April 4, 2022

Ask Margaret - How Should I Enforce Bedtime?

When your child’s 8 p.m. bedtime becomes their 9 p.m. bedtime and then (uh-oh) 10 p.m., that’s what we call “bedtime creep? bedtime. How can we enforce better and more consistent rules around bedtime, and get everyone more sleep?


Bedtime can be smooth sailing or a waking nightmare, depending on the day. If you've ever experienced "bedtime creep" you will identify with this question for our Facebook group:

How do you enforce bedtime? We have unwittingly slipped from 8pm to 9, 9:25 even, 9:45 pm. My 4-year-old often sees 10 pm! My 2-year-old had such an easy 8 pm bedtime until a few months ago. Now there are two tiny tots running my kitchen til well after when I want to be asleep myself (did I mention I am six months pregnant with number three?). Most nights I give up and leave my husband to fend for himself. Even so, when he gives up on the 4-year-old, she usually joins me in bed. I never see my husband anymore, and I'm completely tapped out by 4 pm since I know there is literally no end in sight. Do I just lock them in their respective rooms and let them cry until they throw up? I am seriously so over this! 

In this episode Margaret advises:

  • Set a time you want to hear from your kids for the last time and work backwards
  • Establish the "three asks" rule
  • Blank-face everything that happens after the three asks


Not knowing when bedtime is coming is too tough on everyone but never fear - if you go back to one and re-set bedtime with consistent effort for a week you should be back to a regular bedtime in no time and it will be worth the effort!

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