It’s pretty much the thing you hear parents say more than anything: ‘He’s really tired… ‘ ‘She’s just SO TIRED’. It might be true or it might just be an excuse for a bad behaviour, but how often do you hear it? How often have you said it?
Kids are tired after nursery. Tired after playgroup. Tired after school.
They have always gone to bed late. They were all in nursery from six months and they all dropped their naps at a very young age. Nothing tired them out. Not nursery, not playgroup and definitely not school.
But now my daughter is at her new grammar school, she is experiencing tiredness for the very first time.
Her bus leaves at just after 7.30 in the morning, so she is leaving the house at 7.30. Being very conscientious about her appearance and her bag packing and wanting to be sure she doesn’t forget anything, she gets up at 6.20. I keep telling her she could probably have another 10 or 15 minutes in bed, but she is insistent it needs to be 6.20.
So she’s getting up nearly an hour earlier than she used to, plus she has a slightly longer school day and a bus journey to and from school.
That’s pretty tiring for an 11 year old girl. She comes in from school and she’s exhausted. Sometimes she just wants to go to bed straight away.
If you asked my daughter what time she went to bed when she was in year 4, she would have told you 9pm. And, if I’m honest, she could rarely manage 9pm even when she was in year 4. She certainly didn’t manage it in year 5 or 6. If she even went up the stairs at 9pm it was a miracle. Then there was slowly brushing her teeth, slowly brushing her hair, me reading to her for a bit, her reading herself… The light usually went off just before 10. Then it would take nearly an hour to get to sleep (and sometimes a lot longer). If she was asleep by 10.30 in year 6, I was high-fiving myself, thinking we’d done a really good job.
Now she goes upstairs at 8.30. I haven’t made her do it, she realises she needs to. She does her hair and teeth quicker and her light goes off at 9. It is a massive change from the way she was even a few weeks ago. If there is something on TV she wants to watch, she doesn’t watch it. She saves it for the next day. Or the day after. Or the weekend. Because some days she gets in at 4.30, then she has a dance class at 5.30 and it’s getting on for 7 when she gets home. There isn’t much time for TV. I thought she would mind this, but she realises how tired she is and she knows she just has to sleep.
These days, she is asleep well before 10. I never would have thought it was possible.
I’m pleased that she is making sure she gets enough sleep, but she is still tired. I’m hoping that in a few more weeks she will have adjusted to her new school and her new way of life and will be less tired. She can’t stay this tired for the next seven years!