5 Reasons Why I Am A Bedtime Nazi

bedtime featuredYou know the one. The friend who declines invitations because it interferes with her children’s sleep times. The one who makes a mad dash from any fun social gathering when the clock strikes 7:00pm. Yep. That’s me. I am a children’s bedtime Nazi and here’s why.

Alone time

My husband and I get at least 2.5 protected hours EVERY NIGHT for just us. Let that soak in. No kids … just us. Sometimes, we spend that time together and other times, we use it for the alone time we crave. We can catch up on our overflowing DVR, sit on the porch and enjoy a glass of wine, go to the gym (only one of us, obviously), etc. You get the idea. Kid-free time is sacred to parents of toddlers. Because our children are asleep by 8:00 pm, that gives us plenty of time to refocus and regroup in order to face the next day with a two year old and threenager. The struggle is real.

Happier children

I don’t know about you, but when my kids are tired, they are cranky(er). The temper tantrums are ramped up, and we are all on edge if a nap is skipped. Unless we are in Disney World, and then all bets are off. But on a regular day, naps are not skipped and bedtime is not pushed back. My kids deteriorate in front of my eyes when they are awake past bedtime. (Which for us, begins at 7:30 p.m.). No one is having a good time, so we might as well put them to bed and circle back to #1, am I right?

Routine and predictability

I am an attorney, so it comes as no surprise that I thrive on lists, structure and organization. I operate my household that way because it is the only way that feels natural to me. I do think my children benefit from knowing what to expect out of their day. With the exception here and there (festivals, birthday parties, dinner parties etc.), my children know that every night they eat dinner, take a bath, watch a t.v. show (or 2) in mommy and daddy’s bed, and then it’s in their beds for story time, prayers, lullabies and off to sleep. We have found that if we drop any of those activities, bed time is infinitely harder. As in we get called back to their rooms because the covers aren’t just right, or they need just. one. more. sip. of. water. If we stick to the routine, they are truly happier. And alas, their parents are too.

Well rested

We can go on date night and still get a good night’s rest. I like to have my kids pretty much ready for bed when our babysitter comes over for date nights. That means we usually leave the house around 7:00. Plenty of time for cocktails and dinner and even more importantly, to be snoozing before midnight. Can you tell I love my sleep?? I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. Just ask my family.

Healthy habits

As all parents do, we try to practice and instill healthy habits. That means we cannot get dessert if we don’t eat our meal, we have to eat our vegetables, and outdoor playtime is as vital as sufficient rest. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers get 12-14 hours of sleep every day. I believe it is also recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. My kids get 13 hours of sleep on average, and we get approximately 7-8. I think that is what you call a win-win.

I absolutely believe that there is no one right way to raise children. We all do our best, and that is enough. But what I do believe is that children need their rest, and if they are getting what they need, then you should also be reaping some of the rewards.

When I worked full-time, out of the home I often felt guilty putting Mark to bed at 7:30. It meant we only had a couple hours together from Monday through Friday. As with most parenting decisions, I had to take my “wants” out of the equation and do what I felt was best for him. I am so thankful I did. The guilt for not doing so, well I can just add that to the pile.

A Note From The Author ::

(Added on April 13, 2016) I am writing in response to a very small group of readers who have accused me of being an anti-Semite (via personal Facebook message). While grotesquely untrue, I think the nature of those allegations warrant a response from me. I am an American AND I have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage (edited because my previous language suggested the two were mutually exclusive). I believe wholeheartedly that you do not have to be Jewish to be heartbroken and horrified by the Holocaust. Not only have I been accused of professing anti-Semite ideology, I also have been accused of helping the movement that denies the Holocaust. Those are powerful accusations coming from behind the protection of a screen and keyboard.

I am a mother. I could be your neighbor. I could be sitting across from you at Bible study or soccer practice. I am struggling just like you are. I do not have hate in my heart. I am also a writer and well-aware that when I publish my words, they have impact. I fully accept that responsibility.

What I do not accept is that using a 1990s pop culture reference from one of the greatest shows of all time (SEINFELD) in a blog post is reducing the Holocaust and its 6 million+ victims to a trivial event. The blog post is about sleep training. The title is a Seinfeld reference to the “soup Nazi.” The word “Nazi” in this specific context is used to make light of my own strict and militant sleep training tactics. Context of a word matters deeply.

