Are you a morning person or a night person? If you’re a night person, sometimes it seems like the world is set up to ruin your life. You have to cram your natural rhythms into a schedule that doesn’t work for you. School and work start way too early. You crash in the middle of the day. You can’t get to sleep at night. It feels like morning people rule the world, and you have to play by their rules. But what if you have kids?
One mom wrote on Reddit that she feels unfairly criticized by her family for making her kids get up early in the morning but not giving them a hard bedtime.
“I have three teenagers. As soon as they hit 13, I quit telling them to go to bed. Instead, I told them that on non-school days, they need to be up by 8a. I also do not monitor when they go to bed during the school year, as long as they get up for school (6am) and grades stay acceptable.”
“My reasoning, for having a wake time, rather than a bedtime is because, as adults, no one will tell them when to go to bed, but they will have to get up for work, school, family, etc. It is to get them accustomed early to regulating their own sleep schedules before they enter college. I am up an hour before them (5am on school days, 7am on weekends and summer) so I can get myself ready before they take up the bathrooms and to get some breakfast ready for them if I have time.”
During a family gathering, one of the OP’s sisters was saying how her teenagers had bedtime at 9pm on school nights and 10pm for non-school nights. Her other sister commented that the times seemed unreasonable.
“I got pulled in when asked what time I made my kids go to bed and told them what I wrote above. All of a sudden, they forgot about my sister making her 17 year old go to bed at 9pm for more than half a year, and instead wolf packed on me for how unwieldy unfair I am on my poor kids by having them get up in the morning. Family members who were listening in and did not comment on my sisters bedtime demands, had PLENTY to say about my kids having a wake up time on days they didn’t have school. I was accused of being controlling and overbearing. It became a bit heated and I went ahead and went home.”
Now, the OP is wondering if her bedtime and wake-up philosophy is wrong, so she reached out on Reddit.
“Both the CDC and American Medical Association have advocated for later school start times, because getting up early is bad for teenagers. A lack of sleep is a huge health risk for teenagers, and you are contributing to it for absolutely no reason,” said NakedStreets.
“Teens are biologically programmed to get up late and stay up late; echoing the above comment on numerous doctors, medical organizations, and mental health organizations/professionals all advocate for high school to start later in the day to help improve teens’ mental and physical health,” explained warrior_female.
“The CDC also recommends: ‘Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.’ That’s actually the #1 suggestion on their Tips for a Better Sleep page. Studies have shown consistently that regular sleep schedules lead to better sleep. Additionally, there is no such thing as ‘catching-up’ on your sleep on the weekends. The health effects of sleep debt can’t be resolved in a day or two of sleeping in. Now, I totally advocate for later school start times for teens. The medical advice there is sound. However, if you are beholden to a system that is forcing them to be up that early during the week, then they should have a consistent schedule during the weekend as well. Let them nap on laze around on the weekends, but a consistent schedule is important for healthy sleep! I can’t understand the folks that are calling YTA because you’re trying your best to deal with a BS school start time,” said YanniRocks.
“I don’t follow your logic. As an adult I sleep as late as I want on days when I have no work, school or other obligations. If you want your kids to have adult sleep habits, why not allow them the same,” asked throwaway13168751.
“I also don’t follow the idea that ‘because you will have this as an adult, you better do it now.’ Isn’t the point of childhood to enjoy the many things in life that we lose as adults? Even more so, I’m in my early 30s and I can’t even sleep in if I wanted to. Like they should be enjoying the days they can sleep in until 11. By OPs logic should they get no summer vacation because adults don’t? Should they have to eat very healthy because adults can’t eat like children without getting fat? Plus, adults get a lot of benefits of being adults. Waking up early for a job then comes with the money from the job. They get the freedom of essentially doing what they want and not living by their parents rules. Making them pay the price of being an adult without the benefits is absurd,” said gdddg.
“Kids have almost 0 control over their lives. My mom always said to let them sleep and choose their hair, because the rest of the decisions are out of their hands,” said Kuwabara03.
“I understand your reasoning but a soft YTA because teenagers have different sleep needs than adults or younger children. Going to bed later and sleeping later is more natural for them, and if they don’t have anywhere that they need to be the next day then what’s the harm in letting them sleep longer? As long as they can get up early when they need to it shouldn’t matter what time they get up on the days they don’t,” noted SnooPineapples34590.
The OP later added that she had thought about some of the comments and new studies and talked to her kids about adjusting their schedules.
“At first, all three were adamant about keeping wake up time at 8a. But after pointing out that studies showed they would need to be in bed by midnight, my oldest folded to pushing off to 9a. Youngest teenager was worried he wouldn’t get to see me before I left, so I said that it could be a day by day. If he felt like getting up at 8a to spend time with me, he could but zero pressure to do so. Only the middle one is adamant about keeping 8am. She says she already has her entire schedule for the day built around it and wants to keep it. So, Monday through Friday, I will have one getting up at 8a and two getting up no later than 9 am. Saturday’s and Sunday’s (work scheduling allowing) they will be up by 10a. Thank you to all for the feedback. Even the YTA, feedback that also gave constructive advice, thank you. I really appreciate it.”
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