Q: How late should I let my teen sleep in?
My husband and I have always been early risers. Must be in the genes–his parents were both raised on a farm and maintained a lifelong habit of getting up before the crack of dawn. My parents, as teachers, likewise were always up quite early, talking loudly in the kitchen. During my homeschooling years, I liked to get things moving by 7 AM and stopped serving breakfast by 8. That changed as each of my kids entered early adolescence. They started sleeping later and later, and I often had to make several rounds before they were out of bed.
School started dragging on the other end, too. I liked to be done by at least 3 PM so I could get dinner (that rare occasion in my house) or laundry going. But my teens liked to do school at night and they wanted my help even though I had that “OFF DUTY” sign around my neck. Because I had plenty of other fronts to maintain, I chose to let them set their schedules. It worked out for us just fine. My adult children are now all early risers, too.
Teenagers do need more sleep during the height of adolescence. Their bodies are changing and their brains are growing. The average, doctors say, is nine hours a night, similar to the needs of a two year old (who likewise are experiencing dramatic, accelerated growth).
What do you do at your house? Is there an absolute deadline for getting up and going to bed? What principles inform your thoughts in this area?
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