30/8pm.
    4 y.o wakes anytime from 6am-7:30am. Normally in the 6am, yuck.
    Nearly 2 year old wakes anywhere between 7:30-9am and has a 2-3hr day sleep. I can usually also get the 4yo to have at least an hour day sleep as well- massive win.
    They both sleep through the night 98% of the time . The 2% is the 4 yo waking up. The toddler basically never wakes up.

  16. It’s been so long, I can hardly remember with my boys (see, you do forget – and they’ve left home, so except for an ocassional FB message, or Snapchat at stupid hours, they don’t wake me anymore, as an aside, I did talk to my 19yo about how it really isn’t a good idea to send me a Snapchat video of him walking home at about midnight filming some weird guy walking along the other side of the road “with” him, and then no follow up message saying he’d got home safe! – that doesn’t help sleep at all!).

    My two girls though (now 17 and 14), they always went to bed at 8 (so did the boys, my husband worked in the city and didn’t get home until 6-7 each night, so we went with later so he could spend time with them), shared a room, the older one would always go straight to sleep and be up at about 6am, the younger one always mucked around and went to sleep later, and was awake a lot later. To this day, they still have those same body clocks. My 14yo has been doing gymnastics competitively for years and for about the last 4-5yrs has had training from 4-8pm 3 nights a week – so there is no way she is in bed early or has been for a while. Got to say though – she NOW sleeps really really well ;).

    That youngest one of mine, came into our bed every night during the night until she was about 10yo, she is sheepish and embarrassed about it now (but still has to have her door slightly open and the hallway light on). She still isn’t great at any change in night routine – she has to fly “on her own” (not really on her own, with the TEAM, just not her mother) to Nationals this year, and then stay with the team – two years ago she was “okay”, but still ended up joining me at my motel a day earlier than anyone else – 14yo, I’ll probably still have to warn the chaperones that she doesn’t do well being separated from me at night.

    Conclusion is – some kids are just like that, and eventually they sort of grow out of it, and when they do, you kind of miss it – silly beings that we are πŸ˜‰

  17. I only have one, he’s 8. His bedtime is 7:30 on weeknights, he is allowed to read until lights out at 8pm. He is often asleep before then. He gets up between 6 and 6:30 every morning. Weekend nights he’s allowed to stay up until 8pm, but still gets up at around 6am.

    He hasn’t woken at night (except when sick) since he was a toddler, and even then it was very rare. He has always been an exceptionally good night-time sleeper, and has never (and I mean never, ever) slept in our bed. I know, we have been so bloody lucky!!

    I have a theory though that if you get a good sleeper they are likely not to be a good eater, and if you get a good eater, they will likely be a shit sleeper. My boy could sleep for Australia in the Olympics, but at 8 will not eat anything with any gravy or sauce or dressing on or near it, and will only eat two vegetables (potato and raw spinach) and one fruit (apples). When you post about the stuff your kids will eat, it makes me laugh (in that crazy maniacal kind of jealous laugh).

  18. Blessed with a 13 year old daughter . Slept through from 6 weeks . Not a lot has changed. Bed nowadays is 9 what with dance till 8.30 most nights I march her up lights out by 9ish sometimes it’s pushing it…. Always starving when she gets home so it’s milk and toast then a shower oh the shower.. Slow so bloody slow… Me standing in the doorway of the bathroom usually hurrys her up. I know there’s the one but routine is my favourite thing.. Never has she slept in EVER nor did she do arvo naps Never Ever!!!! , but I gave up on that when she was little. Nickname Tigger. She bounces every morning with out fail… She won’t need to do drugs.., phew…. 10 mins of gadget time after school on a weekday. She can choose when she uses this time, never in bed though.. And they are on charge downstairs when she goes to bed

  19. STOP reading my mind! This is my favourite topic this week. I am getting the same line from my eldest – mum EVERYONE goes to bed later than me. I am strict about bed time. Strict.

    They are 9, 6 and 4.
    5.30 dinner
    6.00pm bath/shower
    7.00pm brush teeth read stories.
    7.15pm 4 year is asleep. other two go to their room and read
    7.30pm – 7.45pm lights out

    DONE. I love them but I also need them to go the F away at night so I can watch crap TV and drink wine.

  20. Kelly Hibbs says

    Hey Beth,
    I have one four year old son. He goes to bed at 7pm and stays there until morning. Occasionally he will get up to go to the toilet, but will go straight back to bed. He was an early riser but we got a gro clock for him and now he doesn’t come out of his room until his sun comes up at 7am. Sometimes he is awake before this and will just wait quietly, sometimes singing or talking to himself. Other times he sleeps though it and we may get another 10 – 20 mins.
    We have been blessed with a good sleeper – 6pm – 6pm at 6 weeks old! but when he has tried it on we’ve been pretty strict with enforcing the rules!
    Good luck!

