The boys have been lobbying for a later bedtime…I have noticed that they stay awake in their room for quite a while when we put them to bed at 8:00, and on weekend nights when they stay up late they remain cheerful until the last sweet minute.  Steve and I are loathe to give up that last hour of time together, when we finally talk about something other than wii strategy.

We realized that to make it work we needed to maintain that grown up time. So we told the kids that. “You do seem to have the energy to stay up late…and as long as you still contribute to your family and meet your school responsibilities you should have a chance to demonstrate your new “staying up later skill.” But dada and I need that time. That hour from 8:00-9:00 is an important time for us to connect. So that extra hour needs to be in your room, or in the playroom.” Now lets make our agreement:

So we started with a list from Parenting On Track, and modified it for our own use. The bottom line was that the kids needed to demonstrate that they would have enough energy for their day with 45 fewer minutes of sleep, and before that they needed to show us that they can maintain the other agreements we have going on. So the four of us built Our Yes As Soon As (or YASA) list. Yes you can have a later bedtime as soon as you spend five days:

  • Waking up in the morning on own,  on time, and relatively cheerfully
  • Following through with daily contributions
  • Follow through with other agreements
  • Maintaining respect for yourself and family members
  • Maintaining manners and common courtesies
  • Respecting our “parent only time” at the end of the day

After they more or less made it through the above list we allowed them to stay up until 8:45, and added one key point:

  • Staying awake in school/ during other daily events

How well did this work?

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

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