Late Sports and Bedtime for Grade Schoolers

Updated on November 07, 2012
K.B. asks from Petaluma, CA
24 answers

We just got the practice schedule for my 3rd grade daughter's basketball team, and it's 7 to 8 pm on Mondays, which feels very late for a group of 8 year olds. Lights out for both kids in our house is 8:30, preceded by an hour of bathroom business, quiet time with Daddy, and reading on their own. So practice at that time would push her body past her normal slow down time, and truncate her bed time routine considerably, likely making it harder for her to fall asleep and then she'll wake up tired. I've been told my kids go to bed very early, and I'll have to be more flexible if I want them to participate in sports because this is what happens. I am wondering if I should ask the coach about a different practice time, talk to some of the other parents to see if I'm alone in this, or just suck it up and see how it goes. What would you do?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the input everyone. I know how complicated the gym times can be, we have 3 different leagues going around town right now so there is a lot of juggling to be sure. I will see how it goes, work to make those nights smooth for her, and see how she adjusts.

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answers from Atlanta on

I think you have to suck it up. It's normal. Other teams are practicing before you. Some parents are the 5 oclock time are thinking "how am i going to make it to practice from work at that time?" The 6 o'clock parents are thinking "this is an awful practice time. It's right in the middle of dinner." There may even be an 8 o'clock practice time.

my kids to go bed at 7:30 and there are nights with baseball that the game doesn't start until 7:30 so the game isn't over untiil 9:00. My husband travels, so that means 4 young kids all out WAY past their bedtime. It's a casuality of organized team sports.

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answers from Kansas City on

I say suck it up...only other thing to do is volunteer to coach and you can set you're own time. One night is not going to ruin the routine.

Which is why I'm so busy. If I want things my way I have to be the volunteer who takes on the responsibility.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just suck it up and see how it goes.

The coach probably didn't make the schedule, nor can he/she change the whole thing for one child. If you really don't like the time, then don't ahve her play. Don't get the other parents wound-up. A practice from 7-8 will push her bedtime routine back, but at her age she can truncate her routine and be fine.

8:30 is pretty early, when you consider that you are really getting an 8 year old ready for bed at 7:30? Take a look at what she's doing at night and eliminate a few things. Quiet time with daddy can be in lieu of reading one night a week for the length of her season.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Minneapolis on

I had to smile at Krista's "Just suck it up and see how it goes." That's pretty much been my motto for the past few years since my kids got active in dance, scouting, and karate.

Ya ya ya, they are 'supposed' to read for 20 minutes per night. Well, it just doesn't happen sometimes. I don't pretend it does. We might try to make up for it with extra reading over the weekend. Or maybe we'll throw a subtitled kungfu movie on. Or we'll read before the practice time. I've also figured out that my 10 y.o. son is not going to perish if he doesn't get a bath or shower every night. Even my 13 y.o. is blessed with not being odorific, so if she can't shower every night after karate the world does not end. And based upon the smell that lingers in the air in her middle school, i doubt anyone would notice if she weren't spring fresh every now and then. :)

As she gets older, she's going to start going to more sleep overs, parties, and events that will all disrupt her routine. I think it's part of growing up that kids learn to deal with the bumps and find a way to adjust & adapt.

Just take it one day at a time. And let her know it's OK for some days to be different.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Have you gotten the game schedule?

Some games we've gone to have gone up to 9pm. I agree that is pretty late. We're an early-to-bed, early-to-rise sort of family.

That said, if you want her in're going to have some late nights. You just have to make sure you try to keep your slow-down schedule as much as you can. And WATCH OUT for the sugar-filled sweets, treats, juices and snacks that coaches and other parents will sometimes try to give out after a game.

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answers from Wichita Falls on

Practice times are often late due to limited space for practice and game play. Chances are the time slot given is what is available. 8:30 is a reasonable bed-time (I'd be willing to bet your kids are better behaved then the children of those saying it's too early). Flexible bed-time one night a week won't hurt her. Abbreviate the routine for mondays and she should be fine.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

The league could be at the mercy of gym time and availability so I don't think you'll get anywhere by talking to the coach..

It sounds like you will need to adjust your bedtime routine. She can still get to bed at 8:30 but she won't have time for all of the extras. Once her homework is done try to get the reading time done or whatever else before practice.

Be glad it is only one night a week.

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answers from Chicago on

This is probably where decisions have to be is more important to you and your family that the schedule is adhered to or that the kids play sports on the week days. Neither answer is the "wrong" answer, but you have to decide. If schedule is more important you can always find alterantive activities for the kids to do on week-ends and earlier in the day. If playing sports is more important then the schedule is out the window.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

My kids are 8 and 10 and both bedtimes just got moved to 9pm this year. They are fine with it, but they don't have to get up until 7:30am. It won't hurt her to go to bed alittle later that one night. It's good that kids can adapt to different schedules and she's old enough. It'll be a quick snack and shower and maybe just light reading before bed. If she needs to read a certain amt for school - like a reading log, she'll just have to get that done before practice.

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answers from Seattle on

She'll adjust.
We just started late night sports as well this year and both of my kids have adjusted. They were tired the first couple of weeks.

Heck, even I have adjusted to the late night. It wore me out too. But we're all in the swing now.