I am sorry if the use of that word in this specific context triggered emotions for some of our readers. My intent was never to do so. If we could all consider intentions and an author’s purpose and meet people where they are instead of expecting the entire world to be like-minded, we might actually be more civil to each other instead of spewing hateful allegations on the internet and assuming we know people’s motives.

60 Responses to 5 Reasons Why I Am A Bedtime Nazi

  1. Stacey May 12, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    I think it’s great that you’ve found what works for your family. However, we can’t be friends if you’re the mom that doesn’t let your kids go to my kid’s birthday party because it’s during one of your child’s naptimes. In my opinion, that’s not an acceptable reason to miss important events. I’m on board with having a routine. But if your routine is so strict that there’s no wiggle room for special occasions, I can’t understand that approach. My kids have the same routine every night and nap and go to bed around the same time, give or take 30 minutes. But if there’s a birthday party or other gathering, we rearrange our routine to make it happen. Because that’s what kids will remember, experiences. So please, have a routine, but also allow your kids to be there for their friends and have real experiences.

    • Amanda Bensabat May 12, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

      Stacey, I do not think I ever stated that I was so strict as to never deviate from our schedule nor did I suggest that my kids aren’t having “real experiences.” Thank you for taking the time to read the post but please don’t be so quick to judge another mom’s “acceptable reasons” for any parenting decision. I think the beauty of this world is in our differences and that includes the way we parent and prioritize what is important for our children and families.

      • Stacey May 12, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

        I’m sorry you took my comment that way. I guess I could have worded it better. I have good friends that I’m seeing miss out on great experiences because of strict naptimes and bedtimes. That’s great that you are more flexible. As a side note, I don’t think I judged you. For me, I don’t think it’s an acceptable reason and because of that I can’t be close friends with those that would ignore my child’s birthdays. I think it’s just rude and insensitive to my small child. For me to say that it’s not acceptable to me doesn’t mean that I’m judging.

        • Sandra May 13, 2015 at 8:58 am #

          For me, it’s not a matter of “I won’t take them during the nap”. My kids would fall asleep at 1 or 1:30pm no matter what, if you had an activity, trust me, my kids wouldn’t be there. They sleep for 2 hours every day in afternoon. If they did, I forced them to be awake for it, no one would be happy :}

          I love the strict bedtime policy!! And it was a complete change for me, as I was a night owl before kids!! I had NOTHING that was regular, including my sleep pattern.

          Now, 7:30 boys, 10 pm me. Love it! My boys are healthy and happy. They get 12 hours sleep every day. I really should get my younger to sleep earlier, I’m being a bit selfish with him, I admit. We’ll see.

          • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:21 am #

            Precisely Sandra, I know my kids and I know they need their rest. I follow the expert’s recommendations on that and we are all happier for it. Thanks for reading! I do worry that I will be selfish when I have my last child because I will want more hugs and cuddles and that will cause me to deviate from our routine.

      • Amanda November 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

        With that attitude, I don’t think nap time is the reason they are missing her child’s party! JS

    • Sarah May 13, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

      Im glad my friends don’t feel this way. I’ve chosen not to attend the parties of my friends’ kids in the past because it took place during nap time. My toddler takes 1 nap a day and is a total bear without it. Putting her down in the morning won’t work because she isn’t tired, and too late of a nap would throw off bed time. There will be plenty of time in the future for birthday parties to be attended, friends and memories to be made. It’s a season of life. I would hope that you could at least try to be understanding of parents who feel the need to protect their child’s sleep, and to help them stay with a routine, rather than writing them off because they missed an event.

      • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:22 am #

        Sarah, I am lucky enough to have friends that allow me to make decisions that I feel are best for my kids. Glad you have those friends as well 🙂 Thank you for reading!

    • jessica November 24, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      My friend had to leave my daughters bday because it was during her son’s bed time. He was tired and ready to go to sleep. I didn’t get offended and I could not imagine not being her friend anymore for that reason.

