How Come I Feel Guilty That My Kids Sleep?!

Everywhere I look, whether its emblazoned on t-shirts or bemoaned on Twitter there are Mum’s making statements about how little their kids sleep. Every time I see one I just shrink into the corner! Even the BBC has jumped in now – talking about the pros and cons of sleep training. Some experts are quoting that it is usual for kids to be up during the night right round until they are two. I honestly can’t imagine that happening in my house.

Both of my kids have slept through the night since they were 12 weeks old. My son in fact started sleeping through when he was 8 weeks (I used to wake both of them at 11pm for a dream feed before there is outcry about malnourishment!) By sleeping through the night I mean they sleep from around 6.45pm through to 7.30am. Every. Night. We go through the same routine every night. Tea, play, bath, milk, story, bed. Without fail, we religiously stick to it.

irenegoeleven / Pixabay

There is never any complaint from our eldest – never the request for one more story, another drink, another wee; nothing. He climbs into his bed, his head hits the pillow and that  is the end of it. By 6.30pm Pudding is begging for her bed – she downs that milk, dons her sleeping bag and I lay her in her cot with her comforter. She is asleep within 5 minutes. Heaven forbid you should wake either of them before 7am. Very rarely do I reach the bottom of the stairs and either of them is still awake.

So are we evil parents? Have I trained them like Pavlov’s dog to sleep? I am starting to wonder. It certainly wasn’t a conscious thing. I always believed that kids need structure and routine. I never used sleep training methods, I don’t have any strong feelings either way about cry it out or people who keep their kids in bed with them until they are 8. Each to their own in my opinion.

For us the structure worked and I guess we have a certain confidence in our own parenting. I don’t charge up the stairs to every squeak I hear, I don’t rush in to soothe every slight moan in the night. Equally I know the difference between a partially awake self soothing moan and a cry that needs my attention. Watch and wait is the motto in our house. If either of the children wake in the night, I wait just a couple of minutes. Do they need me? Or will my presence prevent them from going back to sleep? Is that a cry of frustration because their sleep cycle has ended or have they had a bad dream and need a quick cuddle.

dagon_ / Pixabay

The other thing I hear from other parents so frequently is that their child gets up at 5am, every day. This totally baffles me. How can this be good for anyone? Children need sleep to grow, adults need sleep to function. On very rare occasions, one of the kids may wake before 7am. If they are unable to self soothe in a couple of minutes then I will go in and put them back to bed. Never in a million years would I take them out of their room and downstairs to play. Why would I reinforce behaviour that I don’t want?

We do appear to be in the minority. But I honestly can’t begin to imagine how other parents cope. My kids are on the go from the moment their eyes open and by 7pm they are not the only ones in need of a rest! I also feel that it is so important for parents to get some ‘together’ time. Even if that is just curled up on the sofa with the latest box set and a large glass of red!

The fact that my kids sleep is both a blessing and a curse. I know that this post will be met with a bombardment of unpleasant comments – probably along the lines of ‘well good for you love, why don’t you jeff off.’ But I am hoping that the hiding out there behind the wall of tired Mum’s is another bunch of Mum’s. Who believe like me that kids not only can sleep through the night, but that a good bedtime routine works and that the whole house benefits from a great nights sleep. (Alternatively I await the mob….)



15 thoughts on “How Come I Feel Guilty That My Kids Sleep?!”

  1. It is funny how we end up feeling guilty about the things that go well for us or are easy for us. I used to sit around and listen to other mums complain about how their husbands don’t pitch in and I would just shut my mouth because I felt guilty that my husband likes to cook dinner and how he is so involved with our children. I felt almost out of place. We all have our good and not so good things and we shouldn’t make others feel bad for their success or good fortune. My children are not great at going to sleep early, in fact they struggle to fall asleep until very late. I put them to bed at 7;45, they are 12, 9 and 7, and we have a routine of reading, lullabies and big snuggles. With my 12 year old we usually have a nice soothing chat, or do meditation. Yet still I can be going to bed at 10pm and check on them and usually my 7 and 12 year old are still awake. They talk to there teddy’s a lot. They just don’t seem to require as much sleep as I wish they would have! In saying that though on holidays they will sleep late and so we get a sleep in too which is nice. I do wish we had more of break of an evening, that my kids would just fall asleep, but I have to accept it is not likely to happen. My good friends girls aged 9 and 7 fall asleep by 7pm no matter where they are and sleep 12 hours. We are just all different. Don’t feel bad, enjoy it!

