What Time Do You Put Your 6 Year Old to Bed?

Updated on July 21, 2012
☆.H. asks from San Jose, CA
30 answers

My 6 year old's bedtime is 8:00. We start the bedtime routine at 7:00. He needs some time to wind down and there are lots of nights where he will do anything and everything to stall. I have no doubt that he needs to be in bed by this time to function properly, but this summer we have been having problems with classmates who live in the neighborhood ringing the bell and wanting to start a play date anywhere between 7:00 and 7:30. Oftentimes their parents are with them and are really surprised to hear that he is getting ready for bed. Some of them have stopped by more than once!
So, what time does your 6 year old go to bed? Do you let your 6 year old stay up late in the summer?

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S.D.

answers from Phoenix on

I was never a mom that allowed summers to change the bedtime at that age..... 7:30 was the bedtime until they got into 3rd grade..... then 8 til 6th grade, now it is 9.

Some occasions , sleepovers and vacations out of the home and possibly family and new years and 4th july were exceptions.

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A.S.

answers from Dallas on

Summer is really no different since my husband and I both work. My work schedule didn't change because school is out so they kids schedules didn't change either. They have to be up by 6 to leave when I do to get to daycare in time so bedtime is usually between 8-8:30 pm. Occasionally on the weekend nights (Fri and Sat) they will stay up later but usually no later than 9:00 pm regardless of the situation.

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K..

answers from Phoenix on

I think it's going to depend a lot on different families' schedules, and the individual child's internal clock. DD has has always been an early riser, so she's in bed around 7:30. We pretty much stick to that time now that DH & I both work & we all have to be up pretty early. I wasn't as strict about the bed time when I didn't work, but that would backfire because DD would wake up at the same time no matter what time she went to bed.

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R.E.

answers from Sacramento on

My children are 4 and 2, but I don't expect their bedtimes to change too much over the next few years. During the past school year, they went to bed at 8:00. During the summer, they go to sleep between 8:30 and 9:00 - sometimes even later. However, I don't think that young kids should be starting play dates after dinner. Perhaps you can set that rule and let the neighborhood kids and their parents know.

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

9pm. It is starting to get dark around that time and it's a natural process for our bodies to start getting sleepy when the sun goes down. In the Winter months the kids typically will be tired by 8:30 and are sleeping by 9pm.

I think it is cruel for kids to go to bed so early. The reason why is my parents had an 8pm bedtime for me. The neighborhood kids would stand outside my window and we'd talk and good off. They thought it was funny to see me in my pajama's. They would sometimes make fun of me for being a baby too.

Your son is old enough to know you are putting him to bed way before the other kids his age and he feels it inside, that you think he is a baby.

So, my advice is that during summer break from school that you lighten up. If he gets tired the next day from not going to bed so early he will take some time during the day to play quietly, it will be his bodies way of taking that break. He might even go to sleep for a little while.

But he knows, he knows that he has a bedtime that is way earlier than everyone else his age.

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L.A.

answers from Austin on

At 6 yrs old, Our daughter needed to be at school by 7:40 am.

So we started bed time between 7-7:30 so she would be asleep by 8:30. This worked fine for her.

She was fine with this. I used to tell her,you can stay up late, but in the morning I do not want to hear any whining.

She knew her limits.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

Ages 6-9

10pm ... Summer
9pm ... Fall & Spring
6pm ... Winter

Reasons being: We had to get up early in Winter (5am), and Seattle is gorgeous in the summer... with the sunset at 10pm. So those 2 seasons we eeked out every bit we could. In ALL cases, he'd get 10-11 hours of sleep.

ON TOP of normal bedtime @10pm in summer, yep, I'd absolutely let my son stay up late from time to tiem (11pm-1am) for special nights. Stargazing, theatre, fireworks, etc.

I'm just adding this in, because 10pm isn't "late" for us. It's normal. Sunset.

Heck, late June? (solstice) It's still twilight between 1030 & 1100. Fireworks on the 4th never start before 10pm. Often much later. Coversely, it's dark by 4pm in the winter.

Some of kiddo's friends go to bed earlier than he does, some later.... and vice versa (depending on time of year). Different families have different needs. People just look at you weird because your schedule is different from theirs. Just like how you'd look at someone who is getting ready for bed 3 hours before you do (4pm). But we know kids who do go to sleep at 4pm, because they have to be up at 4am, and need 12 hours of sleep.

The 8pm bedtime is a fairly 'new' thing (only 1-2 generations), and is a byproduct of schools starting earlier. Prior to the last educational revolution DINNER was usually served at 8pm by most families (1940's and earlier).

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T.N.

answers from Phoenix on

Bedtime for my 5- and 7-year-old is 8:30. We usually start getting ready a half hour earlier. We definitely let them stay up a little later, like 9 or 9:30 in the summer and weekends since they can sleep in. But not to run around the neighborhood or with friends that late.