  2. Erin May 12, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

    I completely agree with this article. There is no quality time spent together if our son is having a total meltdown because he is tired or hungry. We still share plenty of time together and EVERYONE is happy. There are definitely acceptions but I think that my husband and I need to adjust our lives to his needs instead of the reverse. He won’t be little forever and soon he won’t need naps at anymore anyway…

    • Amanda Bensabat May 12, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

      Exactly Erin! Noone is having fun if the kids are overtired. Certainly we make exceptions for special events and vacations/holidays and nap time is more easily interrupted but evening bedtime….well, let’s just say we better be in Disney World or on vacation to interrupt that routine. Thanks for the comment!

  3. CJ May 12, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    I am almost never willing to give up
    The schedule. Not even for parties. I am that mom but my kids are healthy and happy , and that’s all that matters. If something falls between12-2 or after 7pm, count us out. And I apologize to no one. Thanks for this post!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 13, 2015 at 11:14 am #

      Agreed CJ. We all raise our children as we see fit and I make no apologies for that either. Thanks for reading!

  4. Michelle W May 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    Love this! Our families roll their eyes at our strict bedtimes and frequently uncompromisable nap times (both of which we insist happen at OUR home, not whose house we are at), but guess whoes kids aren’t having exhausted meltdowns? Children thrive off routine and unless it’s a special event, we skip it. If it’s an unavoidable, then we move naptime so that we can still go to whatever event it is with a (mostly) well rested kiddo.

    • Amanda Bensabat May 13, 2015 at 11:15 am #

      exactly Michelle! Thanks for reading!

  5. Meg Wolff May 13, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    I agree with this article 100%. However, I will not share this article because of your casual and thoughtless misuse of the word “Nazi.” You are militant. You are strict. You are an enforcer. You are not a blind follower of an ideologue who slaughtered a race. As a blogger, please consider your words.

    • Amanda Bensabat May 13, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      Meg, I apologize if you took offense to the title of my lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek post of enforcing healthy sleep habits in my children. My maternal grandmother is Jewish and thus I am as well. I 100% grasp the significance of the holocaust and the Nazi party ideology. I do not think my title conflicts with my sympathies and understanding. The “Nazi” part of the title is a Seinfeld reference, nothing more. Thank you for reading.

      • Jennifer November 23, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

        I agree, Meg. I’m surprised that a for-profit blog that holds itself out to the community as a voice for all mothers would use such an offensive term.

        Amanda, using the explanation that it is a Seinfeld reference is no excuse. I’m sure you can imagine the many historical examples of comedians telling jokes with words and phrases that no one would find appropriate or funny anymore.

        • Amanda Bensabat November 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

          Jennifer,
          I apologize for the offense taken regarding this post and my use of the word “Nazi.” My intention was never to offend. I think we will have to agree to disagree as to what is considered humorous as everyone is different. But again, I never meant to offend and I am sorry that you were offended.

    • Gail Moseley May 15, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

      Thank you for saying that. I realize “Nazi” is a word that is used lightly by many people, not just this blogger. Some would say it is trendy or humorous. But We are making a serious mistake when we do. We have a generation of kids who aren’t even learning about the Holocaust, world leaders who deny it, societies who still persecute those who are different from themselves, and individuals who use fear to control others. Please find a better way to express your strict adherence to a sleep schedule.

  6. Amy May 13, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    “Nazi”, using this word in this way really trivializes the holocaust.

    • Karen Jacobs May 13, 2015 at 11:21 am #

      While I 100% realize the need to be sensitive to cultural issues I am a proud nap nazi AND one that is married to a Jewish man. I completely understand that this title was meant to be tongue and cheek and not offensive. Bravo Amanda!

  7. Jennifer May 13, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    I am an attorney too and am struggling with getting my children to bed early. Do you mind if I ask what time you usually get home / have dinner? Moving my girls’ bedtime up feels impossible to me, but it may be that we’re letting them take too much time with dinner and bath before bed. Thanks!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:24 am #

      Jennifer,
      I do work from home now on a part-time basis. I worked full time when I only had one child and I usually got home around 5:30-6:00. We pretty much ate dinner, played a bit, took baths then read books so that he would be getting tucked in from 7:30-7:45. Good luck!

  8. Beth May 13, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Thanks for your writing! It’s nice to know others are trying to stick with the schedule like we are and it’s not crazy to be protective of that. This Friday I am flying cross-country with my almost two year old (and, I’m 30 weeks pregnant) and sacrificing traveling with my husband because the only way to go together is if we do a red-eye. I’m not risking throwing off his schedule completely for vacation–yes it will be tough, and I know I am crazy for traveling without some help, but for the sake of keeping him even a tad bit closer to schedule, I will do it. Thanks for letting me know that it’s okay to be “that” mom.

