Keepin' it real · Kids · parenting

Day 534: The youngest child and bedtime

It’s a cliché already: the child who is crying, “I don’t wanna go to bed! I’m not even tired!” while crying and yawning at the same time. E has been that child numerous times in the last few weeks and every single time she’s fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Still, she resists.

I kind of get it: she’s the youngest of four siblings, all of whom are between three-and-a-half and seven years older than she is. Their bedtime is appropriate for their ages, not for hers. Still, this house is buzzing with activity well past 7:30 every evening; of course she’d be afraid of missing out on something if she went to bed early.

The other day I found myself thinking fondly of how K, when she was E’s age, went to bed at 7 p.m. on school nights. Looking back, it’s kind of unbelievable—she went to bed at seven and we got to have three hours of grownups-only time? For real? But yes, it’s true. N and R, being four and three years old at the time, went to bed right alongside her. Those were the days.

When I tried to tell E this bit of historical trivia, she gaped at me for a moment and then laughed. “But that’s SO EARLY!” she giggled, “nobody goes to bed that early!”

Every night I look at her and think, tonight I have to put her to bed early. She needs an earlier bedtime. Poor kid, she probably doesn’t get enough sleep. And most nights I fail to do it. Bad parenting? Probably, although from what I’ve heard this issue isn’t unusual with the youngest child in a big family. She’ll catch up on sleep when she’s a teenager… Unless she’s like K, who wakes up nice and early. I have no idea how she does it.

I, on the other hand, am most definitely tired enough to go to bed at E’s bedtime. Then I get my second wind and have to convince myself that yes, bed is definitely where I need to be at 10 p.m. I’ve yet to make it to bed by 10 since the summer began, but maybe now that the sun is setting earlier I’ll be able to convince my inner six-year-old that she really is tired.

One thought on “Day 534: The youngest child and bedtime

  1. Might you make 7:30 ‘pjs and quiet time’ for everyone and her bedtime 7:45 rather than 7:30? Start story time at 7:30.It is cozy, esp as it gets dark earlier ,to pj it up and have the house grow quieter….. What time do the other 3 go down?
    Reminds all including very senior elders (older than you in other words) no more food and drink and rev down so asleep at 10 is easier………
    Having said this I own to being tucked in at 10 pm by my last two yrs of High School and college aged kids and then they stayed up quietly later…… but we all got up at 6:15 anin morning for High School on school days…………….. I found having a clear ‘get up cheerfully and easily’ by X time helped them learn when they needed to go to bed…….

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