The Enchanted Hour

7:30pm.  The enchanted hour.  The time when we get to kick our shoes off and stretch out on the couch, eat Oreo's, or a half a pint of Ben and Jerry's or a whole box of Girl Scout Cookies….all things we would never do in front of our children.  We watch TV shows that stimulate our intellect, or turn them to mush-doesn't matter.

7:30pm, that glorious, wonderful, magical time.

7:30pm sounds ridiculous to a lot of parents.  They can't believe we get our girls in bed that early.  "My kids would never go to sleep that early", they usually say, usually with an accusing inflection in their voices that we must be doing something odd or wrong.  .  Our kids never want to go to bed that early either, but guess what?  We make them because we are in charge.

Rob and I decided early in our parenting lives that we needed more than a few minutes together before we dropped dead in our bed of exhaustion.  We needed time to decompress, to be quiet, to eat Oreos and watch TV shows that turned our brains to mush for just a little while.  Only when we did all these things did we feel like we could connect with each other on a human level.

Just this last year, we started letting Maddie, our 10 yr. old stay up till 8pm.  Whitney goes to bed at 7:45pm, Belle at 7:30pm sharp.  But for 10 whole years the magic number was 7:30pm.  It worked for us.

What works for you?

15 thoughts on “The Enchanted Hour

  • March 2, 2009 at 10:05 am
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    It’s always been my goal to get our Girlie in bed at 7:30 p.m., but I never manage it. I think part of the problem is that Hubs works until 6p.m.; by the time we have dinner together, do our nightly Bible reading, and have some fun, playing-around time, it’s 8:30. Someday I’ll get it figured out.

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  • March 2, 2009 at 11:14 am
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    we’re an 8pm bedtime house. occasionally, we’ll let them stay up until 8:30 because one of their favorite shows is doing a special at 8pm. weekends are normally 8:30-9:00 bedtime, but chrissy and i are up later those days too, so we still get our “us” time in.

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  • March 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm
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    Hello- I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now- very inspirational, thank you!
    We put our three kids (ages 4, 3, and 17 mos) in bed at 7. They all still take naps, too (or at least a quiet time) in the afternoon. I know people who let their kids stay up until 10 or so and wonder why they are always so tired and frazzled. I need that down time and don’t think it’s selfish at all. I’m so glad there are at least a few people out there who agree with us!

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  • March 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm
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    7:30 sounds glorious.
    As my sons get older, their bedtime gets later. During the summer, I have my alone time in the morning when they are sleeping in. And then they play all day and don’t usually get in the shower until 9:00 or so. By then, we are all pooped and it’s early to bed for all of us.
    The next morning comes and I get some time to myself and with the hubby.

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  • March 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm
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    Victoria (age 9) goes to bed at 8:00 or 8:30 during the week and later on weekends. Andrew (age 17) goes to bed at 10:00 and can stay up as late as he wants on the weekends. I just told Andrew last week that he doesn’t HAVE to go to bed at 10:00, but if he gives us any problem about getting up in the morning, we will insist on the 10:00 bedtime. So far he is getting up fine in the morning. I am in bed half asleep at 9:00 and Craig usually hits the bed around midnight.
    With only one bathroom our morning is scheduled too: I am up at 5:30, Andrew at 6:00, Victoria at 6:30, and Craig at 7:30. It works well for us.

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  • March 2, 2009 at 6:38 pm
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    We just moved from 7:30 to 8:00 on school nights. It is wonderful time for us as a couple .. just like you said. But on Friday and Saturday nights the kids get to have “Big Bed Night” where they can sleep together. They get to watch a movie which they both usually fall asleep in the middle of. They are up later … but they sleep later too, which works great for me since I am no morning person!

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  • March 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm
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    My kids had a set bedtime up until their sophmore year in high school. At some point they went on their own without much fuss.Even on weekends they didn’t get to just stay up until all hours of the night. The routine was not just for us, but they functioned a lot better when this happened and we rarely had to fight with them in the am when it was time to get up.

