The Bedtime Chart: Great Resource or Unattainable Drivel?
A recent article in the Independent Journal discussed a bedtime chart posted on the Wilson Elementary School Facebook page on August 28, 2015. The post had already garnered over 400,000 shares and over 57,000 likes as of this morning when I grabbed a screenshot.
There are two schools of thought among parents regarding this chart. You either look at it and shake your head at the unrealistic and unattainable information that has flagrantly gone viral in social media — which is basically just a cheap form of entertainment; or you do a little fist pump as you are reassured that your parenting habits are right on target; after which you print the chart and hang it on the fridge as reinforcement for when the kids question their bedtimes, yet again.
My parents and, consequently, I and my children, if history repeats, are in the fist pump group. In regards to my three boys, the early bedtimes mostly had to do with doing what was healthy for them. But we also set bedtimes in consideration of what was healthy for our marriage.
Before they pass out from sheer exhaustion, parents need a little couple time at night to chat, connect and, well, let’s face it, eat grown up food. Every now and again, feeding the kids their baked chicken nuggets and whole grain mac and cheese and sending them to bed offers an opportunity for parents to enjoy grilled trout and asparagus or lobster ravioli topped with capers and pine nuts. Kids do not eat food like that. And parents need not wait until they can afford a babysitter and a high-end restaurant at the same time to eat delicious, pretty food.
I’ve heard the argument that if the kids go to bed early, the family does not have enough quality family time. But I argue that breakfast time and school drop off time and dinnertime and bath time and bedtime are all times that have the potential to be high quality family bonding moments. Add family DVD movie night on Friday and an outing or two over the weekend and I’m confident your family will be as closely knit as the potholders my grandmother taught me to make.