  21. My little boy is a month younger then Maggie. Up until a few months ago Ethan would go to sleep at 7 but would be ready for the world at 5am. 5am was killing me. Someone suggested bringing his bedtime forward to half six. I thought they were crazy but I was willing to try anything. He now sleeps 6:30-6/6:30. My routine now is daycare pickup at 4, walk home by the park for dinner at 5:30 followed by bath, book, bed. Brining bedtime forward was the best tip!

  22. We’re similar to you – 2 girls (3 & 18 months). Dinner at 5pm, bath, milk, in bed & lights out by 7pm. Generally will sleep until 6.00/6.30 at best. Ha ha Michelle Bridges – 7 months is nothing! ?

  23. Seems we are on much the same plan. Mine are 5 and 8 — we eat dinner at about 6.00-6.30 and then they bath and we snuggle while watching something on TV (usually Horrible Histories – it is a firm favourite). They are in bed for sleep at 7.30. We used to let them watch TV until they went to bed, but my oldest seemed to be having a rough time getting to sleep (he is a teeeeeerible sleeper) so we now make them go to bed at 7.15 and I read to them in bed for 15 minutes. He has not come out demanding that we ‘check on him’ since we started this routine.

    But . . . from about 11pm onwards all the monsters come out, the dark gets scary and his imagination goes wild. He moves into our (Queen) bed and I relocate into his where I sleep to the melodious snoring of a 5-year old who would sleep through a truck driving through the house. Except last night — where I had such busy brain that I was up for hours ‘thinking’ – eventually got my computer out and read some blogs in bed. I saw 1.15am, I saw 2.00am, I saw 2.30am . . . and am now ready for an afternoon snooze, but seem to be at work where it’s not allowed

  24. Oh a post on SLEEP! It is of course what CONSUMES me at the moment with a newborn. Or the lack there of. Dear God, will I ever sleep again?! Actually, last night was Harriet’s best night ever so touch wood she’s getting the idea (now watch this all turn to shit tonight…)
    As you know Eleanor has always been THAT child – the sleeper! So much sleeping. She’s a big snoozing hibernating bear. She actually doesn’t sleep that heavily, but she just is happy in her cot, in her own company, has never been mummy clingy and in fact finds physical contact fairly offensive – ha! She is 2 now and goes to bed every night at 7.30ish, earlier if she hasn’t slept that day, or sometimes later if she had a big afternoon sleep, or if Daddy is fluffing around getting her ready for bed it can be more like 8. She sleeps without a peep until about 7 the next morning, sometimes she’ll wake at 6ish but rarely, and then sometimes she’ll be happily in her cot until 8.30ish, but I’m fairly certain she’s awake but just hanging out, she can reach her books from her cot and I’ll often find her with about 20 books scattered around her cot. Now young Harriet is a different beast, and I finally get it. The sleep refuser. And there’s not much you can do about it, I treat Harriet no differently to what I did Eleanor as a newborn: they’re just DIFFERENT. Huh. I didn’t ‘get’ that until now, I thought it was different parents etc. but seriously, they are just DIFFERENT. I’m praying Harriet doesn’t become the complete opposite to her big sister, but am fully prepared for it (well, probably not…but I wouldn’t be surprised!) Serves me right, getting the good sleeper first. Ai yi ai…kids! Have a baby they said…

  25. My children are 1 year old, 2 year old, 8year old, 10 year old tomorrow!!!
    I have always been strick on routine, my husband makes fun that our oldest sun didn’t see strett lights till he was 3!!
    We have activities, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. I cook finder at lunch most days as I hate a afternoon rush. We have dinner by 6, the boys 9 and 2 shower together and 1 year old and 8 year old girls bath. I clean up. Older two are such great helpers. Then husband is on baby and I’m on 2 year old duty. We swap around every other night. The big kids get home work done while we read/ Rock/ lay to sleep the babies. In bed by 7. Then it’s big kid time we hang out, read talk about there day as it usally hasn’t happened yet between business of dinner. They read to me, or they have device time teeth … Bed by 8. Mine are aloud to stay up later on weekends. We usually have family movie night. Is that still a thing? Letting them stay up later cause they have no school the following?
    The big kids are up by 7, sometimes do sleep in till 730. Babies early risers. Both usually wake in the night. One year old needs a rock, or pat. Two year old has gone to big bed, and is potty trained in the day. Starting to wake at night to toilet and take nappy off ?. Sometimes 2 or 3 times! It will pass. X

  26. My Mr 5 is in bed with lights out at 7:30 & asleep within 10minutes. He will sleep all night & will even sleep in at times, though is usually up around 7am. My Mr just turned 8 on the other hand, is my nightmare. He is allowed to read until 8, then lights out. Between 8-12am he can be up & down claiming he can’t sleep. And if he doesn’t do that,he’ll sleep straight away, wake up at 11pm & be up until 2-3am :-/ THEN he’s ALWAYS awake, no matter what, between 6-6:30am. He’s been a bad sleeper from birth :-/ He hates sleeping…..unfortunately, I’m a mum who loves sleeping so we clash……a lot πŸ˜›

