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7 Reasons I Want My Kids Awake After Bedtime

7 reasons I want my kids awake after bedtime.

Picture it, you put your kids to bed.  You’ve done the whole bedtime routine.  Teeth were brushed, songs were sung, and hugs exchanged. 

You shut your child’s door ready to tackle the rest of your evening. 

When about 20 minutes later you hear a little voice singing from the bedroom.  Your kid is not asleep. 

That’s okay.  It happens to Ben a lot.  I make sure he is indeed in bed, but then I leave him to his own devices. 

I actually think it is good for him to have this special time.  There are benefits to this special time. 

Here are 7 reasons I want my kids awake after bedtime.

7 reasons I want my kids awake after bedtime. That time between bedtime and actually sleeping is important. Let kids be kids and learn from it. #bedtime #sleep #kids #toddler #preschool #babywise #routine Team-Cartwright.com

Reasons I Want My Kids Awake After Bedtime

Kids need time to wind down

I need time to wind down before bed, and I know my kids do too.  However, my kids aren’t really great at creating that downtime for themselves.  They love to play and run around. 

Our evenings are not exactly quiet.  It would be a good idea for me to create a more soothing evening routine, but that is easier said than done.  We love our evening play time!  And sometimes it just isn’t feasible. 

Going to bed and getting to relax in the dark soothing quiet? That I can do every day.  Keeping an early bedtime gives my kids that quiet awake time to settle into sleep without being awake too late. 

So if I hear my kids awake after bed I leave them alone to unwind.

It provides quality imagination time

That time when your child is laying down not doing anything but not asleep yet is a special time.  Their minds can just be free. 

I hear Ben making up songs and stories, talking to himself about his day. This time before he falls asleep is special.  His mind is free to imagine and create worlds of his own.

That is a joy of childhood that I don’t want to take away from my children.

Tips on how to easily transition from nap time to rest time.

It forces kids to learn to handle alone time

While having the freedom to explore your imagination is a wonderful thing, it can also be tough to just be alone and still with your thoughts.  Being able to just be with your own thoughts is a skill, and this time before children fall asleep is the perfect time to practice this skill. 

I think this time can be especially helpful if you have a very extroverted child.  It gives them a chance to practice being alone in a safe and comfortable environment. 

This also boosts patience as they wait for sleep to come.

They are still resting, even if they are awake

Even if my kids are not sleeping, they are still laying down and resting.  That is important to note.  If I kept them up they would still be running around and playing, which is not restful. 

Keep in mind that their bodies are still getting valuable rest time, even if they aren’t actually asleep.

7 reasons I want my kids awake after bedtime. There are benefits to children not falling asleep right away. In fact, it encourages imaginative thought and patience while helping the whole family function well. #sleep #bedtime #troubleshooting #toddler #preschooler #babywise Team-Cartwright.com

Sibling bonding is taking place (aka the twin factor)

When siblings share a room you know there will be some chit-chat after dark.  Ali and Sammy share a room, so they often giggle and babble to each other after bedtime.  It is so sweet and I think it is an important sibling bonding moment. 

I know they are not always going to fall asleep right away.  Because of this, I build in some time for them to have their fun.  Staying in bed and trying to sleep are discipline issues that need to be handled. 

I am not going to let them have a party.  But I don’t mind if they share some moments with each other. 

Early bedtime lets them still get the sleep they need, and they get to enjoy sister time too.

Adult time matters too

Let’s be real, we adults need our downtime at night too.  My husband and I don’t get that time if our kids are up too late. 

I function better with more evening time, more gets done around the house, and I am a better mom to my kids.  Your needs as a parent matter too, and if an early bedtime means these needs are met then that is what we will do. 

Children are not going to suffer by being in their safe and comfy bed a little earlier to help their parents keep their sanity.

Twin Sleeping Arrangements: Safety and Practicality

It helps me prioritize sleep

Focusing on early bedtime helps me remember to prioritize sleep. 

As kids get older and don’t fall asleep as quickly it is easy to think they just need less sleep.  Letting bedtime inch back seems innocent enough, but before you know it a later time is just what you do. 

Keeping the early bedtime reminds me that sleep matters, and that kids need a lot of sleep still.  It is much easier to maintain a good sleep routine than start a new one after being more lax. 

I value sleep and want to make it a priority for my family.

It is good for your kids to be awake after bedtime! Here are 7 reasons why that time between saying good night and falling asleep are beneficial for your kids. #sleep #bedtime #kids #preschooler #babywise Team-Cartwright.com

Caveats

While I don’t mind if my kids are awake after bedtime, I do want to toss out a few caveats. 

