Summertime! Early Bedtime?

Jun 12, 2017

Well the Chicago Weather Department (no, it doesn't actually exist; I'm pulling your leg!) has finally gotten its act together and decided that it's summer. We had rather little warning this year, as spring was a constant fluctuation of 50s and 70s... but it's been hot since Friday, and Wednesday's supposed to be a nice warm 97 (eek! I'm a cold weather lover!).

It's the last week of school this week, too, and all the children of the neighborhood are gearing up for bike rides, lazy days, day camp, barbecues... and (in our house, at least) early bedtime as usual.

Yup, folks; ya heard me - that's 7pm in bed for all the little Sadoff monkeys.

But - but - what about catching fireflies, watching the sun set, running outside after dinner to play that one last game?

Not in the summer, m’dear.


What they need

Well, I know my views may be a wee bit controversial, but like it or not, your kids need those 12 hours of sleep regardless of whether or not it's 97 degrees outside. 

And, because of the way our circadian cycle works, the best time for your kids to catch those 12 hours of sleep is going to be from somewhere around 7 pm to 7 am. I've worked with kids who do better on a 6:30 to 6:30 schedule, and kids who do best 7:30 to 7:30 - but I've yet to see a well-rested child who will sleep from 9-9. Our bodies simply don't work like that!

And yes, I'll always have that mom (or two or three) who tells me that her kids are "just fine" on 10 hours of sleep a night... but then asks me if I have any recommendations for the daytime crabbiness she's struggling with, or the impulsivity in her 5 year old that seems to have just "appeared," or a whole potential host of other sleep-deprivation related problems.

So while your kids might be the only kids on the block in bed at 7, they might also be the only kids on the block who are at their peak functioning capacity and calm, well-rested and energetic during the day. And hey - if your kids are all in bed by 7... maybe you can go outside and catch some fireflies!


For older kids

DISCLAIMER: I'd just like to note that all my kids are going to be in bed by 7 the whole summer because they're all under the 7-10 year mark, and they still need a full 12 hours of nighttime sleep. If you've got pre-teens or teenagers, their sleep needs are going to be a little lower (and teenagers' circadian cycles are different, too), and those lazy late evening barbecues might work just great for them. But for your newborn, infant, toddler, pre-schooler and even first-, second- or third-grader, staying consistent with that 7 pm bedtime is going to be a lynchpin in ensuring that you've got a happy, curious, self-controlled kiddo - and a happy, vibrant mommy too!

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