Dear Lulu: Help! Bedtime has become a nightmare

Our agony aunt, Lulu, tackles the subject of bedtime in her answer to this week's reader letter.
It’s not just a question of getting your children to their bedrooms on time, says Lulu, but also simplifying your schedule beforehand…
Dear Lulu,

I have three daughters and the youngest has just started school. I’m finding bedtime a nightmare.

They are exhausted after all their clubs and activities that take place after school not to mention school itself but we seem to have a witching hour from 7.30pm to 8.30pm where there is shouting and crying and by 9am still no one is asleep.

I feel truly terrible about this as my youngest is a June birthday so she really needs her sleep to cope with the demands of reception.

I want the youngest in bed around 7 and the older two, twins aged six, in bed around 8, but can’t seem to achieve this.

My husband arrives home from work around 8:30pm to this chaos and it is affecting our relationship too.

Please help, 

VN, Fulham



Dear VN,

You must be exhausted!

First off, is there any way you can reduce or cancel the after school clubs and activities your children are taking part in? It sounds as if it there might be too much going on for too long after a busy day at school? (Don’t worry if you’re not following the crowd. Do what’s best for you and your family now.)

Everyone needs downtime at home at the end of the day, with time to eat and play and generally wind down. Your children are still very young and there will be plenty of time when they are a bit older and more robust for the busyness of clubs and after-school activities.

Getting home with more time will also simplify your life and make everything more manageable.

My other suggestion would be to try and get everyone into bed earlier, almost an hour earlier than the times you mentioned.

Now that the nights are drawing in it would be easy for you to close the curtains and start winding everyone down at about 6 by starting the bath time and bedtime ritual then.

Your little one could then be in bed at 6.30 and the twins in bed by 7, leaving time for them to have a story or to look at a book and play with their teddies before lights out at 7.15.

Getting a good nights sleep is, as we know crucial to all of our happiness and well-being. It’s especially important for little ones who are developing and growing as they snooze.

By the time your husband gets home, everyone would then be tucked up in bed looking angelic and you might even manage to grab a moment to yourself!

Good luck!


Lulu x

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