I'm Almost Embarrased to Ask This Question -- Bedtime

Updated on May 16, 2015
S.W. asks from Birmingham, MI
21 answers

Okay, so go easy on me...I'm new to this whole -- there's a teenaged boy living in my house -- experience.

I need some judges rulings on this and I'll keep it short.

My son is 13.5 and in 7th grade. I think his bedtime should be 9:30 pm and he thinks it should be 10:00pm. We're talking school nights here. He gets up to get ready for school between 6:30 am and 6:45 am. I am at work by then and so my DH is the one home with him while they get themselves out the door. I don't expect him to have his eyes shut tight and asleep in a moment or two at the stroke of 9:30. it's just that extra half hour of relaxing into sleep is valuable, in my opinion.

So!! What is an appropriate bedtime in this scenario???

:-) S.

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So What Happened?

okay, i'm seeing a trend here. since i'm not there in the mornings, i don't know if he's had difficulty in the mornings. however, i've never had any reports of any problems. i am seeing the wisdom here and from an admitted helicopter mom i do have trouble stepping back and at times have to be nudged...i'm owning it. we already cut off the electronics earlier in the evening and he's not allowed to keep his phone in his room overnight. we have a shared charging station.

so i think the dinner conversation tonight will please him. he's got an early wake up tomorrow for a chess tournament and i will be there so maybe i'll get up around his time and see how he does....

thanks so much ladies and keep those posts coming as you wish. :-) S.

Featured Answers


answers from Washington DC on

he's a teenager. a new one, but a teenager. let him have a say.
if you want him to make good decisions about much more important things than this, you need to let him have some practice.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is 11 and in middle school, she goes to bed when she is tired. She knows what she has to do every day and she knows what her next day schedule is. She has to be out of the door by 635, so whatever time she needs to go to bed she does.

My boys are 8 and 10 and I like them to go up by 9.

But really, there is nothing set in stone, we find that they do what works for them. They all go to bed when they are tired and rarely have trouble in the mornings.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

In high school there are times that the band, football players cheerleaders, the theater kids etc.. will not get home until 11:00 pm, sometimes they have to be at school extra early.. but they have learned to be efficient with their time. Get their homework completed and get to bed

We made a promise to our daughter when she was in 5th grade. She could stay up as late as she wanted, but in the morning she had to get up on time, be ready for school and keep up her grades. If not, we her parent would impose her bedtime. This meant stay in her room and not be on the phone..

There was only 1 time that she groused about getting up, I reminded her I was going to set her bedtime that night. She was not pleased and asked that following night to have "a do over".. She NEVER again was not ready in the morning. ..

She was a National Merit scholar and when she went to college, she knew exactly how much sleep SHE needed to function..

She graduated with honors..

Some people do not need as much sleep as others.

Allow your son to have a bit of responsibility. He is now in the last few weeks of school. Give him some ownership for his choices.. Then in the Fall you all can revisit and see how he does.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

We don't have a set "bedtime" at our house. My kids are 15 and 12. They go to bed when they are tired...as long as they can get THEMSELVES up in the morning and ready for school. This has never been an issue for me, I have always had good sleepers. My 15 yo has to get the bus at 630am so she goes to bed by 9 every night on her own. My 12 yo has to leave at 8am so he has more time. He usually goes to bed between 915-10pm.

However....they are not allowed on their phones or tablets after 730 but they can play on the playstation and/or tv until they are tired. They don't have TV's in their rooms either.

So I would tell your son that you can try a 10pm bedtime IF he can get up on his own without any fuss and get ready for school and not be tired. If he can do that then he can stay up, if not, he's in bed at 930 or earlier. Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

The appropriate bedtime is whenever you decide it ought to be. My boys, ages 12 and 14, go to bed at 8:30 and 9pm. They are required to go up 20 minutes earlier to take care of hygiene and straighten up their rooms. Lights out at actual bedtime, or they go to bed an hour earlier the next night.

Bedtime is at 10pm on the weekends in our home.

