And you know what? They’re better for it.
My kids are five and six. Their bedtime is 10pm. They’ve always gone to bed late, even when they were babies. It was something to do with their natural body clocks. They were always wide awake in the evenings, and then in the mornings, they wanted to sleep in. So we just worked with that and let them stay up. We brought in the 10pm bedtime when the oldest one started school.
Gasp. Horror. Bad parent alert.
Only… I think it’s good parenting. I think it’s been good for them to stay up late. I think it’s been good for us, as a family.
Kids in Australia generally go to bed really early. A study examining the average bedtime of young kids in 17 different countries, found that parents in New Zealand, Australia and the UK put their kids to bed before 8pm. Meanwhile, parents in a lot of other countries put their kids to bed after 10pm. Japanese kids, on average, get about an hour-and-a-half less sleep than Australian kids. Doesn't seem to have hurt them, does it?
Obviously every family is different. My husband doesn't get home from work till after 7pm - if my kids went to bed at 7.30pm, they'd hardly see him during the week. Also, my kids' school isn't far away, so they can get up just before 8am and still arrive on time.
I know other families are in a completely different situation. Some parents start work earlier, some kids need to be dropped at childcare, some families live further away from school. Some kids just need more sleep. I get all of that.