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answers from Philadelphia on

so adjust your schedule on those days. shower before class. i'm sure she wont be incredibly sweaty after class and can wipe off with a warm rag if needed and then eat beforehand and right to bed after a book when she gets home. she'll get to bed around the same time...maybe 20 minutes difernce

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Adjust on those nights. One night isn't going to hurt. By third grade a 'routine' is still nice but becomes less important IMO. Maybe no reading that night or quiet time to try to make it work. She will adjust I assure you.

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answers from Salinas on

I think you'll have to get used to it. Mine are 10 & 14 and for years there are many nights we aren't even home before 9pm. You're hitting the age when the early bedtime just won't work if they want to participate in activities.

What time does she get up? Can you let her sleep longer in the morning to compensate? You could ask the coach but I bet HE isn't crazy about being at the gym so late either.

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answers from Austin on

Adjust on those nights.

All of the children i have known that were in sports seem to do great. they learn to schedule their time very well.

They do homework right after school, they eat dinner a little earlier, go to sports which is "family time" since includes riding to and from the event. then come home, take their baths and slip into bed. Story time can be that moment they are in bed. or they can fall asleep to a book on CD..

This will continue for all of the extras they participate in.

Music, performance, sports, clubs, church events. .. They are young, they can bounce..

If it is not a good match for your child, you will then know these are not going to be activities they will be able to participate in.

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answers from Detroit on

it would be nice if you could get an earlier time but most likely you cant.. either the gym isnt available earlier or the coach works late adn cant get there till then..

I dont think this will ruin the kids.. try to get them to bed a few (15-20 min0 earlier the day before and the day after. that will make up for it.

I try to have my kids in bed at 8.. but sometimes it is 830 if we are out and about.. or 730 if they are tired and crabby. so we have flextime bedtime.. to fit the day..

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answers from St. Louis on

My 3rd grader has soccer practice til 8pm and two nights of dance til 8pm.

It's not ideal, but its what we have to work with. She has to do homework still after dance, cause there is little to no time beforehand. She doesn't have to get up til after 715 so that helps make sure she gets enough sleep.

I don't think my kids EVER go to bed by 8:30...what time do you have to be up?

It's and adjustment but I don't think it will be a very hard adjustment for her.



answers from Las Vegas on

We push it and it all still works. Our daughter figure skates and plays hockey all year round for her second year now. She does homework at the restaurant outside the ice rink. She has good grades and does well in her sports. Give it a try and if it doesn't work, take her out. Give her a shot at it if that is what she wants to do.



answers from Boston on

Just see how it goes - hopefully given that it's just once a week, she'll be able to adjust. Sounds like you have a nice bedtime routine down in general so changing things up one night a week shouldn't throw her off too much.

And it just gets more and more 9th grade son has hockey practices and games that go as late as 10 PM or as early as 5 AM on school days - but you should have a few more years before things get that out of balance for your kids.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Several days per week I don't even get home with the kids until close to 9pm. Even when they were babies they didn't go to sleep until close to 9pm so we got in the habit of that being bed time.

If they go to bed and go right out, within 30 minutes or so, then get up around 7-7:15 am that's 10 hours of sleep and for most kids that's okay. Some do need more than others and that's okay too.

I think that starting bedtime for a 3rd grader at 7-7:30 is way way way too early. I think your regular bedtime routine, if you do keep it at an hour should not even start until 8:03 or so. It's still daytime a lot of the year at that time.



answers from Sacramento on

Keep in mind there are parents with the reverse problem. We have had practice times as early as 4:30pm, when I work until 6:00pm. You have to be flexible when it comes to sports practices. Practices at 4:30pm and 5:00pm don't work well for working parents. We have to leave early or miss practice, and it wreaks havoc on dinner time. 7:00pm is rather late, but maybe the coach works late. Coaches are volunteers, so you need to cut them some slack, otherwise there will be no sports for your child to play.

As for the bedtime routine, one day a week your child can have a shorter routine. We play football, with practices from 6pm-8pm, 5 nights a week. It interferes with dinner time, bed time, and everything else. Appreciate the fact that your schedule is disrupted only 1 night a week. It's a sacrifice you make if you want to play sports. Hang in there!



answers from Tulsa on

I would ask why it is so late and if it is because the coach works, you are probally out of luck. If the gym is booked, you could call other schools and churches and ask to use theirs AFTER you ask the coach if he would be willing to change.
It would totally hinder my d sleeping so I get it.



answers from Miami on

My chilld nevr made it to be by 830. But then again she was always a nite child. She was after 9p at night and just kept that schedule lol. I really do not see one night being an issue.



answers from Minneapolis on

It doesn't sound unreasonable to me. I used to be a pretty big early bedtime person when my kids were younger. But I do look back and kind of regret I did not push my oldest DD ahead in gymnastics because the next level class was 7-8pm for a first grader. She had some potential to really grow in that sport, but because I hated the time, I didn't sign her up. She's now 13, and wishes she had developed those skills when she was younger. I guess I would look at the activity itself and really keep an open mind on whether it's worth bending bedtime routines for one or two nights a week.


answers from New York on

Mine always had 8:00 bedtime but I've done the 7-8 things, once or twice a week doesn't throw them, have the homework done, the pajamas laid out on the bed, the snack is in the car on the way home, and cut short or eliminated reading ONCE a week. The extra exercise helps them sleep well.

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