  27. 17 year old I have no idea πŸ™‚ Works part time and last year of high school part time too (did so well last year and could have gone to uni a year early). Can finish work at the cinema at 9.30pm and they show staff movies/have events afterwards; 15 year old 10-11pm and actually the 13 year old can be like that too… I am ashamed to say as a school librarian I can fall asleep before any of them. The 13 year has not fallen asleep before 9pm since he was 4… But none of them have ever woken before 7am and as teens now can still be asleep at mid-day on w/ends or later if no sport or work… And dinner is whenever, dependant on my work and university schedule. Out of the house at 7.15am and not back till late sometimes, so it si look after your self… (I’ve very independent kids!!)

  28. Julie Harris says

    I have two and was always really strict about bedtime being 7 then 7:30. Not it is eight o’clock. My son has just turned 12 and my daughter is 9 nearly 10. My son gives me grief about 8 oclock bedtime. But given I have to wake him and drag him out of bed at 6:30 every morning. It will remain, for this year at least. Daughter has ballet quite late twice a week. On Tuesdays we dont leave her ballet until 7pm and drive half an hour home. So its a rushed bath and dinner usually in slow cooker. Next year son goes to high school and I am worried. He needs his sleep but finishes school in the City at 5pm twice a week, then bus home and 1 hour of homework.

  29. My ‘big kids’ – now 18 and 16 – went to bed at 6.30 every night of their lives until they were probably just teenagers. Similarly they could read for a bit until lights out, but they loved going to bed and like your family, were up early regardless. My goal was always less tired children! I was also divorced by the time they were 4 and 6 and post-6.30pm was unapologetically my time. Now they manage it themselves, and still love hopping into their cosy beds, but most nights they are up later than us.

    I remarried and had my third luxury baby (my god how I’ve enjoyed her) with 10 and 8 years between the other two.

    I am (cough) a little more relaxed with her. And as we are now expats and live in the northern hemisphere (FFS the sun drives me bananas) there has been more than one occasion where the little lamb goes to bed as late as 11.30pm during these very long hot summer days. Yep. If you knew me in my former (OCD) life you would die at this disclosure. Her personality is different (or is that just me!) so she copes with everything, including being tired.

    Having said all of that, I literally haven’t had a peaceful night for 18 years. I think I’ve simply lost the skill . Not even sure I had it. I think I did. I am usually awake at 3am, and then wide awake by 5.30am. I can sometimes go back to sleep but that usually means I wake up discombobulated and disgruntled. I tried sleeping pills to help retrain me, but they were waaaaayyyy too good. Never went back after the first prescription ran out. Basically I was channelling Samantha from S and the C and her attitude to viagra!

    Therefore Ms Bridges come and talk to me in 18 YEARS and we’ll discuss it further.

  30. I have a 3 and a 1/2 year old and an almost two year old and my husband and I were talking about trying to get them to sleep earlier.

    At present we:
    5:30/6ish: DINNER
    6:30: Bath and PJs
    7: wind-down time {normally involves cuddles on the lounge}
    7:30: stories
    8: bedtime

    But bed time can push out to 8:30 if the boys have had a big nap during the day. My sister doesn’t allow her girls to nap anymore and they are out like lights at 7pm. Our eldest normally sleeps through the night {but if he does wake we just let him hop into bed with us – it is normally around the 5/6am mark and I am not starting my day at that hour}. Our youngest will normally wake some time around the 12-2am mark…back in the day I would just give him a quick breast feed and pop him back down, but since being pregnant he just comes into bed with us. We normally start our days around 7:30/8am. But I am guessing with a newborn in a couple of weeks and preschool next year our schedule will change

  31. Wow. I am envious. I am a working mum, I pick up the kid usually around 5pm – 5.30pm and home by 6. Dinner by 6.30pm. Bath at 7pm when Spicks & Specks is on πŸ˜‰ and hopefully in bed by 8 asleep by 8.30 for this 4 yo. She sleeps till 7 now which I’m grateful for. Far out though to be able to have dinner done and dusted by 5.30 and asleep by 7 sounds like paradise to me right now.

  32. I love hearing what happens in other households!
    I have two boys (6 and very nearly 4). As babies, they were frequent night-wakers. I would be afraid of the night, every night. I didn’t see any consistency in either of them till they were about 18–20 months old no matter what strategies we tried. But, no matter what happened during the night, we have always considered bedtime and associated routines as sacrosanct!
    Here’s how a typical evening unfolds in our neck o’ the woods:
    5–5:30pm dinner (I’ve had an ‘early’ dinner all my life, and prefer it that way!)
    6–6:30pm a bit of kids TV
    6:30pm shower (we don’t have a bath)
    6:50pm Shaun the Sheep (I love it as much as the boys do)
    7:00pm sitting on the bed reading a couple of books
    7:20pm teeth brushing
    7:30pm goodnight hugs and kisses
    7:35pm wine or gin or tea and choc to hand, with feet up on couch (if this step is delayed by an errant child, woe betide that child).