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L.H.

answers from San Diego on

Same as you, but some special nights in the summer she can stay up later.

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L.M.

answers from Chicago on

We start our bedtime routine about 7:30ish. After all that, it's probably about 8:15 before we give hugs and kisses and close the door. But my daughter can stay up reading or writing or coloring, as long as it's quiet time. This seems to work well for us.

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L.G.

answers from Atlanta on

My youngest school aged daughter is 8 and I feel like summer and the weekends is the time to break all the rules and just enjoy. During the summer, weekends and long holiday breaks, my kids dont have a bedtime. They can stay up as long as they want and do whatever they want (within reason). 4 weeks before school start back I put them on their regular school day schedule (which is 9pm) so that they will get used to waking up early for school.

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D.P.

answers from Sacramento on

My kids are 9 and 11, but have pretty much always had a 9pm bedtime during the school year and 10 in the summer. We tried earlier when they were really little but my husband got upset that he didnt really have time with them by the time he got home from work and we had dinner, bath time ect. So we started letting them stay up until 9 and have kept it that way. Sometimes due to sports and homework they will stay up even later. In summer we have been known to play outside until 8 - 830. Each family has to do what works for them! :)

ETA: Tonight my kids were having so much fun with dad and then talking to each other they didnt go to bed until 11pm!

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G.K.

answers from San Francisco on

I've given my kids (5.5 and 2.5) a small respite during the summer so far, and it's mostly because we just don't have to be up at any certain time most days. We'll go back to the routine a couple weeks before school starts, especially since Kindergarten starts 30 minutes earlier than preschool did, and it'll be new to all of us. Plus, he can't be late to Kinder like he sometimes was to preschool hehe

It's really hard for kids during the summer months when it's still light out until almost 9pm. My son is 5.5, and he's gone to bed anywhere between 8:30 and 9:30, most of it depending on what time he got up. Normal bedtime is between 8 and 8:30, and it's usually like clockwork when we have to be up (i.e.: for school).

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M.D.

answers from Dallas on

I'm going to be completely honest with you Abbie, my son will be 6 in September and right now, he usually goes to bed around 12:30 AM to 1:00 AM, gets up around 12:00 PM. My husband stays home with the kids and they all stay up late in the summer and get up late. I'm the only one on a "normal" schedule I say. I get up at 7:30 AM every work day (M-F) and usually up by 9:30 AM on weekends. I usually go to bed around midnight, but tired around 11:00 PM.

Now, he will start kindergarten in the fall, so next month, I'll be having him go to bed around 8:30-9:00 PM to be ready for school, but since everyone is at home during the summer for the most part, I let them do their thing...

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A.L.

answers from Atlanta on

It depends on the kid. Our son (10 years old now) has always tended to get tired earlier in the evening, and he usually wants to be asleep by 9 or 9:30. His little sister tends to be a night owl--wants to stay up late and sleeps later in the morning. This summer when I'm with her by myself (the boy is on a long trip with my husband), we have been reading really late, and she's going to sleep at 10:30 or 11. I do think it's too late; we're just in a pattern. While the parent does determine the routine, I think it does needs to fit the kid's temperament.

With regards to the friends showing up later, I can see how summer and the longer days would make that likely. There is something to be said for relaxing the schedule a bit during this time of year, however you know your family's needs best. If you decide you don't want to adjust the routine, it sounds like you may want to have a chat with the parents to fill them in on your household's schedule and figure out good times for the kids to spend time together.

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☼.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

My newly-turned 7 year old had a lights out bedtime of 8 p.m. when she was 6. She turned 7 in May and since summer began it's now lights out at 8:30 because she still has to get up at the same time in the morning since we work and she goes to grandma's house. Now, if I were a SAHM I would probably allow her to go to bed at 9 during the summer and she could sleep in later. I'm pretty strict on her receiving the right amt. of sleep.

Are the people knocking on your door that late parents that stay at home?

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

I have a 5 and 9 year old.
They BOTH, go to bed at 8-8:30pm.
We start the winding-down/getting ready before that.
My kids are tired by then.
Our friend's kids, who has kids the same age as mine, go to bed at the same time as my kids too.

Your neighbors, are TOO late in coming to your house ringing the doorbell to play.
Sorry, I would get irked at that.
If my neighbors did that, I would t.e.l.l. them that, it is too late, and my kids have their bedtime. Frankly, I don't care what they would think.
Or I would put a sign on my door "No knocking after 6:00pm."

Sure, my kids have slept late this summer several times, because it is summer. BUT they are tired and overtired by then. And they know it. Sometimes my kids will even tell ME they want to go to bed already and they are tired.
They have no problem with their bedtime.
Here in my State, it gets dark by 7:30pm. during the summer.