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:25 am #

      Beth, I get it. My kids schedule dictates a lot of our lives too. But to me, that is part of the parenting sacrifice we make when we decide to be parents. Do we still do lots of fun stuff, absolutely. But it takes organization and planning. Good luck on the red-eye!

  9. Mama B May 13, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    Also a nap schedule stickler. Also a fan of using the word stickler instead of Nazi. I’d prefer you changed it too.

  10. Christie May 13, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    I love this article!!! My In-laws actually called me a sleep nazi because I was super strict. I wouldn’t let them stay up just because out of town visitors were here or something similar, it wasn’t worth it. Everyone started to see that the routine and early bedtime (7:15) really worked! When we had my third, it was super easy to get him on a routine also- since the other two were already used to it. Now if I put my kids to bed past their normal bedtimes, it makes for a long night. They don’t sleep well, and are very cranky in the morning. My 2 1/2 yr old still can’t make it past 7:15.
    I am very glad to see someone else out there doing this! This was a decision that was definitely best for my family!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:27 am #

      Thanks for reading Christie! Most of my family doesn’t understand it, and that’s ok. They don’t have to. They do respect it though. And these tender years fly by, soon they wont be napping and they will get later bedtimes. Until then, when temper tantrums are still a thing, I’ll make sure they are at least well-rested.

  11. Ande May 13, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

    I love this and I hope I am not too late! I just got a job where I will be working 1st shift (6am-2:30) and my husband has worked 2nd shift for the last 3yrs so I never really cared about a bedtime routine or a strict bedtime but over the last week, since the job offer came in, I have really started to watch my 2.5yr olds signals and my 18mo old is following suit in the last week we even got nap time down to a science!! We are slowly moving bedtime from 10pm to 8pm we are currently at 9pm for my 2.5yr old but my 18mo still wants to nurse to sleep and that happens around 9:30, we are in the process of weaning. I recently realized my 2.5 yr old gets sleepy about 4hrs after he wakes up and naps for 3 hours sometime between 12:30 and 4pm (so we miss lots of events) and my 18mo old will nap from around 1:30-3:30

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:28 am #

      Ande, thanks for reading! Good luck!

  12. Jessica May 13, 2015 at 6:28 pm #

    Doesn’t 7:00 seem a little early? At what age does this get pushed back? 5th grade? Also, I love sleeping in….won’t kids sleep in more if you put them to bed a little later?

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:30 am #

      I think you have to judge by the child but the recommendation is 12-14 hours of sleep. Most sleep experts say that although it seems counterintuitive, a later bedtime does not mean a later wake time. And my kids are in school, so sleeping in is not really possible. We start reading stories in our home at 7:30, followed by prayer and some lullabies. That means they usually fall asleep around 8:00pm.

    • LMJ August 16, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

      I allowed my young children [prior to school age] to go to bed later for just this reason. I work nights on the weekends and find that my body settles into a happy medium on the other days of the week. I can’t have a kid up early or I will be the one melting down because of sleep deprivation. I think every child and every family is different. Some of mine despite bedtime/nap time routines did not sleep on demand and I found that a set routine for when they woke up and being attuned to signs of fatigue before they reached a boiling over point did more to regulate sleep than a set bedtime. Each family has to take their personal situation into consideration when making these decisions and it’s OK if people don’t do things the same way.

