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Bed time for a 3 and 4 year old

(16 Posts)
Mary1111 Tue 02-Feb-16 21:55:50


I'm just curious as to what time your little ones go to bed and quite separately, finally fall asleep.

I'm very much aware of the importance of sleep for development, growth and overall function. However I am in a bit of a dilemma!

We troop in to bed at 6.30pm (I have a ds aged 3 and a dd aged 4 by the way) and we all snuggle down, read many stories, have a good chat and a giggle, cuddles. I find this time with them both very enriching. My ds is usually asleep by 8pm and my dd usually falls asleep at 9pm. I know this is quite late. But I really feel that by shaving off some of this time would be a loss of precious time spent together.

They both seem adequately awake by 7.30am the next day. I wouldn't say 'bright eyes
and bushy tails' straight away but certainly by the time they have had a good breakfast and walked to school, they seem just fine.

My question is; is 8pm for a 3 year old and 9pm for a 4 year old far too late? I know other parents who have children of a similar age say their child's bedtime is 7pm but does that actually mean they fall asleep by that time?

Do you think it is detrimental for them to be falling asleep at this time or is it a good thing that we are spending this lovely, 'winding down' time together???

poocatcherchampion Tue 02-Feb-16 21:59:19

Wow your bedtimes sounds more enjoyable than ours!

2&3 yo in bed 7latest, sometimes straight to sleep sometimes monkeying around until 9. Average is 8pm.

Wake up 7.30-8

2yo has long nap in pm, 3yo has occasional hour.

If it seems fine it is fine.

lenibose Tue 02-Feb-16 22:00:46

Can you not troop into bed an hour earlier?

DS (4) is in bed by 6:30, lights out around 6:50. He is almost always asleep by 7. Wakes up around 7:30. We start our bedtime routine around 5:45. We read stories in bed, then he has a bath, brushes his teeth, gets into his bed, and reads by himself, and then lights off. I find that too much chatting/giggling etc then overstimulates him. It is precious time but could you not carve it out elsewhere?

If they are not napping, then they are getting a little less sleep than their peers. It's not the end of the world, but it's not ideal either. If you can't do a 7 p.m. bedtime then I would try to do 8 pm for both of them rather than one at 8 and the other at 9.

Waking up: DS is up by 7:30 but lies in bed/reads till 8. We both leave the house together at 9 (I don't have a particularly early start at work- I need to be in by 9:30).

Nodney Tue 02-Feb-16 22:00:59

I go up with my DS who is 4 at about 10 to 7, we do teeth, stories, a quick sing song and I'm out of his room by 7:20. He's asleep by 7:30. He wakes at about 7:15 every morning.

Mondayschild78 Tue 02-Feb-16 22:08:55

DS (4) is in bed by 6.30 - 7pm ish and lights out usually by 7 - 7.30pm. I sometimes find there is less monkeying around when I settle him earlier. He gets up between 6.45-7.15 normally.

Mary1111 Tue 02-Feb-16 22:14:35

Thank you for your replies. On reading back my message, perhaps I over glamourised it a's not all calm and beautiful, I mean there is a fair bit of gentle monkeying about! definitely isn't my imagination the sounds of things other kiddies really are getting to sleep earlier. The eldest is now in school so I can see the importance of a good nights sleep.

Bath included, bedtime routine starts at 6pm. Unfortunately it's unmanageable to start any earlier. By the time dinner is prepped, made, eaten it is nearly always 6pm. ]hmm

I sometimes try and leave earlier but they both just cling on to me and plead for 'one more story Mummy!' Or 'tell us about the time you did this or we did this...' You catch my drift!

I don't usually get downstairs until 9.15pm, that's if I haven't fallen asleep with them completely. Not much chill out/wine/romance/tv time.

Perhaps I should just be stricter...argh!

lenibose Tue 02-Feb-16 22:22:15

6 pm- 9 pm is a ridiculously long bed time. That would genuinely drive me crazy. 20 mins of stories, 10-15 mins for the bath, in bed, 1 more story and then go to sleep. They are not little babies so they will get this. It won't change overnight and there will be a lot of 'I need water, I need a wee.' If it isn't working for you, then it's probably time for a change.

