My Toddler Doesn’t Have a Bedtime

Do you ever get asked a parenting question that you answer back with “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….” and then a 3 minute explanation? No? That’s just me? 

My current “uh” question is bedtime. “Oh what time does she go to bed??” UHHHHHHHHHHHH. She doesn’t have a bedtime.  But she’s not super in charge of me either.  I mean, she is 20 months and super bossy, but I’M THE ADULT. Right? But she still doesn’t have a bedtime.  But she also gets about 11-12 hours of sleep.  

My Toddler Doesn't Have a Bedtime | Duluth Moms Blog

Nice right? So let me explain.  When we brought her home, she definitely had a routine.  She takes medicine every night at 8 pm.  So at first we kept her up no matter what, to give them.  As she has grown stronger and older, we do lay her down when she’s tired, wake her enough to swallow, and she goes back down to bed. But the time we lay her down varies.  It shifts around based on her health, and our schedule.  She right now typically goes down around 7, and then is up for a little bit around 8/8:30 and then out the rest of the night. (yes, we have a few nights she wakes up, but she is actually a great sleeper, so YAY!) But sometimes, she’s just not tired, and so we will keep her up til 8 or til she’s done 5,000 laps and eventually tires out. 

Now, as I’ve openly admitted I don’t have a set bedtime, I won’t be too shocked that I’ll take some hate, but I also thought I would be a die-hard “GO TO BED AT X:00”.  But then I got to know my daughter, and am able to not stress too bad.  Of course it helps that she does sleep well once she goes down.  Some nights when I mis-judge, and she is screaming from her bed, I’ll also go get her.  I don’t let her scream because it’s not right for our family, or in her personality to just scream for fun.  She typically will be a little hungry or have a diaper issue. (Why does she ALWAYS go AFTER we go in the crib?!) A few minutes of snuggles, and we are typically set.  As she gets more mobile and more verbal, I want to have the nice bedtime routine where we read books and say our nighttime prayers.  But crib life is more of meeting needs and falling asleep. 

It makes it trickier for babysitters etc, to say that she can go to bed whenever.  But so far, the few times we’ve had a sitter, they send me a message if she’s tired, if it’s ok, and of course I’ll say yes, because as much as I am not super stressed about bedtime, I surely won’t withhold sleep too. 

One thing I do know for sure about bedtime, is that it will be fluid for our family as more kids come, or as age increases.  I doubt I will be this chill when school age children are running around.  I can certainly see myself making sure strict bedtimes are enforced when the alarm clocks are needed to get to school on time. But for now, I’ll continue to awkwardly answer. I suppose I act awkward since I’m just waiting for someone to critique.  I need to get over caring about that, but for now, it makes for a good long answer right? But I also feel like it’s okay that I don’t follow a super conventional bedtime.  It’s right for us, my husband totally understands our rhythm, and is on board, and the baby gets tons of quality sleep. So really, it’s all good! 

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