Sunday, June 15, 2008

Scheduling change

The kiddo has, since the age of not-quite-two and a half, gone to bed at 7pm. That's 7pm at the latest, mind you - some days she'll ask to go to bed earlier and if she's had a very busy day it isn't unusual for her to be in bed closer to 6:30. Two and a half, you see, was when she decided she was done with napping and gave up her regular afternoon nap for good over a two week period and much to Mommy's chagrin. Her bedtime didn't move much earlier at that point, she'd been going to bed around 7:30 with the nap, so it didn't seem like that big a deal. Since that dark, dark period when the afternoon nap went away, the kiddo has napped maybe 10 or 12 times total, counting her nap today, either because she's under the weather or if she's way off her schedule because we're traveling or something.

Now, as I've mentioned before, the kiddo has SPD. Because of this, routines are even more important for her than your average, non-SPD kid. Her evening routine for over a year now has consisted of an early bath (she's generally in the tub between 4:30 and 5:00), followed by dinner and then her bedtime routine (feed the fish, brush the teeth, potty, sensory diet, stories etc). All of that is done and her lights are out by 7pm at the latest 99% of the time.

While there are some advantages to having a kid who goes to bed on the early side, there are also disadvantages, as you might imagine. The problem is that keeping her up past her bedtime for any extended length throws her out of whack for a few days thereafter. She gets very "disregulated" to use SPD parlance, and it just isn't fair to her to disrupt her already irregular system by keeping her up, even if it is for something fun like 4th of July fireworks or a party or something. Consequently, we have had to say no over the years to any number of fun activities because they would keep her out past her bedtime. We missed two preschool events just in this last week, as a matter of fact - one was a pizza night at a pizzeria she loves and the other was a school picnic held after hours at the zoo. While she would have loved both events, they didn't start until well into her evening routine and would have meant she'd have been up for a good two plus hours beyond her bedtime, and the repercussions from that would have been hard on all of us but especially would've made her miserable, so we (with regret) skipped them both.

It was partially those two missed events that got me seriously considering the kiddo's bedtime, along with the fact that in recent months, she hasn't just rolled over and gone straight to sleep at lights out the way she used to, say, six months or a year ago. Recently, we can hear her talking, singing or reading stories (she has a flashlight in her bed) for at least a half hour after lights out, if not longer. Hubby and I talked about it this weekend and decided we'd try changing her schedule a bit and pushing her bedtime from 7ish to closer to 8ish. We have gone back to doing a post-dinner bath (which had been switched a while ago to a pre-dinner bath to increase cooperation and decrease some ugly meltdowns that were occurring mid-bath) so she's still eating dinner around the same time. Doing a later bath means slightly less time in the tub - with the earlier bath time she'd frequently stay in the bath for up to an hour, just playing - but not so much that she is missing out on the relaxing element of soaking in the water. So far, so good... she went down about 3 minutes ago and I can still hear her talking to her stuffed animals but she was definitely drowsy when I was singing her lullabies just now. The real test will be how much later, if any, she'll be getting up in the morning. While being up later in the evening will be good once kindergarten starts in the fall, if the bus schedule is the same as it was for the kids on our street this year, she will have less time in the mornings than she has had for getting ready, having breakfast and getting out the door. A half an hour less, to be exact, and for the kiddo, who really lollygags about and takes her own sweet time to eat breakfast, that is a major change. Once we see how the later bedtime shakes out in the morning, I'll start working on getting her up and at 'em in a more time-efficient manner, so that she is accustomed to being ready to go by the earlier time well in advance of school. I wish the bus schedule would be mailed out earlier than August, but I'd rather be prepared and then find out that she has extra time in the mornings than the other way around.

So, the first big schedule change in a long time has begun. Hopefully the kiddo stays on an even keel and adjusts without major trauma...

For those of you out there who read this and have kids, what time do your kids go to bed? How old were they when they gave up naps or are they still napping? I always feel like people's reaction when they hear the kiddo's bedtime is somewhere between quite surprised and absolutely shocked at how early 7pm is, so I'm wondering what a "typical" bedtime for a kindergartner is these days....?


Anonymous said...

During the week, all 3 kiddos are in bed by 7:30.
Tita is up at 10 after 7 to get ready for school and the other 2 wake up anywhere between 7ish and 8am.

On weekends, their bedtime depends on what we are doing. They have gone to bed as late as 10 pm when Sose let them stay up and watch High School Musical 2. Then they might sleep until 8:30 or 9ish.

And yes, all 3 kiddos take a mid afternoon nap, when they are home. They go down usually around 12 or 12:30 unless we are out and about. They have napped as late as 2:30 or 3pm as well.

The girls might sleep for an hour and Bubba can go for 2 or 3 hours.

How is that for flexible?!

My name is Andy. said...

Hey Heather, Liam is a full year older then Kiddo and we have just pushed his bedtime back from 7:00 to 8:00 over the last couple of weeks for the same reason. He has been staying away later once in bed, so we figured why not. He sleeps in till 6:45ish most days. The last few days he's been up till 9:00 and sleeping in till 7:30-8:00.

He was 3.5 when he gave up naps, but his first year in preschool (age 4) he would fall asleep on the couch around 4:30 at least once a week and sleep through the night. That lasted about 6 or 7 months.

Good luck with the transition!

Anonymous said...

Spencer is too old for my old head to remember...Griffin is 3.5 and he is just stopping his naps...they go to bed at 8(G) and 8:30(S) but like last night G was asleep at 6:45 because he was exhausted...up at 6AM...