    My oldest will mostly sleep through these days (there was a one and a half year period following toilet training when he woke every single night to be accompanied to the toilet, but that stopped shortly after he turned 5). My youngest sleeps through 50% of the time, the other 50% he will thump across the hall at one point in the night wanting his ‘blankie’ rearranged on his pillow (this ritual was a rod I created for my own back at a stage when I was trying to set up a comforting sleep situation for him when he was waking far more often during the night!) This is usually dispensed with quickly, but I can find it hard to get back to sleep after this happens.
    Since they share a room, they wake up together most days, and it tends to be 5:20am when my husband gets up for work. No matter how quietly he moves around, they just know! He usually shoes them back to bed, but they just come straight into bed with me, where they proceed to be generally disruptive. They’re not allowed out till about 6am, when my youngest will forcibly drag the doona off me and literally pull me out of bed. Then it’s straight to the kitchen where I receive incessant breakfast directives. Mornings are so chill. Not. If we don’t get bothered till after 6am on a weekend morning, we consider that a sleep-in.

    Sorry for rambling, but sleep/bedtimes have been an obsession as along as the kids have been around…

  33. Every night I wonder what everyone is doing while I try to get my third child to sleep.
    My teenagers are told to have everything off at 9.30pm by hey don’t always listen & is a constant argument. They have to be dragged ( sometimes physically ) out of bed in the mornings. As little kids they were awesome sleepers, hardly ver woke in the night, went off to sleep easily but we’re always early risers & up before 6am most days. These Das Thes sleep until lunch if you let them ( sometimes I do in the school holidays because why the hell not!)
    The two toddlers are VERY different stories. Blake is nearly 3.5 & only just starting to sleep through the night in a semi regular basis. He’s NEVER been a good sleeper & we are having HUGE problems getting him to bed at night. Quite often he has the nap of doom which leads to him being up until 10pm. I’ve tried everything I can to stop this shit but clearly I’m useless because it still happens more often than not. He also will not go to sleep unless I am laying next to him. On the nights he wakes up I have to go & sleep with him in his bed.
    Sadie is 12 months younger & is still yet to sleep through the night. I class it as a huge improvement that I am not up 3,4,5 times a night with her these days. Instead, every night at 2.30am she climbs into our bed. It’s not he worst thing to happen but she isn’t a peaceful sleeper so I don’t seem to get anymore sleep.
    Lack of sleep has seen my hit some very low lows. My inability to get my little two into a good sleep routine plagues my thoughts but the fact I have teenagers & know that one day they will sleep brings some comfort. It might be 10 years away but I’m looking forward to it!

  34. I get why your system has worked for you until now. I am a big fan of batch processing children. Mine are now 23, 20, almost 17 and 12. But there does come a time when you have to have different rules for different ages with bed time. The main reason I wanted a shared bedtime was so I could go off duty so one of my solutions was to have everyone ready for bed but let the older one/s read a bit longer. It worked for me it we had a set place they read and it was not in my space. So if they are in their own room it could be in bed, but if they are sharing it could be on Mum and Dads bed, or a chair in their room, or in the living room if you dont mind them being in your space. It was ok for me as all I had to say at their bed time was “Off you go, Sleep tight”. No more reading stories, tucking in, finding toys etc etc etc that was done. The reward for them is that they get the extra half hour or so, but the deal is they have to be grown up enough to put them selves in bed, or if they are in bed, turn their light off and

    We also had a really set bedtime routine. Last drink, stories read aloud, a song, prayers, kiss goodnight, tucked in, NO MORE NEGOTIATION. No more drinks, enquiries, snacks etc etc It kept us sane as we were both working (him v long hours, me parttime) and one or other of us was studying in the evening for the first couple of years we had children. Kids lights off was at 730 for us but I think the time is very much set by external influences (work, afterschool activities etc) and your own temprement. I’m a night owl so I still got some evening to myself. I also asked my husband at one stage if he couldnt be home by 630 to stay at work and not get home until after 730 because it was so hard to get our daughter to go to bed if Daddy was just home. He had to study so she needed to go to bed, but we all got distressed if he came home and then she wouldnt settle.

