Newsflash: kids don’t care about your chart
Sleep is a hot topic in Parentville with one of the biggest debates being what time kids should go to bed depending on their age. There are various charts floating around the internet that attempt to set the record straight, but bedtime is such a variable thing with so many factors at play that most parents just roll their eyes at the “expert” advice.
The latest viral bedtime chart getting parental panties in a wad is no exception.
The chart starts at age two, probably because expecting a regular bedtime from a child younger than that is so laughably ridiculous as to not even go there. It then makes bedtime 15 minutes later for each year until the magical adult age of 18.
Real talk — does anyone really give their 18-year-old a bedtime? Because what the hell.
Overall, the reactions to the chart run the gamut from “YES, this all day” to “THIS IS RIDICULOUS, I WILL BURN THIS CHART AND SWEAR VENGEANCE ON WHOEVER MADE IT.”
OK, we’re exaggerating a little, but not really. Parents get very heated when it comes to bedtime talk, and that’s because there’s no one formula for every family. Or even every kid. Just because your little angel needs to be asleep before the sun is down doesn’t mean it’s wrong if someone else’s kid parties until 10:00 pm and is happily awake by 6:00.
There are approximately one million things to consider when it comes to figuring out how bedtime should go — and it won’t look exactly the same for any two families. Factors such as how late parents get home in the evening matter. When I worked an office job and wasn’t rolling into my driveway until after 6:00 pm, there was no way in hell I’d have my two-year-old bathed, fed, read to, and shipped off to dreamland by 7:00. Then, there’s being able to spend time with a parent who gets home from work a little later. Or, dealing with evening sports and activities. And the preschooler who naps a lot at daycare and simply can’t fall asleep any earlier than 9:00, despite what the magical chart says.
That’s why even though bedtime charts can serve as a loose guideline for parents who want to figure out whether their kid might be better served by more/less sleep, they’re far from the solution for everyone. Some kids need a ton of sleep, some need hardly any. My older child would sleep until a dump truck rammed into our house unless I woke her. My younger kiddo has conquered half the planet by 7:00 am most days.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to kids and bedtimes. Every family has to do what works for them and their children and not worry if it doesn’t fit into a little chart.
Besides, since when have kids given even one tiny shit about what a chart says when it comes to anything?