“At 7 p.m. at night houses all around the country are breathing a sigh of relief as they reach that time of the day when parenting ends and ‘me time’ begins.
Don’t think I’m judging you, I’m not! If that is what works for your family, then it’s wonderful. In fact, I know so many families who thrive best with more structure. That is simply not the case for me…
My kids go to bed late.
They wake up late.
And that’s okay.
I’m a night owl, too!
Around 2 a.m. is when I’m at my most creative. As an aspiring author, this is when I can best focus on writing.
The kids love our evenings. We are all relaxed after our usually busy day and we spend those hours reading together or watching movies. We may draw pictures or play games. It’s always a special time.
We began this after I heard from other families who lived with autonomy. At first I thought they must be insane.
But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me. I’d long since learned that children are often far more capable than we give them credit for and can be very good at recognizing what they need! This was just the next step in that!
We had a few difficulties at first.
My eldest in particular decided that it meant he never had to sleep at all.
I guided him, taught him how to recognize his sleep cues, and pointed out the effects when he stayed up too late.
It wasn’t like I just turned away from my children or stopped parenting because we didn’t have bedtimes. It was a lot of work and support and guidance. (In fact, bedtime at 7 p.m. was much easier for me! But what is easier isn’t always what is best!)
We merely removed the control and the force!
And before long they fell into their natural circadian rhythms.
And we flourished.
Now, my guys are older and they are pretty much in charge of when they sleep and when they wake.
I sit with my girls while they go to sleep, I sing songs, play podcasts, read books until they drift off. It’s a beautiful time of cosiness and peace and love.
My son had the same process until he reached 8 and realized he wasn’t tired before I was ready to get started on my job. That’s fine, he plays in his room until he falls asleep now.
He loves the peace of it. That time of absolute silence.
I guess he gets that from me!
‘No screens’ is our only limit as we found they couldn’t focus on their body’s messages when they were busy on the screens.
Now they turn off screens when they’re getting tired and then play or read until they’re ready to go to sleep.
‘Bed time’ can occur anytime between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
We wake at different times too depending on what we need to do.
If we have places to be or if we had an earlier night then we wake up earlier. If we are home or don’t have morning plans we sleep in later.
We sleep when we are tired…
I love the freedom this gives us!
I love our autonomous lives.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nic Bescoby. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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