Are Bedtimes for Teens Babyish?

Jan Faull, M.Ed, answers a mom's question about setting a bedtime on school nights for her teens.
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Bedroom Time, Not Bedtime

Q. I have two teens, ages 15 and 17, and I wonder if it's reasonable for me to set a bedtime for them on school nights. I allow them to stay up late on the weekends, but feel it's important for them to adhere to a schedule during the week. Is a bedtime for teens too babyish?

A. I would suggest setting a "bedroom time" for your teens, not a bedtime. This would be a time when they are required to be in their bedrooms each night when they can read, listen to music (at a reasonable level), or finish up homework. Setting a bedtime would be an exercise in frustration for you as it would be too difficult to enforce nightly. Let's face it; the tactics you'd use for getting a toddler to bed won't work with a 15-year old.

You are correct in wanting to ensure that your growing teen gets a proper amount of sleep. Hormone changes during adolescence cause teens' sleeping clocks to go awry. Typically, they go to bed late and prefer to sleep later in the morning, and because of this many teens are often sleep-deprived since they must get up early to go to school. Often they resort to afternoon naps, or sleep past noon on weekends to catch up.

Continued on page 2:  Encouraging Compromise


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