  13. Amy May 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    I have always had a fairly strict bed time with all my kids. They are now 11, 9.5, 7.5 and 6. They all took 2 naps a day until at least 18 months. Exceptions were made for traveling and parties sometimes. This has caused many discussions because my husbands side of the family did not and still does not have a regular sleep routine and did not want to follow ours for our kids. They skipped naps, fell asleep to tv every night, etc. I am the exact opposite. Luckily my sister and I had children close together and have very similar if not exact thoughts on sleep. So when my side of the family was together, it was understood. And our Mom understood and did as we asked. NO ONE has fun when the melt downs occur. Not parents, not the birthday kid, not the other guests, not the poor child melting down. Your children will not remember having to nap 1-2 times per day 5 and under. But when they are older and can stay up later, they will remember the experiences you can do because you don’t have a sleep deprived child; sleep can never be made up. I start bedtime routine with my 11, 9.5 and 7.5 around 7:15-7:30 to ensure they are asleep as close to 7:30-8 as possible. My 6 year old…we start around 6:15pm. Our hope is to have her asleep before 7; but she has some sleep issues. We are the family that in the summer, the neighbors 3 year old is out later than all my kids. But I am home all day with them. And if they wake up cranky…the day is not going to go much better. And I would feel awful sending them to school too tired to be respectful and to think/learn. It’s easier to stick to a routine ( and kids THRIVE off a routine) than to try to get a 11 year old to nap!! As it is, they complain they go to bed earlier than ALL their friends. But guess what?! Despite what time I put them to bed, the 11 and 9.5 are still tired in the morning and the 9.5 can hardly get out of bed. My 7.5 is up 50% of the time, but the rest, I am waking him. the 6…she’s a crap shoot. But usually I am waking her up probably 75% of the time. Do not ever underestimate how healthy it is for your child(ren) to have healthy sleep habits! It’s as important as food and water!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Amy,
      I also grew up without an early bedtime and weekends we were allowed to stay up as late as we wanted. I remember being a behavior problem every morning because I was just so stinking tired. I did not want that with my kids. I don’t have to wake my kids, they wake on their own in great moods. I agree, your body needs rest just the same as it needs proper nutrition. Of course we deviate for vacations, when family is in town, or special events, just as we allow junk food normally. But on a regular night, its vegetables and fruit before snacks and a good night’s rest. Thanks for reading!

  14. Maggie May 13, 2015 at 11:54 pm #

    As a teacher, I applaud all you moms who are adhering to having strict bedtimes for you children. It is so important to learning for young students to have adequate sleep. I only wish all the parents of my students felt so strongly about this. The students whose reading and math scores suffer the most are those who lack a regular bedtime or are allowed to sleep with a television on all night. Keep up the good work! Sleep is very important!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:33 am #

      Thank you for reading and for your comment Maggie! Glad to know it is helpful for the teachers as well!

  15. Meredith May 14, 2015 at 5:35 am #

    I just have to question if you’d like to humor me. First of all, I’m a mother of four children ranging in age from 20 to 2.5 and I don’t dispute the importance of a good routine but some of these responses regarding the “meltdown” situation; I have found that the inability to be more flexible causes the majority of any kind of meltdown. A tired child is not going to make it impossible for me to take care of things. A child that just can’t process any deviation from the sacred routine will. Our kids are in sports and so needing to be the’soccer mom’ requires that more times than not the 2 year old is either taking a nap in the car or maybe taking it later. Do any of the sleep stickler parents have other older children that are negatively impacted by a younger siblings sleep schedule? Now that I have a 20 year old and a 14 year old that don’t nap or have to adhere to a super early bedtime I’m glad that I didn’t sweat the small stuff when they were this young, they can handle the unexpected things that are sure to happen in life. I don’t agree with teaching them by being so unyielding with something as trivial as a nap time that a routine is a reason to be completely inflexible. Secondly, as a working parent, putting the children to bed at 7-7:30 means that I would be spending more time without them than with them. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t THAT the reason for having kids? Because you have the time and capacity to love them with everything you have? I think this generation of parents employs many techniques to still have their daily 3 hours of me time and a child will thrive on the time spent with their loving parents much more than they will on some routine that is just a smoke screen to hide the fact that too many people have their baby fevers and we live in the age of instant gratification. Instead of being ready to handle it they have one hour of time with their children. #sorrynotsorry

    • Jessica Morgan May 14, 2015 at 11:20 am #

      Well said!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      Meredith, I think we will agree to disagree. Experts insist that consistency and routine is what children thrive on. So although I would never describe myself as inflexible, my children have far fewer meltdowns and I believe part of that is because they know what to expect and what is expected. I am not inflexible but I strive for consistency and predictability because that is what is shown to help children. And I do deviate a lot. We go on several vacations a year because our families live out of town and they visit us as well several times a year. On those occasions, we are not as strict. We do a lot with our kids. But on an average weekday/weekend where no plans are made, they know the routine and what to expect. I place a lot of value on that. I don’t appreciate the implication that because I have a routine, I am raising children that cannot “handle the unexpected things that are sure to happen in life.” Just because we chose different ways of raising our kids does not make one of us wrong. And as for the reason we have kids, it is far deeper than spending time with them. I am not their friend, I am their parent and I make decisions within that role that I feel are best for them. You do not know me nor do I feel like I have to justify the time I spend with my children. But suffice it to say, I spend a lot of time with my kids but I am not going to alter what I believe is best for them so that I can selfishly have an extra hour of their company. Also, there is nothing wrong with moms taking time for themselves. I would argue that it makes us better moms and it helps for our children to not be self-centered and think that mom and dad don’t matter.

