I have a confession . . . I put my kids to bed super early—like shockingly early. Some people think it’s crazy to have little kids going to bed at 6:30 p.m., but mine do. I googled it before writing this, and there is quite a lot of research talking about the positive effects of an early bedtime on young children.
My motivation for an early bedtime came from none of this research. My motivation at the time was, I’m a stay-at-home mom and I need it to be done. By “it” I mean the stimulation of being with little kids all day. Putting my kids to bed early was great for my mental health, my house, and especially my marriage.
We have date night every night in our den after the kids go to bed. Sure, it’s not a fancy restaurant, but watching Dateline and eating pizza just the two of us, every night? Sign. Me. Up. We have so much fun talking and relaxing after the kids are in bed.
There are two major drawbacks of an early bedtime. The first is early to bed, early to rise as they say. My kids are up every day by 6 a.m. For me, that works as I am a morning person. My husband has a demanding job that requires him to be gone a lot in the evening, so this early time also works for him. He is with the kids for hours in the morning and has the energy and patience to play.
It’s a special family time as well because it’s more relaxed and kids wake up happy (usually). It’s also my time to be with the kids, but not be as “on” as I am during the day, or I often take our dog for a walk in the quiet morning.
The second drawback is scheduling. It’s hard to tell family we need to leave the BBQ at 4:30, but we just do. Block party in the neighborhood beginning at 6 p.m.? Not for us. Invitations to meet up with our friends and their kids in the evening aren’t going to work for us. There are things we miss to adhere to the bedtime, but for our family, it is 100 percent worth it. It also will not be the case as kids become older but for babies and toddlers, it is well worth the trade.
This obviously isn’t ideal for every family situation, but it has been for ours. The little trick of an early bedtime made these years so much more enjoyable for our family and was especially great for my marriage. Early bedtimes won’t work for everyone, but it works wonders for me!