COVID, Habits, Kids

Bedtime Woes and Bad Habits

Last week I wrote a post about habits, so this has been on my mind all week. I’ve noticed a couple “bad habits” sneaking into our household a bit during this lock down time. Maybe it’s not even really fair to call them “habits”- more like “routines that might not be the best to continue long term”. 😊

One of these bad habits has been a basic lack of any real structure around bedtime. Our bedtime routine has basically gone out the window.  
In normal times on school days we have a fairly regular routine consisting of sports practices, homework, piano practice, dinner, showers, maybe reading before bed. No TV or video games ever really on a school night. Bed by 8:30/9:00 hopefully at the latest (for the boys).

Well, when the whole lockdown thing started, it felt very novel and weird in a special way. It felt okay to “relax the rules”. We viewed the whole period as kind of a unique, short-lived time, a time to try to lean in and enjoy what we could about it. It felt like overkill and unnecessary to enforce a bunch of strict rules when we really had…. nowhere to go and nothing to do!!

So, we started watching movies on a Tuesday night after dinner. Or Ivan and the boys would watch a Netflix series while I caught up on some work. Or, sometimes Ivan and I would watch a show in our room while the boys played some video games (again, on a weeknight/ school night).

This has led to an actual “bedtime” becoming sort of a figment of my past imagination. “Bedtime” has morphed into….whenever the show/ game/ activity is over, or whenever someone falls asleep on the couch (ahem, Asher. Or me.) There’s been no routine anymore like we used to have. 

My kids when I suggest they start getting ready for bed at 9 pm. 

I know some of this is natural progression of the boys’ ages, and it was inevitable at some point. I knew they weren’t going to be tucked in bed by 8:30 pm sharp every night from now until they leave for college!

But I’d say my two biggest concerns are that: a) the boys staying up later affects when I can go to bed and b) this screen time/ lack of bedtime structure is going to be very, very hard to ever reverse when things go back to “normal!”

The fact is, I wake up early!! I can’t (or shouldn’t) stay up until midnight. I also have always really enjoyed and looked forward to that hour or so between 9 pm and 10 pm when the kids were in bed and I could either just sit and talk to Ivan or watch a show of our own or just read or whatever. Now many nights the boys are up until 10 pm or later! It has inched mybedtime way too late many nights and has taken that nighttime quiet time for the adults away too. 

I think this is an issue that was bound to come up eventually- like I said, teenagers just don’t go to bed at 8:30 pm. This COIVD lockdown maybe just accelerated it a little bit? Most days the boys don’t wake up until at least 7-7:30, so if they go to bed at 10/ 10:30, they are usually getting 9+ hours of sleep still. Summer days are always challenging anyway when it’s light out until so late, too. 

Has the COVID lockdown changed your bedtime routines at all? I’m curious if anyone else with older kids has noticed this gradual shift as well.
Last night we bucked the “screen time” habit and played a few rounds of Wheel of Fortune! I think I might sign up for the real show….not to brag, but I guessed all the answers way before anyone else in my family. 😉 

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful for increased independence in the boys. They have been able to just ride their bikes to a friend’s house and over to the gym this week for their workout class. It is strange but also really nice that I don’t have to take them EVERYWHERE anymore!

3 thoughts on “Bedtime Woes and Bad Habits

  1. I'm in such a different phase of parenting so can't comment on that but I can see how bedtime has drifted! I'm trying to remember back on what my bedtime routine was like when I was a tween/teen and I can not remember… We have a 2yo so have a strict bedtime because he really needs his sleep. He was going to bed around 7:30 but we had to push it back to 7 when he went back to daycare as he has been soooo tired when he gets home – more tired than he was before COVID. But it's nicer out now so they are going to the playground twice a day so I think all the fresh air and running around tire him out. So we have so much time to ourselves after he goes to bed which is nice but I know that won't always be the case!! So I better enjoy it to the fullest while I can!

  2. Yes, you are in a VERY different stage! I think sometimes I forget and think I'm still in the stage you are, with kids heading off to bed by 7-8 pm. No longer! 🙂 We have been discussing this and trying to some days take our "adult/ alone" time to talk, watch a show, etc. while the kids are still awake, but just go in another room or our bedroom while they either read, watch their own show or play video games in the living room. I think it's really the only way, because unless I stay up way too late, there just isn't much time any more after the kids go to bed!

  3. fortunately not much yet to us because I'm quite strict. no TV during the week and they still close their bedroom door by 8pm (pre cover was 7:30am as they need to get up at 6am). Our evening routine is pretty consistent, dinner, reading, getting ready, hight out.
    thanks to that, I can have 1 hr or so of alone time before I fall asleep. I wake up between 4-5am everyday.
    I like structure and I think the girls, while everyday they resist a bit, they also like to follow it. To me, having solid 10 hrs sleep for them is super important, so i'm glad they still do that.

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