Stay Up Nights

Kids bunk bed painted red with blue ladder

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Quality Individual Time for Siblings

Kids bunk bed painted red with blue ladder

  • What: Stay Up Nights
  • When: Once a week
  • Why: Get one on one time with individual kids
  • Where: Our home

Once a week, each of our three kids gets a “stay up night.” Back in the day where I had kids who napped, and only one child in school, I arranged our schedules so that I got quality one on one time with each of the three kids. Then another kid started school full time, and the youngest dropped their nap, and suddenly none of them got any quality time without their siblings.

Then, about eighteen months ago, I had the inspiration to start “stay up” nights. All three of our kids sleep in the same bedroom (by choice). They go to sleep much faster when one of them goes to bed at a different time (giving the other two a chance to fall asleep). It doesn’t seem to matter much for our family which kid you remove from the equation.

Bunk bed with trundle and pink kid unicorn sheets and white construction vehicle sheets
We split bedtimes to get kids more individual time and more sleep.

So each child gets one night a week to stay up while both their siblings go to bed at the normal time. They can lose this privilege, and it’s flexible around other commitments. But they each love their stay up nights. Whether they stay at home with one or both parents, or go out for special events or outings, they get individual attention and activities geared exclusively for their age level and interests.

As an added bonus, three nights a week the kids don’t all go to bed at the same time. Yet unlike favoring the oldest to stay up later every night, or having the youngest go to bed first (he never falls asleep, but waits patiently on at least one sibling to join him), the extra time gets evenly spread amongst all the kids. We do let the older kids stay up longer on their designated night, and while I had no intention of allowing the youngest to join the tradition at age three when we started this routine, giving him 15 extra minutes once a week didn’t derail our entire schedule either.

If you need a good way to spend time with each of your younger kids without sibling interference, think about starting a stay up night routine in your household.

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