We've all seen the "You'll never sleep again" memes about parenting and they're funny because they're true. And if we didn't laugh, we'd cry.
After two kids, we can definitely say that sleep is not a commodity you get enough of as a parent but one thing we swore to do when we had kids was ensure that they had enough. So from the start, we've ensured they went to bed early every night and for the most part, bedtime has never really been stressful and we're a pretty happy family.
As it turns out, our gut instincts were right! A new Growing Up in Australia study has confirmed that children with early bedtimes - those asleep by 8:30 p.m - had “better health-related quality of life.” And their mums had improved mental health, too.
So getting kids to bed early is not just great for them. It’s good for you, too!
Which makes sense to me. There’s nothing quite as sweet as the sounds of silence that descend on my home shortly after 8 p.m. That evening quiet time is a gift. A space in the day to recharge, relax and recuperate.
Having kids is a mental and physical feat. When you then add the various loads of jobs, marriage, home maintenance and self-care (or a version of it), it’s no wonder parents have some excess stress and fatigue in their lives.
One of the reasons that earlier bedtimes are good for everyone is that the earlier kids go to bed, the longer they actually sleep.
And they need a lot of sleep, look at this chart which shows how many hours children of different ages need:
Here's another handy chart that outlines what time your kids should go to bed based on their wake up time - it's pretty close to what we do and that works for us.
So get those kids to bed earlier and you'll all be better for it.