I would say that there's nothing wrong with 10pm...if he's responsible and has a history of getting things done with no nagging, and if his grades reflect that. But when or if all that slips...he doesn't get to choose.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

ADD: You rock, mama - time to turn the helicopter over to him on occasion LOL ;)

ORIGINAL: If he gets up easy, give him the 10. Let him know that it goes to 9:30 if his morning wake ups don't work out.

And 9:30 cut-off for electronics. That way, YOU get the 9:30 relaxing, and he gets the 10pm bedtime.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Like others said, what's he like in the morning? Is he getting his work done? Are his grades appropriate?

When we had that argument with SD in middle school, we said that since we had to wake her often in the morning and she made us late for work when she missed the bus, she had to not make us late for one week to prove she could handle x bedtime. She stayed at 9:30 for a long time. There was no official announcement but in HS she was going to bed around 10, I think. She had to catch a bus by 6:30 and learned to do things like shower at night.

Now that said, teenagers are notcturnal and if your 13 almost 14 yr old can get enough sleep between 10 and 6:30 and his dad has no problems getting them out the door, then I think leave it between him and his dad, but state that any lapse in grades (for example) will result in no screen time after 9PM or early to bed. When my SS played video games and then was up late finishing HW the night before it was due, DH took the cables to the games for a week because that was the real problem, not the no sleep thing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

At his age, my bedtime was 10 and I got myself up at 5:30 every morning to get ready for school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Shoot for 9pm (in bed and reading) with lights out at 9:30pm.
You won't always hit the target, but more often than not you should.
At 13 he still needs more than 8 hrs sleep per night.
He's growing and too many teens (and their parents) just ignore getting the sleep they need.
At 16 our son gets 8 hrs sleep per night (most nights unless he's swamped with homework) but it's common for him to sleep on the bus on the way to school in the morning and to catch a nap for 30 to 60 min when he comes home from school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You've already responded, but that sounds similar to here - we're not super strict, it's more a target to aim for. Mine gets up around 6:10 and it's around 9:30 pm but if a show is on or hockey game, he stays up. I just say "if you're a bear in the morning, that's your problem!". On weekends, it's more whenever and he can sleep in a bit.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

There is no right or wrong answer to this, and I agree with the others who have posted even though the answers have varied. Here's how it has gone in our house. Our boys are 11 and 17.

With our 17 year old, he had a set bedtime until high school. In the 7th-8th grades it was 9:00 or 9:30; I don't remember exactly. After that, we trusted him to go to sleep when he was tired and get himself up and ready for school. He's very good about it. Sometimes he stays up until 10:30, but most nights he goes to bed by 10:00 because he's tired. He always wakes himself up in the morning on time and gets ready for school happily.

Our 11 year old technically has a bedtime of 8:30, but he's so good about going to bed when he's tired that we really don't worry about it. Sometimes he stays up until 9:00, and sometimes he says he's tired and goes to bed at 8:00. He also wakes himself up and gets himself ready in the mornings.

Neither of them has a set bedtime during the summer. I'm a teacher, and I love having them stay up late with me and watch movies!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

Mine have lights out at 9 on school nights and they are 15 and 13! They gripe about it but they need their sleep. I can tell a huge difference when they're somewhere else on a school night and stay up later...they are GRUMPY!!!!!

You're the Mama so if you think that extra half hour is valuable...it is! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Our 8 and 11 year old kids try to be in bed by 9 but most of the time it's after 10. They get plenty of sleep and get up at 7. I think a teenage kid should get to set their own bedtime. If they don't go to bed on time and get enough sleep they suffer the next day and are sleepy. SO they learn to manage themselves and go to bed when they're tired.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Honestly by 13 I didn't have a bed time, and neither will my kids. We will need to be in our rooms winding down for the evening by 930 or 10, but if they want to read a book or something I won't say anything as long as they are not having trouble in school or getting up in the morning.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I think middle school is too old to have a set "bed time" My youngest is in 7th grade. I don't set her bed time. I do, however, tell her when it's time for her to "get settled" into her room for the night. This means she's in her night clothes, in her bed. She can be using her phone or Ipad, as long as the volume is quiet. The time I tell her it's time to get settled in her room varies, but it's usually between 9-10. Sometimes earlier if I can tell she's just extremely tired and she lazing around the living room anyway. She doesn't complain at all when I tell her to go, because she still feels in control of when she closes her eyes and tries to sleep. Some nights she falls asleep pretty darn early. Others she is up super late. If its getting late, and she's still awake, I come in periodically to turn off her lamp or ask her to lay down flat on her bed while she's listening to whatever, as it gets her into sleep mode faster.