      • Erica June 26, 2015 at 8:51 am #

        As the Mom of 4, ages 14, 12, 9 and 6, I relate to this article a ton. I, too, was very strict about naps and bedtime (still strict about that). It has paid off in spades. I have no regrets about missed opportunities and don’t feel bad about leaving events early so I can get my kids to bed at a decent hour. I don’t agree with the last part of Meredith’s statement (sorry, but having time alone, away from kids is HEALTHY, especially for us introverts), but she is right that kids (at least mine) used to getting adequate sleep struggle when things get off schedule. It’s something I’ve witnessed and is a real thing…BUT it is worth the benefits of having a well-rested kid most of the time.

        I will say one more thing, not directed at anyone in particular: there are clearly bad, selfish parenting choices, but in most cases people look at their own, individual lives, assess all the moving pieces and make the best possible choices based on those. They will likely look different than the choices made by others, but why not assume the best rather than trying to shame or paint as selfish those who come to different conclusions?

  16. Amber Tinney May 14, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    Hi Amanda,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your article! I strive for routine nap and bed times as well for my daughter and we are somewhere and she is being held by others if I notice she is sleepy I have been known to just politely take her back and lay her down. Sad for the person I know but 100% agree routine is needed. Also agree wholeheartedly about the evening early bedtime so my husband and I can have our time together as well. I am sorry that you receive such negative comments about your parenting decisions. I was absolutely disgusted reading some comments to you as well as the comments regarding your use of the word “nazi” as I understood it was not meant to be derogatory or insensitive to the Holocaust.
    Thanks!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:42 am #

      Thank you Amber! I genuinely appreciate your comment and it is rewarding to know that our words can help moms!

  17. kayla watson May 14, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Wonderful post! I am a mew mother tp a beautiful five-month old boy. For the last five months, I have been continually harassed about bringing my child out of the house for visits. I, along with my husband, felt that these requests were absolutely absurd seeing that our child NEEDS 3 naps a day. If not, he is just furious and nobody is happy! We all obviousy have different parenting styles, but I feel that the one common denominator should be ensuring that our children’s needs are met. Life as a parent doesn’t mean that our lives are over. It simply means that we have be accommodating to the small life that we brought into this world. The small life that craves structure and routine. I will never feel the need to apologize for taking care of my child!

    • Amanda Bensabat May 14, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      Kayla,
      Thanks so much for reading! I completely agree with you. I had to accommodate my children, not the other way around. And this time is so fleeting. I know there will be later nights in the future when my children are older. For now, they sleep 🙂

  18. ashley May 14, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

    I am “that mom” my kids stay on the same schedule at home that the daycare does. Same snack, lunch and nap times. If something is happening between 11:30 and 2 Or after 6:30 pm we wont be there or we will be late. Very very few exceptions. My kids having a meltdown wont be fun for anyone.

  19. john May 14, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    Good evening ladies,
    I was scrolling thru my wife’s news feed as I do sometimes and came across this article. I don’t normally comment on anything, but I feel I have to on this. I want to let all you ladies know that a system like this, (scheduling your child’s sleep) not only Benefits the child, but your marriage as well. Because of my wife’s hard work and dedication to keeping our children well rested and on a predictable routine, I love coming home from work, to a happy non overwhelmed family! I work 8-4 and my wife has it so my kids wake up at 4. So everyday I come home my children are wide awake and happy! This is awesome! And because of the predictability my wife is able to stay in control. …anyways our marriage grows every day for the better because my wife elviates a majority of the stress that comes with tired children, and getting a babysitter is so much easier all we have to do is write down the schedule for the babysitter and it works and most babysitters want to watch our children because they are so well behaved because they are rested. so when it comes to special events birthday parties anything like that I’d rather skip them and have a cranky kid at them. I would assume that everyone else at that party would want the same thing. so again thank you for this post and I just want you ladies to know that as a husband I agree that this is one of the best ways to help or improve your marriage.