    About the night waking, I suspect that there are children who are really sound sleepers, those who are very light sleepers (+/- more anxious) and some in the middle who might get into the habit of coming into parents bed but dont really “need” to. If you think your children need you in the night to calm or reassure them then the night waking is ok. If you think that they have got into the habit of coming in, which they enjoy but it is making you crazy (this happened to me) then you can change the habit. You have to consistently get up when they come in and settle them in their own beds. So they get the safety of a parent putting them back but not the reward of lots of attention or a warm cosy parents bed to settle in. We also needed out bed to be our space to maintain some physical intimacy that didnt involve the kids. I think if they had slept there a lot I would have found it difficult to have sex in what would feel like family space. There are enough barriers to sex with young children without that one!!! Im sure Im not saying anything you dont know but its my acquired wisdom!! I agree with the previous person who said that they need to look after you too and perhaps explaining to your 6 year old that you are finding it really hard might help? I have loved reading all the comments. So much shared experience and wisdom

  35. Katie Elliott says

    I too love hearing about other households! At the moment, due to an injury, my days are never the same as I am constantly going from appointment to appointment. This affects my son’s sleeps (he is 15 months), so there is no solid routine but generally if he had had his morning nap of 40 mins and afternoon nap of 2 hours, I can have him down for the night by 7.30/8pm. If he skips either morning or arvo nap (or god help me – both) he is in bed by 6pm.
    I have discovered that no matter how tired he is, if he goes to bed before 6pm, he will wake up after an hour or so and want to play in the loungeroom -as if he has just had a nap. But if it is after 6pm he will sleep through.
    By sleep through I mean wake me for breastfeeding between 2 and 6 times. On average he wakes 3 times and then UP at 7.30am.
    I love this post as it isn’t just me who is interested in how/when other families sleep!
    P.s. Michelle Bridges is a sook.

  36. PS for those with the opposite problem, getting up in the morning or teenagers who find it hard to get up for school, think about a dawn alarm clock. I got mine a couple of years ago and like it so much I got one for each of my children. A significant expense but so worth it. My husband likes to sleep in a dark bedroom but in winter when the radio alarm went off I felt like I was being dragged out of a deep dark hole. My alarm has a light that gradually comes up over 30 minutes before the set alarm time and my alarm sound is breaking waves. By the time the noise starts I am partly awake and its not a shock. SO much better. My 16 year old son had a loud beepy alarm set across the room from his bed as it was the only way to wake him on time in the morning but he swears by the new dawn version. The brand is Lumie, it English but you can get them in Australia from a website called Wake Up Bright. I have no connection with the product just really found it useful so want to spread the word.

  37. Hi Beth, So I think our house is the complete opposite! I have 3 boys – 13, 10 and almost 9. The only one who wakes up “early” is the 10 year old and he gets up around 6am. I have to start waking the other 2 up around 6:30 and they eventually get out of bed around 7am.
    (They were not good sleepers when they were babies or toddlers and my youngest now hops into bed with the 10 year old most nights of the week sometime during the night. But I am extremely happy that he doesn’t wake me up anymore!)
    Our afternoons/ evenings go like this:
    3:30pm home from school – eat everything they can find.
    4/4:30pm 4 nights a week somebody or everybody has some sort of training for basketball, AFL, soccer, or cricket. Otherwise it’s homework time.
    5:30/6:30pm we all get home from training and then work out what to eat for dinner.
    6/7pm or somewhere in between we eat dinner and then clean up.
    7/7:30pm – boys have showers and then watch tv or play a game or finish homework.
    8/8:30pm – younger 2 boys start going to bed and hopefully get into bed before 9pm – it’s meant to be 8:30. (They share a room and even though they tell me that they never sleep – they are usually asleep 10 minutes later)
    9pm – I send my teenager to bed who usually has to have a last snack first!!

  38. 2 girls, 10 and 6.

    Dinner is usually around 6:30, I make them have showers only twice a week or after swimming (so Miss 6 has 3 showers/week) and bedtime is 8pm. Most of the time they are out by 8:30.

    I have to rouse them at 7am (except the weekend, FOR WHY do they get up so fricken early on the weekend!!!!) and we are out the door by 8am if I take them to school (twice a week) or if hubby takes them, they leave around 8:30am

    No TV or iPads in the morning before school, however afternoons are pretty loose as they go to their grandparents except for Monday and Friday where miss 6 has gymnastics. I don’t believe in homework, so they do it if they want to but I don’t make them. iPads etc only once they’e done some jobs around the house (unpack dishwasher, pick up clothes/toys)

    We like to keep a regular routine but its not regimented by any means. Sometimes it might be 8:30 before they go to bed, depends on what we as parents can be arsed organising!

  39. Well you know my history with sleep!

    At the moment our nights look like this:
    6.00pm Dinner
    6.30 youngest has bath and the older two have showers
    7pm quiet time
    7.30pm bed/stories/reading
    7.35pm the 4 year old is usually asleep
    8pm lights off. The 9 year old usually falls asleep quickly. The 8 year old usually mucks around, reads under the covers until late, even 10pm at times.

    All 3 wake about 6-6.30am (although the 4 year old wakes in the 5s a few times a week). Our mornings in Australia are much more leisurely than Dubai where we had to be out the door at 7am (school started at 7.30am).