My kids, regardless of the season... are awake the next morning by about 6:30-7:00am. Once school starts, they need to wake earlier.
Many of my kids' classmates, have late bedtimes and are chronically tired. And just in a daze in class or staring into space. Tired. Not listening well to the teacher. How do I know? Because I am at school too, helping with Teachers and work there part-time.
I SEE the kids, who sleep late. It affects them in school. And makes some kids really cranky and irritable in school.

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A.M.

answers from Phoenix on

In the summer 9:00 is average. Some days they are in bed asleep at 8:00 and others they stay up till 10:00, it depends on what is going on. My kids do need 12 hours of sleep and you can definately tell on those days that they didn't get 12 hours the night before. They are either nap days or 7:30 bed time days.

During the school year it is another story. They are usually in bed and asleep by 8:00, Sunday-Thursday.

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T.V.

answers from San Francisco on

8 PM is a good time for your child. If he's stalling, then start getting him ready earlier and tell him his bedtime will be earlier as well. As for your neighbors, let them know NOT to come over before calling and that there are NO playdates after 3 PM because after that time it is FAMILY time ONLY.

B.C.

answers from Dallas on

My kids are 4 and 11 and their bedtime is 9pm. I stay at home, so the little one gets to sleep until 8am.

The only time my little one gets to stay up late is on the 4th of July or if we visit family about an hour away which is about once every 1 or 2 months.

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B.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My 6 & 9 yo still go to bed at 8 over the summer but I really don't expect them to sleep at 8. The reason why it is because 1) they will still get up at 7/8 AM irregardless and 2) they go to summer rec every morning at 9 AM so we do keep somewhat of a schedule. If there is something going on we will deviate but that is atypical.

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D.B.

answers from Madison on

My 7 yr old it's in bed by 8pm. Otherwise she's a crab, summer or not! And yes we have younger kids and kids rugged same age knocking on our door to. We have a baby so no one rings doorbell (I've got them trained on that one).....I'm working on the door knocking cuz the dog goes crazy!

S.S.

answers from Rochester on

My 4 yr-old son doesn't do well with too little sleep. I can always tell when he's ready for bed (usually in bed with lights out by 8p). When I give in and let him stay up longer, he's really grumpy in the morning. That's my indication: grumpy and tired in the am means bedtime was too late.

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D.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

We start the bedtime routine for my son (6-1/2) at about 8 pm if he has camp the next day (3 days a week - he gets up at 7:30 am the next morning). He is tucked in between 8:30 and 8:45. The rest of the week it depends upon what we are doing but probably between 8 and 9 pm. We will definitely stay up to catch fireflies.

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M.G.

answers from Seattle on

My son who will be six later in the year goes to [email protected]____.com nightly. It is the same bed time as my 8 year old. The bed time differs slightly during certain events during the summer however he knows his bedtime routine and has an internal clock so often even if we allow him to stay up he is begging to go to sleep by 9.

S.L.

answers from New York on

I was letting my 7 yr old stay up till 9 since it was summer ( with occasional later nights for special occasions) He wasn't always sleeping later and started being whiny and sometimes having meltdowns, so we're back to 8:15! after a day of swimming and playing he's going right down

B.S.

answers from Lansing on

During the school year we start the bedtime routine around 7:45pm so that she is asleep around 8pm.

During summer it varies but I usually don't let them stay up much later past 9pm. Ideally I'd like to get them in bed by 8pm but most the time it doesn't happen as yes, we are outside playing.

S.G.

answers from Grand Forks on

My boys are 7 and 10. They go to bed at 10:00pm, and they pretty much always have. They don't go to daycare and school doesn't start until 9:00am, so they don't need to get up until 8:00am. Unless they are having a sleepover all of their friends have to leave the house by 9:00pm. My kids do often stay up later in the summer, because it doesn't get dark here until 10:30 or 11:00pm, so if there are fireworks, or we are having a bonfire, they stay up later for those things. But if your child needs to get up early, and needs a lot of sleep, then do what you have to. I'm glad mine don't have an early bedtime like that because we get more family time in the evenings. We can go to ball games, movies, bowling etc, but if the kids were in bed at 8:00pm we'd be tied to the house every evening.

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

It amazes me that the parents come with their kids to see if yours can play! And they don't want to "start a play date" they just want to play.

Anyway, yeah, I let the kids stay up late in the summer. My mom was like you - early to bed no matter what. I used to lay in bed and cry my eyes out because I could hear all my friends playing hide and seek or freeze tag outside while I had to go to bed!

Don't be that mom. Give him break during the summer - that's what it's for!

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€.$.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi there,

We've experienced this with our neighbors too, they go to bed ~10pm because they have older children in the family. We've tried to adapt by having a very abbreviated bedtime routine, ~10min (brush teeth, jammies, potty, lights off). We let our 5.5 yo DS know that if he plays till 8:00pm, he has to be quick with bedtime and no books. It's his choice, and sometimes he chooses books and sometimes play.

Normal bedtime for our 2yo is 8pm, 5.5yo is 8:30pm, year-round. Special activities/events OK on the weekend.

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