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parents panel

Parents Panel: What time do your kids go to bed at?

No, but REALLY. Our panel gave us honest answers from the trenches.

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AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

Bedtime can be a battlefield, and while we’d all like to say we have the kids tucked up in bed at an ‘age-appropriate hour’, the reality is usually far different. This week we asked our panel to get honest with us…

What time do your kids really go to bed at?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

It used to be 7pm, but that’s fallen by the wayside: Our son has just turned 4. Up until a few months ago, his bedtime was 7pm. Luckily, RTE Jr finishes up at 6.55pm, which is just brilliant. However, since the clocks changed, it’s been a real challenge to get him to bed at a decent time. He still sometimes gets to watch a bit of TV, then into jammies and he can play in his room for a while. But it’s become after 8pm by the time he’s asleep. No matter what time he goes to sleep, he’s almost always still awake at 6am – but if he got to sleep too late, he’s a lot narkier at that time!

- Olly Keegan

It depends how much he’s napped: Charlie (19 months) is a 7.30pm baby – give or take half an hour! We flex depending on whether and when he has napped during the day. If he seems tired or hasn’t napped we’ll take him in early; if he’s full of energy we’ll let him run around a bit longer before settling down. It doesn’t always go as planned. He might chat (or whine!) in bed for ages some nights while others he falls asleep on his bottle before he even hits the bed.

- Kait Quinn

All four of them go to bed at the same time: Bedtime is the same time for all four of them [toddlers up to nine years old]. We are currently getting them to bed at about 8. We sit with them until they are all asleep and it is normally about 9 – 9.30pm earliest before we get downstairs again.

- Ross Boxshall

7.30pm, giving me time to get a walk in first: It was always 7pm [for my under-fours] until summertime hit this year. Now it is 7.30pm. This has a few benefits for me as well as for the kids, as I can get out each evening for some me-time and a nice walk!

- Denise

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It’s often midnight for my toddler: Bedtime is a constant battle in our house. Ellie Mae is on the go the whole day but nothing tires her out, so bedtime is not until between eleven and twelve at night. Five to six hours a night is her sleep pattern hence the late bedtime.

- Denise Cumiskey

We’ve pushed it out over the years: My sons are 12 and 14. On school nights, bedtime is usually 9pm, and outside of school it’s 10pm. As the kids get older we push it back a little bit here and there.

- Ken Hyland

He’s asleep by 7.45pm, tops: Tymek is just over two now and for a last while we’ve been setting up a nighttime routine. We have a dinner before 6pm, we wash him just before 7pm, and after TV, cuddles and bedtime, 90% of time he falls asleep by 7.30-7.45. Any later than 8pm and he finds it harder to settle.

- Marta Lisiecka

Girls together, boys together: My kids have set bedtimes, but they are allowed a little leeway on special occasions or sleepovers. On normal days, the girls (9 and 11) are in bed for 9, and the boys (3 and 4) are in bed for 7:30pm. They share bedrooms so it makes sense to have the girls and the boys go to bed at the same times, even though they are different ages.

- Susannah O’Brien

If we push it out, they’re exhausted: We have been strict on bedtimes since the kids were small. For our youngest (5), bedtime starts at about 7.30, for her to be in bed, with a story by about 8pm. If we stretch it, she’s exhausted the next day.  She loves being outside, so this is a challenge, but worth it. It’s 9pm for the nine year old. The odd time, our 12 year old is up until 10pm, but usually it’s closer to 9pm too.

- Alan Dooley

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More Parents Panel: What’s your one packing essential for a holiday with the kids?

More Parents Panel: How did your life change when a baby came along?

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