    For the past year the three kids have been sharing a room, so they’ve all gone to bed at the same time, that will change soon. The 4 year old could/would/should go to bed earlier but while they’re sharing a room that was never going to happen.

    At least one child wakes during the night and calls out or comes in, sometimes all 3. Very occasionally they’ll all sleep through on the same night.

  40. I have three girls: 11, 9 and 4 3/4. They have all been such different sleepers. First one was ok, except when we went overseas at 6 months old. Second one almost broke me, although she lulled us into complacency by sleeping through at 9 months. Then at 15 months started randomly waking and screaming at night. Never knew when it would happen or why. This eventually stopped and she sleeps fine now with occasional nightmares ( usually she needs to wee!) The almost 5 yr old is a champion sleeper. Unbelievably slept through at 11 weeks. But being such a good sleeper also means she needs more sleep. Youngest used to go to bed at 7 but more like 8 now with our varying schedules of swimming and gym. Big girls should be lights out by 8:30 or earlier if there is early sport. All will sleep in until 8 or later if allowed. I agree that if you have an amazing sleeper you seem to lose out in some other area. My youngest has been a nightmare to toilet train with eventually an OT being consulted!

  41. We have Master 4 and Miss 8. Master 4 goes in at 7.30pm after a story or two and is asleep within 5-10 minutes. We eat dinner at around 6pm unless it is swimming or piano night when it is later but we still aim for the same bedtime.
    Miss 8 goes to bed around 8pm – sometimes she can push it out to about 8.30pm including half hour of reading before I complain.
    She then complains she can’t sleep for quite a while till she finally drops off, sleeps like a log all night and needs to be prodded at around 7.30am.

    Both of mine have been solid sleepers from about 7 weeks of age thank god because if my son wasn’t a good sleeper he wouldn’t have survived this long. When he is awake he is 500% on the go.

  42. I have 2 boys, 7 & 5. They both need lots of sleep and would happily go to bed with a book at 6.30pm. We both work so they go to before and after care. Out the door at 7.20am, so they need to be up and dressed by 6.30am. One is an early riser and soon as he hears us he’s up. The other needs a prod (unless it’s the weekend when he wakes at 5am!). Night time – we’re home at 5.15pm, shower by 5.30pm and then they get to use their devices until dinner at 6.15pm. Bed by 7pm, lights out at 7.30pm. Then I lie on the couch to recover until 8pm before washing up and preparing to do it all again the next day!!

  43. We usually have everyone down by 7.30 too, my kids are exhausted especially if it kindy day. So our twin girls are 4 and Paisley is 2. I work 2 days a week so those days are a bit all over the place but we eat by 6 pm and then bed and snuggling by 7 pm. I’m also a bit like you in that my girls all wake me atlases once each a night… Exhausted and would just like a week of straight sleep ?

  44. Michelle E says

    Loving this post Beth! My girls are 4 and 8 and our school days go like this:-
    3-4 after school activities or play at the park
    4 – 4:30 homework
    5-5:30 dinner
    6 – bath together. Sometimes they can play together for up to 45 mins until they start to fight.
    6:30 – wind down time, Lego, drawing etc
    7pm is teeth, stories, songs and for my 8 year old we have “worry” time, where she likes to share her worries with me so she can sleep.
    Both usually asleep by 7:30, unless my 4 year old had a rare nap at kindy, and then she won’t sleep until 9:30.
    We can go weeks where the girls sleep through in their own beds, and then weeks where someone (or both) wakes and comes into our bed every night because they’re scared. I’ve learned to just accept this, let them in and rollover back to sleep.
    As a child I had a very active imagination and felt very afraid in the dark……… I crept into my parents room at least once a week until I was 12. My parents never made a fuss and there was a mattress on the floor just for me. I haven’t tried the mattress idea in my room yet. I actually enjoy snuggling with my girls, knowing it won’t last forever.
    Sometimes either me or my husband will go get in one of their beds, because the most important thing is that everyone gets some sleep!

  45. My two are 7 and 9. They have always been pretty good sleepers (Miss 9 was the baby you can’t ever talk about to others, yes, the dream baby who came home with me from hospital, was put to bed after a feed around 7 I suppose, picked up for a dream feed before I went to bed and woke up in the morning) the lad wasn’t quite so dreamy but he never bothered being up for long for the overnight feeds. Once they stopped he slept through.
    Now we try to aim for around 7 for bed, a bit of a read and lights out before 8. They share a room. That has it’s moments. The lad does on the rare occasion come in to our bed for a snuggle when he’s had a bad dream. He stays for a little while and I take him back to his bed as I can’t sleep with him in the bed with us.
    When they were tiny and Giggle and Hoot started, I used to get them in bed at 6pm, which was the end of the Goodnight Hour. I loved it!! I’d do the 6 o’clock rock with them now if I thought I’d get away with it!
    For all of that, if we’re out I’m not fussed if they’re up late. Now they sleep til after 7 most mornings – some mornings they need to be physically removed from their bed at 8 but not that often really. On the weekends they can fend for themselves til about 9 – so sometimes we do get a sleep in, which is lovely.