  20. Reagan May 16, 2015 at 1:49 am #

    Thank you for sharing this. I don’t understand parents who DON’T enforce bedtime with their children. They are the ones losing out in the end,

  21. Daniela May 16, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    Dear Amanda,I am mom of two from Slovakia.I am one of few of our friends that put kids to bed at seven…but you read my mind.we have time for ourselves,and kids are well rested. Yes,thy wake up early,but its worth it. My husband gets up at six for work,so they get to see him before he leaves and also we don’t have to wake them up for kindergarten and that counts;-). Would never change;-)

  22. Kelly S May 19, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    Our kids (almost 3 years old + a 6 month old) both go to bed around 6 pm. We LOVE it. They both naturally fell into this rhythm around 3-4 months old.

    The baby is still nursing and wakes up during the night, and doesn’t take a bottle, but I’ve worked it out so I can nurse her and put her down at 6 pm, then she sleeps until at least 10 pm before needing to nurse again. So we can go on a date, or I can go out by myself, in the evening, as long as I’m back by 10 pm.

    I don’t know how people function without their kids going to bed early. I am able to get stuff done in the evening, or relax with my husband, or by myself, as you mention. I find it helps me to focus better on the kids during the day, because I don’t have to do everything with them underfoot, since in the evening I can work on personal projects, make sure the house is in order, watch tv, etc. The same goes for my husband – he spends an hour with them in the morning before work, and then we have a focused dinner and bedtime, which he can spend with them, knowing he’ll have the later evening to do any personal tasks. It also helps our weekends to be more focused on family time for the same reason.

    To the comment someone said about “isn’t this why we have kids – to spend time with them?” Not for me! We had kids because: they’re a blessing from God, because we want to raise healthy kids to serve our world, because we do our part in repopulating the human race… I sure enjoy time with my kids, and spend hours with them, but that’s not our primary motivation. 🙂

  23. Barbie July 10, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Amanda…..as an old pro (30, 28, 20 &16….AND a Nana!), I found your column wise and so very relevant. Good on you for your great parenting decisions regarding this vitally important part of childhood. When my children were very young, I followed the same routine as you have set for your wee boys. I could have all the patience in the world with my toddlers during the day, but if they weren’t bathed, snacked, cuddled, read to and prayed with by 8pm, my own spiral into a meltdown would begin! The days are long with small children and everyone needs their rest by the end of it. I’m a nurse and although I only ever worked part-time, my 12 hour shifts would have me getting home after their bedtime. As tempting as it would have been to have them stay up until I got home, the fallout from the change in routine just wouldn’t have been worth it. I would always creep into their rooms when I got home to whisper goodnight and kiss their sleeping little faces, knowing that this routine was exactly what they needed most. Their tired little bodies need sleep to repair itself and grow strong and healthy! As a nurse who deals with babies, I’ve seen first hand what happens when these little ones don’t get the proper sleep they need. My best friend, who had 3 young children at that time, would routinely let them stay up until 10-11 pm, every night, and then complain bitterly to me that her children were “always, always sick and I don’t know why?”

    You are a wise young mom to understand that we need that quiet time every evening to keep ourselves and our relationships sane too. The entire family benefits from these routines. I can also tell you that my son is a stickler for this with my 1 year old granddaughter….and interestingly enough, he tells me that he remembers his bedtime rules and routines and has admitted he felt safe knowing what was going to happen every night! So there’s a full circle for you.

    Like yourself, there was flexibility for special occasions and holidays. I believe our children are better for these comforting parameters in their lives….it allows them to thrive and grow to their full potential. You’ve got a great head on your young shoulders mama….keep it up!

  24. Andrea August 17, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more! It’s like you were in my mind writing this article. Thai has been my most FAVORITE article I’ve read! Thanks so much for sharing. Hopefully new moms will read this and understand just how important sleep is for little ones. A birthday party is not more important than my child’s health and any friend that does not support me and my parenting decisions isn’t really a true friend, in my opinion. ?

