“Lights out!! Bed time!”

Yesssssss… time!

“I’m not tired!”, “Just 5 more minutes??”, “I’ve nearly finished!!”

Ack. Always a struggle, it’s like pulling teeth. I’ve given him plenty of warning, the count down began an hour ago. I neeeeed down time, why is this so hard!?

Oh oh, and then once he’s in bed….*tap* *tap* tap*…what’s he doing now??!

“No! It’s not time to play Lego, pop it away, it’s time for bed! Do you want me to turn the light out??”

Urgh. And the threats began.



“I’m exhausted, I’m going to head off to bed, night night, love you…” *smack* [the kiss on the forehead kind!]

“Night Mum, love you too.”

Yep, my 9 year old regularly outlasts me when it comes to bed time. And you know what. That’s fine by me! Unschooling has allowed us the freedom to let go of arbitrary bed times, there’s no need to be up early in the morning, we’re not going anywhere, and even if we are, we don’t need to get up and out the house at some ridiculous time, no 9am starts for us!

On the odd occasion that we do have to be somewhere at a specific time, we have a chat the night before about what time we need to be up, if it’s a particularly early one then Clay will generally head off to sleep when his Dad does. Otherwise if he wants to stay up later then I’ll wake him up a half hour before we have to leave, throw some clothes at him, and have his breakky ready for the car ride to wherever we may be going.

Things are so much less….stressful. The kids go to sleep when they are tired. Even Jessie, at 3.5 years, will fall asleep when (and where) she pleases. No struggles, a lot more cuddles and conversations, a few more books being read, shows being watched, games being played…

Australian Unschoolers sleeping

They fall asleep when and where they’re tired…

Australian Unschooler sleeping

…love it when she falls asleep on me.

Australian Unschoolers playing at night

Night time is a great time for monkey bars..

Australian Unschoolers playing Minecraft

…playing together…

Australian unschooler Dad reading book

…or reading a book.

Clay is a night owl, like his Dad, his mind is buzzing and ready to go at 9pm. Take last night for example, he came bouncing in to where Jas and I were watching a show at about 9:30pm, practically squealing with excitement, he’d finally managed to build a Redstone sliding door in Minecraft. If he’d been sent to bed a couple of hours earlier, he would have missed that opportunity, or if I’d said “Great! Now it’s time for bed!”, can you imagine how it would feel to have to go to sleep after finally achieving something you’d been striving for?? His night had just begun!

Research suggests that our sleep patterns are genetic, and changing your pattern requires a lot of hard work. Yes, it’s true that the world revolves pretty much on a 9-5 day, but if Clay isn’t a 9-5 person, then he likely wont choose a job that requires him to work those hours. And if what he wants to do ends up being 9-5, and he really wants to do it, then he will put the work into changing his sleep cycles.

Until then…

*tap* *tap* *tap* go the keyboard strokes at 1am… 🙂


PS. For more on bedtimes have a look at this post over on Sandra Dodd’s page, and this one, and this one on Sue Patterson’s blog.