We’re those parents who put their kids to bed at the same time every day, so that by 7:30pm, our toddler is tucked in and ready to sleep. Once in a while, he’ll take a late nap and we’ll extend his bedtime, but the latest he has slept has been 8pm. So far this routine has worked well for us. LO usually wakes up at 7am, clocking in nearly 12 straight hours of blissful sleep.
There are times though when I wish we had more flexibility. Take the holidays, for instance. Apparently Filipinos and Mexicans have no regard for children’s bedtimes because both my husband and I have grown up celebrating Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. For as long as I could remember, I stayed up until midnight and then some, along with every other kid and adult. Everyone in my family continues this tradition… except me. For the past two holidays, we skipped the midnight celebration and instead opted to join them the following day (a.k.a. the B-list festivities of leftover food and groggy attendance).
The same applies to Fourth of July. My most favorite fireworks show happened when—before having a kid—my husband and I drove to the local high school and along with hundreds of other people, laid down on the football field and gazed at the fireworks exploding literally right above us. Since our baby was born, we’ve had to bypass fireworks (or pretty much any festivities that occur in the evenings) because they start at 9pm—far too late for our toddler’s bedtime. This doesn’t even count for the time the fireworks finally end as well as waiting for hundreds of cars to file out of a small parking lot.
Having a regular bedtime routine helps keep our toddler’s temper at bay, so I only half-mind that we miss out on evening events. He seems to thrive with consistency and appreciates that he knows what to expect and when.
This year, though, we might venture out and try a new strategy for Fourth of July. We’re lucky—we can actually see some pretty decent fireworks from our patio. We don’t hear the explosions, but they’re large and amazing to watch. Perhaps now that our toddler is all of two-and-a-half, we could try putting him down for a late nap so that he can stay up until 9pm, watch the fireworks for half an hour or so, then head straight to bath time and sleep. We would still have to brace ourselves for any sort of “I didn’t get enough sleep” grumpiness the next day, but considering that we’re fortunate enough to watch fireworks from our patio, this may be the best we can hope for at his age.
As far as Christmas Eve and midnight revelry, we’ll have to wait a few more years for that.
What time do your kids go to bed? Do you have any plans for Fourth of July fireworks? Do you have a set bedtime every night, or are you more flexible with when your kids turn in for the night? If you have a set schedule, when have you made exceptions to bedtime?
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