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Is 8 p.m. a suitable bedtime for a 10-year-old? My daughter goes to bed at 8 and wakes at 6 a.m. of her own accord. She has no problem with going to bed at 8 and is usually tired by that time. But other members of my family think I send her to be too early. My brother arrived at our house last night at 7 p.m., and he kicked up a fuss about only getting to see her for an hour before I told her to go to bed. He didn’t think it was fair that he had just arrived and I wouldn’t let her stay up a little longer so she could see her uncle.
As the father of an early riser, I can attest that an 8 p.m. bedtime is fine. According to the National Sleep Foundation – and a number of other sources I consulted – children your daughter’s age generally need 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night. That figure varies from child to child, but your daughter’s 10-hour slumber probably leaves her better prepared for the day better than most. If she gets tired at 8 p.m. and wakes up rested at 6 a.m., then her body has confirmed the practicality of that sleep schedule.
That said, when kids routinely get the proper amount of sleep – all too many don’t – then you can afford to let her stay up late for special occasions. Next time a relative arrives at 7 p.m., don’t put her to bed until 9 p.m. if she would rather stay up. One day of short sleep won’t hurt her, and if you explain the circumstances whenever you make an exception, then the girl will know the bedtime rule still stands unless you say otherwise.
Lastly, I’d like to make three quick observations:
- First, this is your daughter and your home. Nobody else in your family has any more right than a vagrant off the street to dictate the girl’s bedtime. It is your decision, not theirs. And if a relative keeps pushing the issue, push back.
- Second, while your brother’s complaint is at least somewhat valid, he should not make it very loudly while the girl is still awake. You didn’t provide the details, but if your brother “kicked up a fuss” before the girl went to bed, then he contributed to undermining your parental authority.
- Third, while your daughter likes getting up at 6 a.m. now, that could change in the matter of a day or so. Be flexible with the girl’s bedtime. It really doesn’t matter when she goes to bed or gets up, as long as she gets the 10 hours of sleep she seems to need.
My daughter is 12 and lives in Germany but wants to live with me in England. Can she decide if she wants to live with me?I had to report my ex-wife for the way she is bringing up my daughter, but it seems the courts have taken her side because she has made my daughter out to be a liar and drama queen.
In such cases, your rights are what the courts decree. Perhaps you got a raw deal. And perhaps your daughter truly is exaggerating about the problems because she wants to leave.
For practical purposes, few courts will allow children as young as 12 to make decisions about where they prefer to live. Your best bet may be to seek shared custody, perhaps keeping your daughter for six months out of the year rather than shooting for full custody. But don’t take that advice as gospel. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on TV. The only person who can competently advise you in this case is an attorney with knowledge of custody laws in both countries.
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