  2. Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one! My kids go down at about 6.50pm and my daughter is asleep within minutes. My son takes a tiny bit longer but not much. They then wake between 7.30 and 8am. I know I couldn’t cope if they woke at 5am – and I get that I am very lucky – but I’m so glad it’s not just me!! #eatsleepblogrt

  3. I absolutely relate to this as my daughter has slept through since the age of 2 months and I’ve been made to feel like a weirdo about it. I even had one person say they were concerned for my daughter because she sleeps through. It’s nuts that we are made to feel like crap parents because our children do something different to others. #EatSleepBlogRT

  4. We’re exactly the same in this household and have slept since 8 weeks old (although I feel like I might jinx myself by putting that in black and white!). I’ve been put on the spot in social groups due to being the only Mum who’s baby slept a lot. I felt as if I had to downplay his sleeping and afterwards I wasn’t sure why I felt the need to. #eatsleepblogrt

  5. I’m glad it’s not just me that has felt this way – it’s so hard as a parent to figure out what is ‘right’ – but ultimately I think it’s just about what is right for us. Whatever happens people will judge, so I’m happy learning to be happy to admit that my girl has slept through the night since 6 weeks!

  6. I have one daughter who slept great from the get go (and through the night from early on – maybe by 2 or 3 months), and one who I had to co-sleep with so I could get some shut eye. Honestly I didn’t get any more sleep with her in my bed than I would have getting up 4 or 5 times a night. In hindsight I think I would have done her differently if she wasn’t my first, and if I wasn’t such an anxious new mom!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences – I love reading up on how things are for other families!

  7. You don’t need to feel guilty – but you’re definitely in the minority! Every kid is different – some are ready to sleep through at 12 weeks and some take much longer. A good bedtime routine helps for sure, but no amount of routine was going to get my daughter to sleep through the night before she was ready. She actively resisted any sleep training until 12 months, when she just started sleeping through the night and has done ever since. I firmly believe that we needed to let her figure it out in her own time – but it was a loooong year. #EatSleepBlogRT

  8. Do not feel guilty for one solitary second! You have a gift, one that I ask for all of the time, and never get, but a gift nontheless! I envy you and your slumbering family. SUch well rested glee is the stuff I dream about, well, that is if I make it to REM sleep enough to dream. Our two have never slept. My sleep bank is depleted and I fear the poverty it is creating! Someone please help me! #EatSleepBlogRT

  9. Don’t await the mob! I sure hope the mob do not come! DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! This works for you and it is great 🙂 My daughter is only 7 months old, so we shall see how sleep goes down in this house. No sleeping through the night for us just yet! #EatSleepBlogRT

  10. You mustn’t feel guilty about offering your kids routine and structure – I wish it worked so well for us but it doesn’t with 2 out of the 3…. I hear you about reinforcing the behaviour I don’t want with twin 1 getting up between 5.30am and 6 but my hubby and I get up at 6 anyway and I want the other 2 to sleep in as late as poss to help their mood etc so I do swiftly get her up and stick Peppa on – I know bad Mummy (see i feel guilty about that – we can’t win!) xx #eatsleepblogRT

  11. I write this as I’m rocking little one in his crib, he is also a brilliant sleeper, usually 6-8pm to 6-10am and he has been like that since 2 or 3 months old. Last weekend he woke up at 11am and I almost forgot what that kind of lay in is like!
    I feel like I’m missing out on an aspect of the parent club as I don’t get sleepless nights or woken early and not allowed to sleep again. We use the same approach as you, we never stay quiet and dim lights for Ben, we also often eat out at night (not crazy late otherwise my appetite disappears) and he is used to the odd late night and it’s brilliant as it means we can do late night shopping and not worry he will be ratty!
    Yay for us sleeping! #EatSleepBlogRT

  12. My 3 were not the best sleepers but they weren’t the worst either. They went through stages of waking early but it didn’t last for ages. Every child is different and you can get differing sleep patterns within the same family. Just enjoy it! I love my sleep and now that mine are so much older (11, 15 and 18) I really appreciate it. They all laugh about the fact that they know not to wake Mum in the night unless it is a life or death situation and even then they should think twice – I have a lot of lost hours to catch up on!

  13. This is nothing to feel guilty about, it’s something to celebrate. My two have both been good sleepers from around 6 months. We had a few problems with the oldest when he hit about 4 and he’d get out of bed a lot and we’d struggle for around an hour, constantly taking him back, but that settled again after a year, now he’s 7 and sleeps 8pm till 7am (8:30pm on weekends) and the two year old sleeps 7pm till 7am. I know we’re lucky but I certainly don’t feel guilty about it x

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