  46. My kids are 9 (boy), 7 (girl), 5 (boy). Our routine is

    3.30 – 5.30 After school activities / homework.
    5.30 bath
    6.10 dinner
    6.45 teeth
    7pm bed for a story

    The younger 2 are read a story each night and go to sleep easily. They are usually both asleep by 7.30 at the latest (usually earlier). My eldest will read for about 30mins before he falls asleep. I read to him 2 nights a week as well. He’s usually asleep between 7.30 & 8. They are all early risers, and are awake by 5 in the summer & 5.30 in the winter. They will come in for a snuggle before disappearing downstairs. I sleep in til 7 on saturdays.

    While my younger 2 have been good sleepers, my eldest has been the most challenging. He would come into out bed for YEARS, but about 12 months ago I tried something different. He was coming in during the night because he was waking and feeling scared, and unable to really get himself back to sleep. I explained that when he slept in our bed, we didn’t get enough sleep, and it’s not really fair. I put a blow up mattress out next to our bed (and shove it back under our bed in the morning), and explained to him he could sleep there, *right next to us*, and then when it was 5am, he could get in for a snuggle. It really helped him, and he doesn’t come into us nearly as much.

  47. We have a slightly odd routine, for the 5, 6 and now 1 year old. My husband’s French so I blame him but he constantly complains how early we eat.

    5:30 home from work/school/childcare
    First: kids chores, readers and playtime. While I cook big ones have showers, then I have shower with the baby. All get in pjs
    6:15 dinner and hopefully husband home
    6:45 baby in bed, clean kitchen, make lunches
    7:15 stories teeth and bed for the big kids
    7:30 lights out!

    On Friday night all bets are off ? but everyone is in bed by 7:30.

  48. Kriss McLean says

    I have a 2 and a half year old. He usually goes down between 8.30-9.30 usually the latter! But we don’t get home until 6.30 from work/daycare so late dinner/bath/ in this house. But most nights (touchwood) he sleeps right through and we have to wake him up at 7am to get going again. It means no time mum down time though. But a full sleep is probably a good payoff. Good luck. Xo

  49. I have the one 4 year old and please don’t hate me because we’ve been blessed with a sleeper.
    We do dinner somewhere between 5 and 5:30 too haha. OLD PEOPLE DINNER TIME FTW!
    The Little Mister is in the shower at 6:45pm and in bed by 7 where he has a short story and lights out. He has been taking longer to get to sleep lately, which is annoying but he’s generally asleep by 8pm at the latest (i.e. the last few nights ?) and 7:30 on average. He wakes just before 7 and stays in bed until 7. Because it’s the law. I don’t see this changing at all for a good few more years!

  50. My 11 year old goes to bed between 8 and 8.30 and reads for a bit, light is always off by 9 at latest. Some nights he needs to go earlier. Up between 6.30 -7 in morning. On the rare chance he ever sleeps in, its only until around 7.30-8. No matter how late he goes to bed, he is ALWAYS up at same time. Sleeps through always, unless sick. As a baby was not a sleeper at all, did not want to miss a thing. Mum says it was payback because apparently, I was the same. People always said, he will sleep when he’s older and he does.
    My 7 year old goes to bed at 7, reads with us and by himself then lights out at 7.30. Up at 6.30-7 in the morning. Rarely sleeps in, and is sometimes up through he night. He will go for weeks of sleeping like a log and then suddenly he’s up 2-3 times a night for a few nights in a row. It doesn’t bother us because its not all the time. But it is exhausting!!!! I’m always crankier when this happens.
    You will sleep again, just not for a while!!! And then you will keep yourself up at night getting things done!!!!

  51. It’s so nice to hear you have nana dinner at 5 too πŸ™‚ I actually love it! My tummy does too.
    I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. The 3 year old is asleep somewhere between 7 and 8pm and sleeps through most nights until 6:30am.
    My 1 year old is usually asleep around 7/7:30 and wakes often so I have him in bed with me to just boob back to sleep. I figure I will sleep one day. Until then, thank God for boobs!

  52. Our routine used to look like this but once high school started there was so much after school sport that that has gone out the window! I try to keep a similar routine with the 4yr old but it gets tricky when she is ready for bed by 7pm. And about 20 years of broken sleep here!!