Mornings aren't pretty. She procrastinates getting out of bed. But I am making that HER responsibility. I have put my foot down on being a human snooze alarm. She always makes it out on time, but it's a stressful rush - her choice. If she is ever late, that will be her natural consequence.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think 10 is reasonable as long as he isn't doing something that will make it harder for him to fall asleep quickly. Unless he's hard to wake or not waking up at all 10 should work out ok. If he is having a tough time then you'd need to rethink it. Give it a go. Worst case is it wouldn't work out and you'll have a discussion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

How is he when he wakes up? Does he get up on his own and get ready without a fight or does he have to be dragged, nagged, pushed, and prodded out the door? If the former, let him have 10:00. It's only 30 minutes, so not really that big of a difference. School is almost out, so you can try it now or start in the fall.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

My daughter is 13 and finishing 8th grade. She has been getting up around 6:10 for the past 3 years and going to bed 9:30-10:00 and even 10:30 at night. In the past few weeks, she has decided to become a morning shower person, and gets herself up at about 5: 50 a.m. She tends to go to bed between 9:30 and 10:00 these days.

My 16 year old son takes himself to bed as early as 8:30 some nights. But some nights he is up until 9:45. Or if he is working, as late as 10:45 (just not on a regular basis). He tends to get up around 6:10 or 6:25 (depending on if he is riding the bus or driving himself). He doesn't always go right to sleep, but that's ok. He's getting down time. And I do not enforce any bedtime. That stopped about 4 years ago. I do suggest/remind them of what time it is, if I notice they are still up past their "usual" bed time. Sometimes they are up late working on homework. Sometimes daughter is lost in a book. Sometimes son is lost in an episode of something on Netflix. If I think they just haven't noticed the time, I'll inform them. But I don't "make" them go to bed right then. I was always a night owl in my own school days (still am). I'd stay up until 1:00 a.m. reading if I was really into a good book.

They know how tired they are the next day if they don't get enough sleep.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I really think it depends on the kid a lot. My 11 year old will go to bed when she's tired, even if we have people over when she's ready for bed she goes. My 13 yo will stay up all night if we don't send him to bed (we've tried a few times letting him set his own bedtime and he stayed up all night, lol).

We send both to bed at 8:30, 11 yo is out immediately, 13 yo might read a while. No electronics in their rooms. I would consider letting 13 yo stay up later, but since he's usually asleep before 9 I figure he needs the sleep so for now it's an early bedtime.



answers from Los Angeles on

When I was a teenager our bedtime was 9pm. Eventually we were old enough(15 or 16) to decide when we were tired enough to go to bed on our own, and when we stayed up too late we realized the consequence in the morning. I think 13.5 is a little too early to decide for himself. 15 or 16 I would say yeah, but really its only a 30 min difference. Let him try staying up until 10pm and see how he feels in the morning. Sometimes 30 mins isn't worth fighting over. Good luck, Mama!


answers from Los Angeles on

To me 9:30 sounds early. When I was a kid my bedtime was 10:00pm. My sons are 9 and 12 and their bedtime is 10:00pm (in their room, not necessarily lights out) and has been for years. My 12 year old gets up at 7:00am, the 9 year old at 7:30. When I was a teen I went to camp each summer and lights out was at 10:00pm and wake up was 6:00am. Anyway, I think 8 hours of sleep is normal for a teen, but some people need more sleep, some less. My kids are busy in the evenings and need some time to do homework and unwind before bed.

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