  25. Devon November 22, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I get that this isn’t the point, but how about we don’t refer to ourselves as Nazi’s…

  26. Meredith Landy April 4, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    I completely agree. This is a decent article, with good points. The title is completely insensitive and totally offensive.

  27. Claudia April 12, 2016 at 6:09 am #

    Thank you for this great article. I always try to get my child to be around the same time (give or take 30 minutes) and try to make sure they get their naps. We make it to most events are late. Our friends understand. We are also flexible and teach them to be flexible.

    I am so sorry that you have received certain rude comments that to me are judging you. That is not OK. Since when did it become OK for someone to be so rude to another mom who is brave enough to express her choices and decisions? I don’t judge you, the mom who doesn’t follow a bedtime routine at all. This is what makes motherhood so hard on he eyes of other mothers. I was astounded and disappointed by the level of criticism. Now about the word Nazi: Iy was not Intendend in a negative way.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Claudia April 12, 2016 at 6:11 am #

      Sorry for the typos. Didn’t have a lot of time.

  28. Abby April 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    To the author, whose response to complaints regarding the term “Nazi” in her title and post has shaken me:

    As a fellow attorney, I’m appalled that you would choose the term to describe your parenting style. We lawyers have been charged with mastery of the English language, its nuances and subtext. You have failed your profession.

    As a fellow mom, I’m saddened on several levels. As I write this, I worry that although you now realize, in your heart of hearts, that it was wrong–you cannot accept responsibility for your wrongdoing. You are sending a message, whether you realized it or not at the time, that because someone on television has normalized something, its somehow socially permissible.

    These two mistakes are not what you want to teach your children. They should know when they should own up to their mistakes, and they should know that (of all things!!) a TV show and a comedian are not people we should model our morals and ethics against. Have you ever heard of “L’affaire Dieudonné”? This is not about being overly-sensitive. Its about being sensitive to others. And that’s a good lesson for our kids. Knowing that just because someone on TV did something, doesn’t make it ok. Ms. Bensabat, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that when your child sees violence on TV, you have to tell them its wrong. This is no different. I fear that you do not see the parallel.

    Below are my thoughts on your Author’s Note, I hope you will reconsider and rename your well-intended article.

    “I am writing in response to a very small group of readers who have accused me of being an anti-Semite”: In all of the posts, no one has said you were an anti-Semite, everyone (from a variety of backgrounds) has simply asked you to remove the term. If someone did say you were anti-Semitic, they are wrong, but realize they are hurt.

    “I am an American, although I have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage”: Sadly, I think you need some education here. You can be both American and an Ashkenazi Jew. Like me. and millions of other Americans. Just like you can be Chinese. And American. Imagine that! Not sure why you chose to say “although”….

    “I also have been accused to helping the movement that denies the Holocaust”: By normalizing the word, and using it loosely, you are allowing the world to use the term “Nazi” in ways it should not be. Have you ever met a Holocaust denier? I have. Any inch for their cause helps.

    “Those are powerful accusations coming from behind the protection of a screen and keyboard. I am a mother. I could be your neighbor. I could be sitting across from you at bible study or soccer practice”: I hope that if you are, then we can talk, and you can be honest with yourself and admit when you are wrong. We all make mistakes. Its how we handle them that counts.

    “using popular culture reference from one of the greatest shows of all time (SEINFELD) in a blog post”: Again, hiding behind pop culture isn’t really a good argument. Nor does it help make a case for ethical parenting.

    “I am sorry if the use of that word triggered emotions for some of our readers. My intent was never to do so”: I fully believe you had no intention of hurting anyone. Thank you for apologizing. Now you must act, or your words are meaningless.

    • Amanda Bensabat April 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

      Abby,
      thank you for your thoughtful comment. I am sorry for suggesting that being an American and of Jewish descent were mutually exclusive. It is not at all what I meant but understand that my words suggested such. I am also sorry for the title of my post to have shaken you. I wrote this post with no ill will or ill intent. I stand by my words as comedy although I respect your position and beliefs. I am sorry that my article caused so much anguish. I don’t think we need to bring our capabilities as parents into question as I certainly don’t doubt that you are doing your best. I think all mothers are. Thank you and I wish you and your family well.

  29. Jennifer April 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    So glad the term Nazi brings so much comedy to your life. How hilarious.

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