From the mailbag: Bedtime for kids sharing a room

From Shannon

Hey Kim.  We enjoy your blog a lot.  A few months back, you mentioned your bedroom arrangements.  I was wondering since you have big and littles in the same room, how you handle bed times. Like does everyone go to bed at the same time? Or do the littles got to bed earlier and listen while adults and bigger kids laugh and talk etc?  We currently have all the biggers in one room and the littles in another so the olders can stay up a little later and read etc.  But, I like the idea of having an older one in charge of each room.  So, I was just wondering your thoughts on this.


Our little ones usually go to bed before the big ones, but this doesn’t pose a problem as far as we’re concerned.  We’ve never worried about the children going right to sleep so long as they are lying quietly in bed.  If you can let go of that concern, the whole dynamic of bedtime changes.

We do expect the general noise level in the house to decrease once the younger children are in bed, but our house is small with a very open layout so they can hear everything that happens and can even see much of  it.

There may be an adjustment period, but we think it’s worth it.  If they are genuinely tired, they will doze off.  If they’re not tired yet, no amount of tip-toeing will help.

The only drawback we’ve experienced is a certain inevitable limitation upon late night treats.  I just can’t get past the ovarian guilt when I know a little one is still awake and can smell what we’re up to.   That’s why there’s still a whole bag of cheesesticks in the freezer even though hubby surprised me with them 2 weeks ago.  Not enough to go around, and little noses everywhere.  sigh.

This reminds me of my little brother.  One night long after he was in bed, Mom and we older girls were indulging in a late night treat: ice cream.  As we ate and chatted softly, we heard the swish-swish of little feet in pajamas.  3yo Kyle poked his tousled head around the corner, rubbing his eyes and looking groggy.  He peered and squinted at us.  “I heard spoons.


He’s not so little any more, but can’t you just picture him in jammies with swish-swish feet?


  1. I guess I’m the only mean mom. LOL. I don’t feel guilty about eating a treat after the children are in bed. If they see or hear me that’s okay. Their day will come when they are moms & dads and will have the privilege to eat after hours. I have told them that, so they know. Hee, hee.

    I actually remember my parents doing this too.


  2. Awww… give the guy a set of utensils when he gets married! That story is too cute!!

  3. That is one thing I could never do as well, wait for the kids to go to bed then eat something they couldnt have. So I would fix them a treat always before going to bed and then I did not feel guilty. Though I did not have as many children, they never felt like I was eating what they couldn’t have.
    You are such a sweet hearted mom.

  4. I tell my kids all the time that I can count to 3 from the first rattle the wrapper makes on whatever treat I’m getting…by the time I say 3, some nosy kid is in the kitchen…just getting a Kleenex, mind you! LOL! Yeah, their noses start running terribly as soon as the ice cream comes out. Dawn in SC

  5. Sometimes you write something that just makes me giggle and sticks in my mind….”swish-swish feet.” I love this.

  6. I don’t know how to handle that one either. And I usually just give a spoonful and send em back to bed. My hope is that they feel like they “got in on” a treat, not that they “only” got one bite. That kinda makes me feel like a granny, giving ice-cream after the teeth have been brushed.

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