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For teens, in this case a rising Junior in High School, is it appropriate to set a bedtime for him of 10PM? How does this compare with the majority of teens?

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Middle school aged children should have a bedtime, imo. We also had a lights-out policy for weekdnights in HS, to give kids the chance to do their work when it was supposed to be done (i.e. procrastination had some consequences) and because sleep deprived kids don't do as well in HS. –  anongoodnurse Aug 9 at 19:54
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Please could you add the actual age in years rather than some weird reference to "high school". –  DanBeale Aug 10 at 12:54
    
Junior in high school usually means somewhere between 15 and 18. (16 or 17 mostly). –  Bobo Aug 11 at 23:26

3 Answers 3

High school is a much better time to learn "how to go to bed on time" and "how much sleep you need" than your first year of college, university, or work. Therefore I recommend letting the teen work out when they want to go to sleep and get up. They will get this wrong a few times, and go to school groggy and exhausted, or miss a day of school, or not finish something that they wanted to finish. You can't and shouldn't protect them from these consequences.

What you can do is suggest a time for them to go to bed, 10 or 11 depending on when school starts and how they get there (the high school bus arrived at our driveway shortly before 7am, meaning a 6am wakeup to have time for shower, breakfast, packing a backpack etc.) Maybe even 9 if they are not getting enough sleep otherwise. When they stay up past it you can remind them what time it is. More importantly, in the morning, when they're feeling the consequences (they're tired, or rushed, or whatever) you can connect it to their choices the night before. And next time they're doing something late into the evening you can remind them about "last week when you played past midnight and felt so awful the next day."

The thing is, some things are way more important to teens than we know. Sure, homework is important, but band practice, gaming, and socializing are important too. Letting them set their priorities now gives them a chance for small failures with minor consequences. Making these choices for them throughout high school will mean the consequences are a lot larger once they start doing it themselves.

That said, you should not be kept awake by TV, video games, or music, and you shouldn't be leaving a 15 or 16 year old to talk to strangers on the internet all night. There is nothing wrong with mandated quiet time starting at 9pm, or an internet-off time of midnight. Just don't tell the teen when they have to sleep, or they won't get a chance to work out the learning process themselves.

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Agreed! I think you hinted at this but didn't say it explicitly - this will only work if you do insist that they not miss their commitments the next day. So, if they stay up until 2 on a school night and then are tired the next day, they still need to go to school. If they do miss school, you should not call them in sick or give them an excuse. If you do, it takes away the learning opportunity. –  michelle Aug 11 at 18:44

My kids had a 10:00 pm bedtime through middle school on school nights. It worked well. In high school, there's no way we could stick to a fixed bedtime because the workload is too great and varies night to night.

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At 16-17 I had no bedtime so long as I was home before legal curfew(where I lived curfew was 12 PM for anyone under 18 unless work related), went to school, passed my classes, and did my chores. This seemed to be pretty common because everyone I knew had the same rules. I think it works pretty good and is a more of a "real life" approach than having bed times. If they follow the laws and complete their obligations they get to choose their own schedule.

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