I was holiday shopping at 10:30 pm on Tuesday night and I saw several families with children ages 4 -7 at the store. This was not the first time I have seen children out way past their bedtime. I’m wondering how difficult it will be to get them to bed and what they will feel like in the morning.
When I raised my daughter, I arranged my life to fit her developmental schedule and emotional needs. I believe this is what a parent needs to do. I’m not saying to give them whatever they ask for; I’m saying to tune into their inner needs so they feel cared for and secure.
If a child’s bedtime is 8:00, then don’t take them out shopping or to events that will get them off schedule too much. I’ll be flexible and allow an 8:30 bedtime yet no later. Children are not very adept at knowing when they are tired. You may look at your child who looks exhausted and is getting very cranky and ask him, “Are you tired? Do you want to go to bed?” The response will probably be, “No, I’m not tired.” Whatever is happening around them is more interesting than sleeping no matter how crabby they become.
It’s your parenting job to set limits on activities and get your kids to bed at an age appropriate time. Your desire to go shopping or to a movie or another activity that keeps your kids up late is not responsible parenting. Parents who do not put their kids’ developmental needs first, end up with children who are poorly disciplined. Your appropriate bedtime limit setting is part of how children learn to self-discipline.
What do you think? Are there good reasons for keeping children up late? What do you think about kids being out late with adults?
Be Brave and try taking my Limit Setting Skill Quiz and see if you could improve.
©2014 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She guides parents to create a caring, cooperative, and courageous family. Cynthia presents her expertise through writing, speaking, and private parenting coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association, Parents Place Parenting Educator, and is a columnist for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138.