AIBU to question bedtime in the UK?(245 Posts)
I'm a regular but have NCd as some of my latest posts were quite identifying.
I recently travelled to my home country and noticed that babies/kids there go to bed quite a bit later than in the UK. Bedtime between 8.30 and 10.30pm (depending on age) seems to be the norm. In the UK people seem to put kids to bed between 6.30 and 8.30pm (based on my experience, do correct me if I'm wrong).
DH and I have quite a few friends and family in the UK whose kids are up before 6am. They often (rightly) complain this is very early and try various methods to keep them in bed until a more reasonable time (Gro Clock etc).
I'd presume that kids need similar amounts of sleep regardless of which country they grow up in. So I wonder if a shift in the bedtime culture in the UK would make for children who sleep until a more reasonable time? Or am I missing the point entirely?
Going to bed a little later would also allow the DCs to see the working parent for a bit longer in the evening (assuming standard working hours), although I appreciate this would eat into adult time in the evening.
My DS is only tiny so we don't have a bedtime routine yet, but I'm keen to know your thoughts before I embark on one!
I agree op, although in counties such as Spain/Portugal they have a siesta don't they? So a bit of chill out time or sleep after lunch.
I wish that had worked- but we always found that the later ours went to bed the worse they slept. But it's interesting though.
Some kids can have their routine shifted if the parents want to.
Some wake at dawn regardless and will be horrible all day
Not all children wake early. It's not true for all children, but I'd say most children under 4/5 need about 12 hours sleep. If you have to get up at 7, then an early bedtime makes sense.
My children have slept 7 -7 ish for most of their lives. Less sleep than that and they're grumpy and hyper. DD1, who is nearly 7, is only just starting to need closer to 10 hours a night.
I think a lot of children on the continent have afternoon nap.
Countries where the children stay up later often get the children to have an afternoon nap or siesta.
It's a choice. People do what works for them. My kids go to bed at 8pm (3yo &5yo) and they tend to wake at around 7am. However the new baby tends to wake around 6am so I'm trying to get everyone to bed earlier to wake earlier so everyone is in sync
I think you need to factor in that many UK parents have to get up around 6am in order to get to work ( I know I do) so the DC have to be up then too to get ready for nursery/childminder/breakfast club/whatever.
In your home country what time do kids start school or nursery? When DDs were very little they needed to be up about 7 to get ready and be dropped off at nursery on the way to work so early bed time was a must. Also I remember DD2 going through and early rising phase and I pushed back bedtime thinking this would work but it didn't. She had less sleep and still woke up early and spent the entire day in a grump.
I luckily have kids that don't (regularly) get up before 7am, however if I didn't, I'd rather have them rising early, but still go to bed at 7pm than a later morning & later bedtime. I love the time to myself once they're in bed!
I read a book which discussed this - it talked about Argentina where children stay up much later and go to late night parties etc. But yes they did have a siesta. I think it was called "how do Eskimos keep their babies warm" if you are interested.
Body clocks are controlled by the sun so going to bed later won't necessarily stop early waking, worth a try though.
In my experience babies and very young children do need a 10 to 12 hour stretch, and I think there's evidence that children who go to bed later do worse at school?
We're in the UK and it's always held true for us that the later the bedtime, the later the DC wake in the morning. We much prefer getting up later as neither DH or I are morning people.
The baby (14 months old) was up until 10:30pm last night because he was buzzing after an exciting day. He woke at 9:30am. Usually bedtime is anything between 7pm and 9pm, with a 7-8am wake up.
I don't know if it would work. But personally I like having the quiet evening without kids more than I'd like a lie in. So I'm quite happy with DS going to bed at 7pm and waking between 6.30am and 7am
Half 10? My DD goes to bed about 8.30pm and wakes 7am, if she went to bed any later she'd have to wake up at the same time and would be like a zombie for the rest of the day.
I don't know anyone who puts their kids to be at 6.30- they may start bedtime routine then but sleep usually occurs 7-7.30. Socially we have no siesta or downtime during the day in the uk so unless children are still in napping phase there is no rest. YABU to generalise worldwide.
Incidentally when my DD went to bed late she woke earlier in a shittier mood.
DD is almost 1 and wakes at about 7:30. Any later than that and I'd struggle to get her ready for nursery in time for me to get to work.
I agree OP. We are in Italy and our 6 year olds go to bed at 9pm - no afternoon nap and there hasn't been for several years. They sleep till 7.30 which I think is plenty of rest. When we visited my parents in the UK we all went out for a post dinner stroll before bedtime and a neighbour told me off for having children out at 8.30pm!
Regardless of what time my kids go to bed they are always up between 6-7. They are more likely to sleep longer if they've had an energetic day than a late night.
I think it depends on what family routines are to be honest. Young children with a stay at home parent can afford to be more relaxed with bedtimes than school age children or parents that rely on early nursery/ childminder drop offs.
If you need to be in work for 9am then that will require children to be up as early as 6am. Dressed, fed orgaininsed and out the door in time for childcare/ breakfast club before school starts to allow for parents to commute to work.
My 7 year old needs at least 10 hours a night or she's a moody little so and so all day. I have her I bed for 8 with 30 mins to read and wind down before lights off. We get up at 7am as I don't start work until 10am so it works out fine.
I am a little more relaxed over bedtimes on holidays and weekends as we tend not to do many early morning activities.
OP. You are right. Children here sometimes have very early bedtimes and get up really early too. Perhaps it's because on weekdays they need to leave the house really early for work. Ive had friends moaning their kids get up to early. I am on same logic as you. If you put kids to bed as early as 7pm of course they aren't going to sleep in to 8am! We have always put ours to bed as late as we can manage whilst still making school/work on time.
I agree with you OP and as such my children have always gone to bed from about 9/10 pm for a later start in the morning. I've learned not to say too much about it through as I generally have had very disapproving reactions except from my SIL whose was in despair at trying to get her toddler to settle in the evening and asked for advice. I told her to move his bedtime forward by two hours. The stress disappeared immediately and everyone gets a lie in. I think with most children you choose to have your evening and an early start or no evening and a lie in. I prefer the lie in myself so did it that way but I do think many people correlate a late bedtime to bad parenting when it just isn't at all.
My DM also thought this, we are Italian but live in England and when we were primary school age she would always wonder why our friends went to bed at dinner time - 7pm. I think mine and DBros bedtime was around 9 or 10 and we got up for 8am. It worked fine for us.
My DS is only 8 months but I really wanted for us to have family dinners at 7pm, so he tends to have a long nap mid to late afternoon so he can stay up until 8 or half 8.
I think part of it is that some DC need to get up and out of the house very early for school/nursery so they need the early bed time. We lived a 10min walk away and were up and out of the house in half an hour.
Both of mine went through phases of getting up at 5/5.30. We tried making their bedtime later, it didn't work, made them grumpy and the day even more unbearable!
"Going to bed a little later would also allow the DCs to see the working parent"
Are you assuming that it is normal to have one parent working and one at home to allow the child to sleep in later?
Also we have always eaten altogether. If they went to bed at 7.30 we would have to eat ridiculously early and dh wouldn't be home yet. Not sure how people manage that.
YABU. Things are done differently in different cutures. Mine wouldn't get up any later in the mornings by going to bed late, many children don't and it's important that children get enough sleep, especially when they are school age, which is young in the UK, and I like some down time without kids talking at you all evening. 7pm has always been bedtime in this house. DS is getting older but we let him read in his room or sit doing something at his desk.
My kids go to bed early - 4&5 years old and go to bed at 7.
They also get up at 6am. No matter what time they go to bed! It's really not as easy as merely putting them to bed later for some children!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.