Monday, November 26, 2007

No bedtimes!?

This is always a hot topic, not as hot as video games but popular nonetheless.

It has been brought up twice this week on christian unschooling basics, I did reply once but I find I'm much better at blogging because then it's not personal, it's just my opinion, my perspective, my experience.

Technically my kids have never had bedtimes, I breastfed and co-slept and moved them on to their own bed when the next baby came. We just slept when we were tired, while nursing or whatever. I am a night person I always have been, my kids are pretty much night people but my oldest is a little earlier than the rest.

We did have a period of time when our routine would end up sending the big boys to bed around 10pm, we never thought anything of it. One day Kieran asked me why he had to go to bed but his little sister didn't. Light bulb moment! She just naturally was running around at midnight :)

I had already been on unschooling groups and read many posts and said well you don't HAVE TO go bed if you aren't ready.

At first they pushed themselves, later and later each night, Jason did get a little annoyed, but I asked him to trust the process. I am blessed with a husband who trusts me and gives me lots of leeway with the kids.

They ended up tapering off after several weeks and started to go to bed anywhere between 10pm and 1am. Cassie and Jared were still up later but the difference was they decided when to go to bed, not me.

Although now my kids are up half the night, it ebbs and flows and times do vary but now it's more like between 1 and 4 am but they are older now, 12,9,8,5.

They go to bed when they are ready plain and simple.

My husband has to get up at 6am to go to work, he goes to bed anywhere from 10pm to 1am usually an average is midnight. The kids know that whenever daddy goes to bed it's quiet time, sometimes they get too loud but most of the time they do pretty good.

We don't believe that everyone should go to sleep and wake up at the same time, nor be hungry at the same time nor go to the bathroom at the same time, see where I'm going?

We all have our own schedules and routines and nobody should make us something we're not.
My husband has no problem getting up in the morning, I do, I am physically unable to get up in the morning but when I did work I worked swing shift.

Don't let any naysayer tell you that your kids will never learn how to get up and go to work, that's a bunch of BS. If they don't do mornings who the hell cares the world revolves around a 24 hour time period each day, thank God for that. I spent my years getting up early and being miserable, I was exhausted and suffered migraines. Just because I had to go to bed did not mean I went to sleep and then I had to get up for school, oh the absolute misery.

I will not make my kids go to bed or make them get up for anything, especially school. If we learn to listen to our bodies and find the natural rhythm early on we will be so much better off in the long run.

This is not say they they don't get up to go places that they WANT to go because they do. The point is thay are in control of their own bodies, they know when they are tired.

If you are just lifting a restriction, I would do it gradually, a little more yeses each night until they are the ones putting themselves to bed. My kids tell me they are going to bed.

I realize that many people will never do what I do, I mean the whole damn package, it's not easy to get over the engrained shit BUT it is so worth it. Let go, move on, embrace your life right this moment and don't listen to people who tell you it can't be done.

"In a nutshell, people whose lives are hard, boring, painful, meaningless—people who suffer—tend to resent those who seem to suffer less than they do, and will make them suffer if they can. People who feel themselves in chains, with no hope of ever getting them off, want to put chains on everyone else." —John Holt, Teach Your Own, Introduction.


justjuls said...

Our main problem here is the not respecting my time to sleep. I can't stay up half the night with them. Even if it isn't loud noise - they come in to ask me something or a million other things - and believe it or not - the oldest is the worst one.

Deanne said...

That Holt quote is one of my favorites. ;)

Penny said...

That's a favorite quote of mine as well.
No bedtimes here either!

Erica said...

Wonderful Stephanie! I'll share that with my DH.

Stephanie said...

Cassie does that to me when I do try to go to bed before her, she just doesn't get it... but she is 8 :)

I just believe that figuring out WHY you are sending the kid to bed at a certain time when they aren't ready. That is important in parenting and unschooling, why do we have the hang ups and pre conceived notions? Because someone said it to us. Gee I could keep going ang going...

Anonymous said...

Hear hear. Our youngest 6 yo loves to stay up all hours...if he can keep up. No bedtime hours imposed here. However, if we have some place to go early in the morning, I do try to remind them it would be taxiing on them and hard to get up and keep their eyes open etc. They get it and put up no fight. If you let kids to be in control of their lives and trust that they will make suitable decision, they will happily.

Anonymous said...

No bedtimes here...I cracked up a couple of years ago when an HE Mum told me, "Oh- you wait until you have teenagers- then they don't go to bed until 9pm!"...rotflmho- even my (then) 3 yo was still up at 11pm.
I am lucky though- my dh tends to stay up late with the kids, but J (8) is normally the last one to bed.