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  • March 2, 2009 at 9:13 pm
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    8:30 is our magic number-no ifs, ands or buts about it. We have to have that time to decompress, snuggle, eat ruffles and onion dip and just laugh together. We enjoy this every night. Well gotta get off here, kids gotta go brush their teeth!

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  • March 3, 2009 at 11:08 am
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    Amen! You absolutely NEED and DESERVE that time to yourselves. When our kids were very young, they went to bed at 6:30. Woo hoo! One of us would be putting them in bed and the other would be downstairs scooping the ice cream. 🙂
    We kept “set” bedtimes through middle school–and they were pretty early. My kids often complained that they went to bed earlier than every other kid in their class. Did I care? NO! I just smiled and said, “yes, but who is the smartest kid in your class?” (They knew the answer–it was usually them. I firmly believe that there is a correlation between sleep and brain function. The brain needs time to rest too! But that’s another story.)
    Now my kids are older and go to bed often later than we do. BUT, I will say that my freshman puts limits on herself–she’s usually in bed, reading, by 9:30.
    Oh well, these days are going by so fast that it doesn’t matter that much anymore.

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  • March 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm
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    It is so good to hear that your girls are in bed early too! Our girls are in bed at 8:00 and we love it! Our friends all think we are a little crazy, but we, my husband and I, love that time we have in the evenings together. We even started picking one night a week when we have date night here at our house. One week he plans the evening the next week I plan. We turn the TV off and usually just play a game and maybe have a special snack to munch on whie we are playing our game. It has been great!

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  • March 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm
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    Some great ideas in here! For me and my home, it’s 8:00 – no if’s and’s or but’s! No discussion, no option. So we START at 7:30, with 3 boys 7 and under, it takes a while to brush teeth, read, pray (cause each one of them has their OWN prayer) get last minute wiggles out. Michelle, could you touch on how your home does “chores” and compensation, and keeping it as “even” as possible? Thanks!!

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  • March 4, 2009 at 12:29 am
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    Colt, now six months old, goes to bed at 10:30 and we go to bed at 11:30-midnight. Andy leaves for work at 6:15a and I sleep in until 9:00a! Sometimes 10!! I let the baby by my alarm clock. haha!! This won’t last forever but I’m soaking it up while I can. Zzzzzzz. Good night : )

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  • March 4, 2009 at 7:06 am
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    Our bedtime routine usually starts between 7 and 7:30pm. Both of our children take a bath every night (we’ve done that since they were babies). After baths, we all read 1-2 books and then bedtime. It’s usually between 8-9pm. For those putting the children to bed earlier…do you do baths each night? What time do you start if you do? If not at night, when? We’d love to get ours to bed earlier — seems like we’re getting there as fast as we can.

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  • March 4, 2009 at 8:12 am
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    Shelly-I learn so much from you, and am so glad that you put your kids to bed so early. I used to do that when the girls were small and Rob would be away in India. They never knew the difference between 6:30 or 7:30
    Shae-That’s a great question! With 3 girls, we have learned that it takes FOREVER to give them a bath, dry or braid their hair, etc. So, we have resorted to shifting shower/bath night. One kid a night takes a shower or bath, that way we can still keep our early bedtimes. Of course there are times when they are really stinky and need a shower, and bedtimes get pushed back a bit, but that is never the rule. 🙂

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  • March 4, 2009 at 8:47 am
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    I love that there are so many other people out there that agree with the importance of “mom and dad” time or personal time if you are alone. My kids have always been on a schedule, I did it for me and for them. Bedtime is 8:00 for my kids, my 8 yr old gets to read for 30 mins in bed and then its lights out at 8:30pm. They know there is no exception to this rule. Weekends that can stay up till 10:00 but they hardly ever make it till 10pm.
    It is so important to be able to decompress after a long day. I enjoy this time with my husband, sometimes we just watch tv and veg-out and other times we talk and hang out. Whatever we do, its nice to be alone in the house without the distraction of the kids. Kudos to all of us for understanding the importance of this simple nighttime ritual. Again Michelle thanks for this post into your world.

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