  53. We have 2 girls aged almost 11 and 7. They’ve also always needed early bedtime and they’re early risers. U work part time so dinner varies depending on what time I get home but it’s usually 6-7. We then aim for a 7.30 bedtime and if we manage it they’re usually asleep by 8 (after a thousand drinks of water and checking out all of their ailments that come on at bedtime! ). Our eldest stays up later on thursday and Friday nights when she has guides and swimming so on those nights she’s not in bed til 9-9.30. She is coping fine with that but I think this is the first year that this would be the case. Before this year she’s always been a basket case if she had a late night. Miss 7 still has basket case tendencies πŸ˜‰ And they’re always up early, 7 is a sleep in. But they do usually sleep through so I won’t complain too much.

  54. 3 year old twins plus 19 month old…all in bed 7.30. But the wake-ups through the night are many. Some nights I am up to them SEVEN TIMES. Including the twin pregnancy with a million night time wees, I haven’t slept a full night since 2012. I expect I will hit the magical 10 year mark too. And I’m 42…its tough on this old bird!!

  55. Monique Frankel says

    Calliope (almost 4) and Tabitha (1) go to bed 7.30/8pm. Most nights all is quiet until 6.30/7 the next morning.
    We still had Tabbie in our room until 2 weeks ago and she would wake every 2-3 hours and cry until she got boob. Putting her in her own room was like a magic trick! I should have listened to my mother earlier – I’m exceptionally blessed to have a mum who is a midwife/lactation consultant/ owns The Hills Parenting Centre so aka the baby guru.

  56. Our routine is very similar to yours Beth, mine are 7, 4 and 1

    3:40 home from school/preschool
    4:30 dinner (I don’t allow snacks after school so they’re hungry for dinner then)
    5:15 baths
    6pm 1 year old to bed
    6:30 readers/stories
    7pm lights out (asleep within 10 mins)
    10:30pm dream feed for 1 year old
    6am 7 year old wakes
    7am 1 and 4 year old wake

    I’ve had three great sleepers luckily, all sleeping through from about 8 weeks of age. The downside to my routine is that the kids don’t see their Dad in the week in the evening, he’s not home till 7:30pm usually but it works well for us as a couple getting a good amount of time together at night. I do sometimes wish I had some help in the evening as it’s pretty chaotic with three but I’ve got so used to it I guess.

  57. Mrs_woodette says

    You’re good!!

    We do a 5pm dinner for the kids.
    16 month old is asleep by 6pm
    5 year old 7pm (was 8pm until we started school shes now exhausted every day)
    8 year old 8pm

  58. My two kidlets are 7 and 5, if hubby is still at work, I feed the kids at 5:30pm and bedtime routine begins at 7pm, they have showers in the morning so no bath in the evening; it’s toilet, teeth, change into pjs and then I read to the 5 year old and lately the 7 year old has been reading to me. I’m out of there by 7:30pm and they both go straight to sleep. More often than not my sleep is disrupted by a child calling out that they’ve lost a toy, their covers are off, it’s too windy/rainy/cold/hot, but really it’s not keep-me-awake-all-night kind of stuff. They generally wake between 7-7:30 or later if we’ve had a late night. I can’t complain, I know I have it easy!

  59. well … my kids are now 8, 5 & 4.
    My 5 year old has ALWAYS been our best sleeper right from the time she was born. She will be asleep between 7.30pm-8pm and we have to wake her at 7am for school
    Miss 8 – would read all night if I let her. We try and get her light off by 8pm but sometimes later. She sleeps through and we have to wake her at 7am for school
    Miss 4 … USED to be awesome at going to sleep by herself by 7.30pm, and would rarely wake in the night. BUT we moved countries in December and since then it has gone to shit. It takes me until 9pm to get her to sleep and then she comes to my bed at about 2.30am EVERY night. πŸ™

  60. Almost 6 year old twins. Bed by 7pm/6.30 if they’re particularity tired/7.30 at the latest. Wake 6.30-7 but have clocks and have to stay in bed (besides to pee obvs) till 7am. Sometimes wake in the night not all nights, not each of them unless I am unlucky. I have one that if I give in and let her in my bed one night, it happens every night. So I have to be a little tough the following nights of returning her to bed.
    This morning they slept till 11am !!! but they have the flu poor darlings πŸ™

  61. Do you know Beth, I think with this good/bad sleeper bizo, that it’s all preset. That is, these little monkeys that we give birth to, have it all preordained in that genetic code of theirs. No matter what us good intentioned mothers do, they are pre-destined their own sleep path. And come to think of it, maybe a lot of other temperament patterns too. Just my opinion. I’m sure some expert selling a kiddy sleep book would disagree, and offer a magic solution. I just reckon we do what we need to do to love and care for them individually, and thank god for coffee and good friends. Liz XO

  62. My girls 4, 7 ans 11 yr share a room, their bedtime is 7pm (no reading). The 10yo boy also goes at 7pm, he can read until 7:30. They’re mostly before dinner in pjs.
    The 14yo boy shares room with 10yo, and goes to bed at 8:30 (no reading).
    My oldest girl is 16, she has an own room, she also goes at 8:30 but does read, phone, homework until 10 o’clock.

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