This is for older toddlers and children.  I don’t like my babies to be in bed awake for a long period of time.  They need so much sleep and get overtired very easily, so being awake that long means a schedule change should be considered. 

The occasional time awake doesn’t bother me, but I don’t want it to be a habit for my babies. (Learn about the sleep hierarchy in babies to help with bedtime: Sleep hierarchy in Newborns.)

There is a common sense length of time that I don’t mind my children being awake.  I think being awake even up to an hour or so is fine.  But if my child were up for two to three hours we need to look at their activity levels during the day or consider a schedule update.

Finally, being awake is allowed, but that doesn’t mean discipline goes out the window.  My children are not allowed to have toys, books, or anything else in bed with them.  They cannot be too loud, and they must stay in bed.  Rules still apply and sleep is the goal, but I can’t punish them for being awake.

The benefits of your kids being awake after bedtime. Keep the early bedtime and give your kids the gift of imagination time. #sleep #kids #bedtime #preschooler #babywise Team-Cartwright.com

Staying Up Can Be Good

As long as discipline is maintained and my children stay in bed, they don’t have to be asleep.  Those quiet moments alone in bed can be valuable times. 

So next time you hear your little one up making up a song after they are supposed to be asleep, try just letting it go.  There is something special going on there.

Here are more amazing sleep tips to check out!

How To Solve Sleep Problems for Toddlers and Preschoolers

7 Ways to Establish Good Sleep Habits from Birth

How To Drop to One Nap

How To Know If Your Child Is Ready To Drop To No Naps

Thursday: Christine Keys

Thursday: Wiley Adventures

Friday: The Journey of Parenthood

Deciding when and how to transition from a crib? Here is how we transitioned and the factors we took into account. #crib #toddlerbed #cribtotoddlerbed #toddlerchanges #childhoodtransitions #toddlersleep #kidsleep #toddlerrooms #toddlercrib #nursery Team-Cartwright.com
A solid bedtime routine doesn’t have to take hours. There are four main components you need to build a bedtime routine you can take anywhere. Bedtime Routines | Toddler Sleep | Baby Sleep | Kid Sleep #baby #toddler #preschool #bedtime #routine #sleep #hygiene Team-Cartwright.com
Does your child lie awake for a bit in bed after bedtime? Good! Here are 7 reasons why it is good for kids to stay awake after bedtime. #bedtime #sleep #nap #toddler #preschool #routine #babywise Team-Cartwright.com
Kids awake after bedtime? Good! Staying in bed but spending some time awake is good for children. It helps imaginations grow and more. #bedtimeroutine #bedtime #children #imaginationdevelopment #emotionaldevelopment #babywise Team-Cartwright.com

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Do you put your child to bed only to have them  not fall asleep right away?  Good! There are some real benefits to your child being in bed but awake. Learn why this is special time is so valuable to kids. #Bedtime #KidsSleep #ToddlerSleep #AwakeInBed #PositiveParenting #EmotionalDevelopment #BedtimeTroubleShooting #StayInBed #SleepTips Team-Cartwright.com
picture of a toddler standing up in a crib with text overlay Why Your Kids Should Be Awake After Bedtime

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Laura

Sunday 12th of August 2018

My youngest takes FOREVER to decompress and unwind at bed time! Seriously it drives me MENTAL! She talks, calls us, gets out and and and for up to 90 min.

Holly

Monday 16th of July 2018

My two boys share a bedroom and neither one of them go to bed right away. Of course the don't only stay up but they also destroy the room!

kimcartwright

Monday 16th of July 2018

That's my worry with Ali and Sammy! They will need an early bedtime, but I bet they will have some fun before they fall asleep.

Laura

Wednesday 11th of July 2018

I’m all for my kids having quiet time in their rooms before falling asleep, and will let my older two read for as long as they want to in their beds (that hasn’t become an issue yet, although I’m sure I’ll have to limit it at some point in the future!). I need time to wind down and I’m sure they do as well. I agree with all of your points - I think learning to be alone and exercising their imagination is a huge benefit. Our issue is that one of our kids really struggles with this (he’s up and out of his room probably about 5-10x a night on average). We’re trying to teach him the skills to self-soothe and fall asleep without being up every 5 mins, but I definitely sympathize with him because I have a hard time falling asleep too.

kimcartwright

Wednesday 11th of July 2018

Getting out of bed is tough. If there aren't any underlying issues, that's a discipline thing. (and something I fear happening when Ali and Sammy are out of their cribs!) I have a hard time falling asleep sometimes too, and that can be really hard for kids! It is great that you are working on self-soothing skills this young, that will help him throughout life.

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