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Helpful or Hilarious? A Teacher's Bedtime Suggestions for Kids Goes Viral

The Short of It

Not sure when your kid should go to bed now that school's in session and wake-up times are earlier? Well, a Wilson Elementary School teacher from Wisconsin— posted a chart of suggested sleep times for kids on the school's Facebook page with the heading "helpful information!" And it kinda is—but while some people are praising it, others think it's nuts, and both camps are sharing their sentiments. The post has gone viral on Facebook with more than 8,000 comments and 386,267 shares. Experts and parents have all chimed in, calling the guide to sleep everything from "unrealistic" to "a great resource." The main issue is that some of these bedtimes conflict with working parents' schedules, not to mention after school activities, homework, and, yum, dinnertime. 

The Lowdown

When it comes to bedtime battles, we've all been there: For some of us, making sure our kids get enough shut-eye is easy-peezy, and for others there are endless requests for water and one more story ... and potty breaks. While this chart is a little too black and white, it does bring up some excellent points. "It really does show you how hard it is to get enough time for your kids to sleep!" Kelly Glazer Baron, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine says.

Still, Baron suggests the chart isn't exactly realistic, because it may not work for your particular kid or family. Additionally, she makes the point that all kids don't require the same amount of sleep. Facebook commenters have chimed in with their own opinions, of course. In the 'this-chart-is-ridiculous camp: "When do they have time to play or spend time with family?" and "Yaaaaaa RIGHT!!" And in the this-chart-is-right-on camp: "No way in the world we would put our 8-year -olds to bed at 9PM on a school night - that's ridiculous!" and "My children have set their own bedtimes and wake up times to exactly what the chart says for their age and we don't stress or fuss about bedtime as long as they are in their beds before 8PM."

Many seemed to already be following the suggested schedule. And adding an expert POV to the mix is pediatric sleep expert Dr. Jodi Mindell, who says that multiple studies show that children who go to bed before 9:00 PM get "much more" sleep than those who go to bed later than 9:00 PM. (In fact there really are benefits to snoozing before 9 PM) Bottom line: Figure out what works best for your kiddo. 

The Upshot

As a parent of a second-grader who went (yes) back-to-school today, I run a pretty tight ship in the evening. My son does his homework and studies before 5 PM usually at the school's after-care program. We eat at 6 PM,  walk our dog, and then he showers, has a snack, and watches TV or plays on the iPad until 8 PM. Then it's in bed for quiet reading time or with me at his side — and lights out by 8:30 PM. This works for me — and honestly for my child, who is sleepy by then. Of course we divert from the schedule for sports practices, random play-time or dinners out, but for the most part, I know my child operates best with structure. So while the chart has opened the floor for discussion, which is great, remember you're the parent and ... you really do know best. 

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