I know plenty of parents that live and die by the sleep training bedtime schedule, but three kids into this parenting thing and that has just never been us. Though some may wonder how we’ve survived almost ten years of parenthood like this, it actually works pretty well for us. I’ve always been a “to each their own” kind of parent, but there are several reasons why we’ve never put much stress or emphasis on parenting a consistent bedtime.
The Priority of Dinner Time
As the kids get older the crazier our schedule gets. Some nights it’s impossible to feed and bathe everyone for bed before 10. I am not one to forgo our family dinner time just because my kid will be late going to bed. Dinner time as a family has always been a priority in our house over going to bed on time. If someone is going to be home later we tend to wait for them so we can all eat together.
The other thing that consistently keeps my kids from going to bed at a scheduled bedtime is the weather. If it is nice I will let them play outside until almost dark. If they’re having fun outside and enjoying a beautiful day what’s the rush to end it? They’re only a kid once. I’m all about stealing and stretching whatever GOLDEN MOMENTS we can.
Valuable Family Time with Family and Friends
This is definitely true on the weekend. We do family stuff almost every weekend and many weekends we meet up with friends or family that’s f
urther away. On warmer nights do you know how much fun it is to stay up past dark and catch lightening bugs? My kids love sneaking around in the dark with their flashlight playing Jake and the Pirates or Dora and Boots on an exploration adventure so if it’s a weekend anything even close to a bedtime schedule is totally neglected for those childhood nights outside.
The Limited Time We Get with Them as Working Parents
Whether it’s the weekend or the work week we could have a more structured set bedtime we enforce but as two working parents I know late evenings are our most opportune time for both of us to connect with our kids. They really do GROW IN A BLINK and that time past “bedtime” time with them is valuable to us.
Some nights they snuggle with us in front of the TV when they should probably be in bed. They play a game together or draw something on the floor in front of us rather than going to bed. More nights than not we let them stay up past bedtime so we can spend time with them.
No Bedtime Makes them Flexible Kids
I think the lack of a structured bedtime is part of what makes my kids such flexible kids. When we’re out somewhere late or have a long day they’re typically not kids to have an end of the day meltdown because it’s well past their bedtime.
It’s too late for us in this parenting game to sleep train our kids. Sometimes I think the lack of a structured set bedtime is our “supposed” greatest PARENTING FAIL. As two teachers, my husband and I are well aware of the importance of structure and even consistency. But as parents we completely abandon it when it comes to bedtime.
However, it doesn’t seem to hurt our kids as they are active kids that thrive in school. When I look back through the years there’s a lot of late night fun and family memories that have been made past bedtime that we would have all missed if we were so set on bedtime by eight every night.