I knew this day, or perhaps I should say "night," was coming. For several years running, I have had four little girls who would go to bed at 6:30 pm, settle down by about 7 pm, and not wake until 7 am. Yes, I was spoiled. During the summer, I started thinking the early bed time might be on it's way out, but with our days packed with swimming, trips to the park, etc., usually everyone was worn out and ready for bed. I didn't want to tweak the schedule until after school started, so I could get an idea of whether school would wear them out. They need to be up by 6:45 am on school days, so I wanted to make sure they were getting enough rest.
Apparently they were, because for nearly a week they were rising by 5 am. After a few days of that, and realizing it was no freak occurrence, I took immediate action. First I pushed bed time to 7 pm... meaning going upstairs at that time, changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, telling stories and getting tucked in, a process that can take up to 30 minutes. This resulted in a 5:45/6 am wake up. Still too early for my taste. I pushed it to 7:30 pm. They now sleep (most mornings) until 6:30 am or 7 am. Score!
You may recall I was reluctant to change bed time because I have two good sleepers and two not-so-good sleepers. Cakes and Tortilla are out like a light, regardless of what time they go to bed. In fact, Cakes now asks around 7 pm if she can go to bed. Sue Sue and Roo, though, like to read books, talk, get a drink, go to the bathroom... anything to avoid going to sleep. This later bed time has been good for curbing the nightly mischief. They're asleep within a half hour.
It makes for a hectic nightly routine for me. By 8 pm I'm exhausted, ready to sit down and veg out. But, the trade off is nice... no more rising before the sun!
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