I always seem to be lamenting the fact that at least one of my kids are tired. All brought on undoubtedly by the fact that they were late to bed the night before (for any number of reasons). So let’s look at what is the ideal bedtime for kids.

I don’t think there’s any magic formula and try as I might I sometimes attempt to put one of my children to bed before the others.  Isn’t it fair that the 9 year old gets to stay up later than the nearly 4 year old? Rationally, of course, it makes sense. But try telling the little one that.  I’ve tried to explain to her that when you sleep you grow and that she has more growing to do, but she won’t have a bar of it.

So, we’ve reached a good middle ground that seems to work for everyone.  My two daughters (who share a bedroom by choice) both are ideally in bed by 7.30pm (and that’s stories read, teeth brushed etc) with lights out and no talking.  Eldest son (9) goes to bed at the same time but reads for between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on what type of day he’s had or what type of day he has coming up the next day.

The girls have seemed to accept this as a compromise – at least he’s not down hanging out with us or watching TV.

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Doesn’t Always Go According To Plan

Some days if they’re all going crazy, World War III is erupting and hubbie and I are getting cranky, I just call it quits.  We drop everything, abandon any hope of clean teeth and just get them to bed.  I have been known to put them to bed in their clothes depending on how tired they are and how urgently they need to sleep.  It’s nothing a bath and a big brush in the morning won’t fix.

What The Chart Says

We recently shared a chart that showed the ideal bedtime for kids.

Many of our mums commented (as we did) that we were dismal failures which it came to bedtime for kids.

“Fail! Not that I needed the chart to tell me that. We don’t always even manage to eat dinner before my almost 5 year olds bed time,” admitted one mum.

However, others reminded us that charts like these can just put added pressure on mums, that we certainly don’t need.

“There is no such thing as failing…as long as you are trying your best and doing what works for you who cares what some chart says…children aren’t a one size fits all,” read one comment.

“This sort of thing is ridiculous and makes parents feel all sorts of pressure that they are failing their kids (or toddlers or babies). Children are all different. Their sleep needs are different,” said another mum.

What’s the night-time schedule like in your house? Any tips for mums struggling to get consistency in bedtimes? Anything you wish you’d done differently? And do you let them stay up late on the holidays? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Being a first time mum, I find charts like this really helpful. Whilst I may not follow it exactly, sometimes it is really nice to have a ballpark number and then work around that.


  • I don’t think there’s is an ideal bedtime, not a set time that would suit all kids. Kids are so different, parents need to be a bit flexible and realise that just cos little Tommy next door is all tucked up by 7pm, doesn’t mean it will work for their kids


  • I do tv think there is a set rule for an ideal bedtime for kids. It all depends on the individual child and also what fits in with mum and dads lives.


  • Both if mine are night owls my son is bed at 8.30 and my daughter 9.00 as there is no point eariler as they won’t sleep


  • My school aged children go to bed by 7:30pm and they’re generally asleep by 7:45pm. Sleep is so important for students!!


  • my kids go to bed at 9 and wake up in the morning at 8 . and best tips to make sleep time easier is no late naps


  • My 3.5 year old goes to bed around 6:30 and wakes around 6am. He does wake during the night. If he naps he goes to bed closer to 8pm. My 19 month old goes to bed at 7:30pm but is a shocking sleeper.


  • My 6yr old goes to sleep around 8.30-9pm after quiet time books songs and cuddles and wakes between 3.30-4.30am. It’s bad !


  • I like the chart. Fortunately I never had problems with bedtime.


  • My 3 year old is generally in bed and asleep by 7-7:30pm and he’s always up by 6:45-7am. This wake up time will occur regardless of the what time we put him down of an evening even if he’s had a very late night of say 10pm.. hence why we try and aim for a usual 7-7:30pm!


  • My son is 3 and we do quiet play/books from 7pm – 8pm and then hes in bed. It usually still takes him 30 minutes before hes actually asleep though. He sleeps through until about 7:30-8am


  • 2 and nearly 5 go to bed at 8. Any earlier they will be up until after that time anyway


  • 7-7:30 pm bed time for our kids. Lights out. But when they actually stop playing and lay down to sleep is beyond us! Our eldest sleeps till at least 7am, but no idea what time our youngest gets up as 1. I’m in bed till 7am minimum, and 2. He is very quiet when sneaking out, and takes advantage of daddy’s bad hearing. He finds daddy around 6:30am when he is allowed to get up.


  • Both our boys had to be in bed by 8. The youngest one was read a story and then lights out while the older one could read until 9 then lights out. They didn’t have to be up until 8 because school was across the road. It worked for us the majority of the time


  • I struggle with my 4 year old !!! We put him to bed at 8 but he doesn’t go to sleep until like 11 or 12 it’s soo stressful!!!


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