NinjaLeprechaun Wed 03-Feb-16 04:22:22

When my daughter was that age (a very long time ago), no matter what time she went to bed she would rarely be asleep before midnight. Up between 8:30 and 9, awake at least once a night until she was nearly 6, and no nap from 18 months onward. Starting bedtime earlier might work for some children, for us it just prolonged the misery.
I think some children just need less sleep than others.

poocatcherchampion Wed 03-Feb-16 07:44:32

Oh I don't stay with them!

They are on their own after lights out. And I have perfected the kind voice for "yes we can deffk discuss that tomorrow" smile

Also we bath sporadically

What do you do if you are out?

lenibose Wed 03-Feb-16 10:55:16

The only thing is that OP's children are a bit tired in the morning (and do sleep through the night). The thing is that she is starting bedtime at a reasonable hour. If they are not sleepy, then they can lie quietly in their beds. It's unreasonable to expect OP to entertain them for 3 hours though.

BuzzardBird Wed 03-Feb-16 11:06:07

I think 7pm is better. If you start with 9pm, by the time they get to the age of 8/9, they are going to be going to bed about midnight.
Baths at bedtime always kept DD awake, they don't always make DCs sleepy. Baths every night (unless they have been mud wrestling) are not really essential.
Bedtime should last half hour tops if you discount the bath. You, or your partner should aim to be back downstairs by 7.30 to relax with each other.

Perfect world scenario ^ grin

KatharinaRosalie Wed 03-Feb-16 13:05:39

My 2,5 year old goes to bed at 9 - but then still often chats to himself and doesn't fall asleep until 10. He's up about 7-7.30, I never need to wake him, so I would think he gets enough sleep. Then again, he still has a long nap during the day.

So while 8 or 9 is not necessarily too late, it does sound like your DC are a little tired in the morning and could do with more sleep.

eltsihT Wed 03-Feb-16 13:11:10

My ds are 2 and 4 and share a room.

Upstairs at 5.45 for bath or 6 for a sink wash. Into pj, teeth, story on mummy and daddy's bed then into their beds when I sing them song. Then I leave them

Ds1 aged 4 is asleep by 6.30 ds2 aged 2 asleep by 7. Boys are up at 6/7am the next day.

I am slightly panicky about ds1 starting school in August and having to fit homework etc into my routine

PhoenixReisling Wed 03-Feb-16 17:55:58

DC are four.

We go up at about 6.15 ish and have a bath/shower with me. We usually play for around 20 mins or so and then into pj's/dry hair etc. At about 6.50ish, I will read two stories and then it's lights out and a quiet snuggle with me. Invariably, DC are a sleep by 7pm ish and up anytime between 6-7am.

I read somewhere that children that age need 10/11 hours sleep a night. However, I do know some children the same age as my DC who sleep later than your children and are fine!

neversleepagain Wed 03-Feb-16 21:04:33

My twins are 3.4. We go up to get ready for bed at 5:30.

Bath, milk & stories and teeth, into bed at 6:30pm, they have usually conked out before 7pm. They wake between 7:30-8am. They stopped napping at 2.8 and still struggle to stay awake in the late afternoon then seem to get a second wind at 5pm!

imwithspud Wed 03-Feb-16 23:00:11

Dd1 is 3, usually in bed by 7 but there is room for flexibility and sometimes she will need to go to bed earlier due to tiredness, or occasionally later if we are on holiday or we have visitors etc. She rarely naps except for in the car occasionally.

Usual routine is: go up at around 6:30, bath every other night. Dp helps wash/brush teeth/change her into pyjamas whilst I'm in the dd's room sorting out 8month old dd2, story on mine and dp's bed, then into her and dd2's room to be tucked in, have cuddles etc. The process takes about half an hour from start to finish. She occasionally tries to play silly beggers with the "can you stay and look after me?" "I'm thirsty" stuff but more often than not we can leave them both and they are usually asleep within 15minutes.

Dd1 wakes up anytime between 5-6:30. If she wakes before 6 she is usually quite obviously tired but is also impossible to settle at that time. Not sure what causes her to wake at that time really. Occasionally dd2 will wake for milk at around that time which of course wakes dd1 up and then they're both awake for the day from then on.

I'd say 8pm is on the later side of normal but 9pm is a bit late, especially for a child who has just started school. I would definitely work on shortening the routine and getting them to bed earlier. Sleep is really important.

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