Say it’s a school night, or you have work tomorrow; and they won’t go to sleep; what do you do to make sure everyone gets a good nights sleep?

This includes:

  • old people
  • little kids (2 through 5)
  • teenagers
  • 30 year olds

closed as too broad by anongoodnurse Sep 2 at 18:45

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    So many of us have been there like you, and understand your fatigue/frustration. But this question is very vague and broad. It should also probably be broken down into more questions, addressing single issues at a time: What's going on with the elders? How do the 30 year olds cope? What is their relationship like? Why do the children not obey? What have you tried? What about te teens? What are your expectations? How do you define a good night's sleep? (A teenager will define it very differently.) I hope you see the problem(s) with your question. Please edit, and we'll try to help. Thanks! – anongoodnurse Sep 2 at 21:48
  • I'd probably drink wine. – Ian MacDonald Sep 3 at 13:48

Major edit to address the actual question

What do you do when it is a Sunday and one wishes to go to sleep, and can’t convince their partner and/or mother in law that the children need to go to sleep?

You need to sit down with your partner and discuss this.

You seem to be living in a situation where your parenting views get marginalized by adults who are both involved in caring for the children. This probably isn't just a problem about bedtime, and most likely won't fix itself.

I would start by having a good long talk with your partner when your mother in law is not present. IMO, unless she's constantly helping with raising your children while you're mostly an absentee parent, your mother in law should NOT get the same weight in deciding how you and your partner want to parent your kids. OTOH, your partner should. So talk with your partner first. Once you and your partner are in agreement, make sure to inform your mother in law (possibly via your partner) about your decisions.

The talk you have with your partner should focus on how your family decides on the rules that are in effect. Ideally, the decision process when the kids are little would be that their parents make the rules, and they both support each other in enforcing them. If one of you makes a rule that doesn't make sense to the other, you discuss it in private and compromise, and then support that compromise. Also, secondary care givers (the mother in law) should support the rules, even if they weren't part of the decision-making process.

Making sure everyone, including you, can get enough rest to deal with the next day is a valid concern and shouldn't get ignored, so once you're in agreement about how decisions are reached, bring that up, and then reach a compromise that works for you (but note that in families with babies and toddlers, often it's just not possible to get everyone enough rest, especially if they're teething, need to be fed during the night, or won't sleep through the night for other reasons).

Maybe the compromise will be something like "I need to go to bed early today so I can't help putting the kids to bed, but I'll wear earplugs so we don't have to put them to bed before they're tired enough to fall asleep". I don't know the context in which you're asking; maybe you're away for ten months a year and your partner and mother in law take care of the kids in the meantime, and you want to go to sleep at 5 p.m. - or maybe your kids scream at 2 a.m. while your partner and mother in law are busy dancing to hard rock in the kitchen. So it's impossible to give you more specific advice; depending on the actual context, it could be completely off. What seems obvious to me, however, is that the most effective strategy is to admit to yourself that you're not happy with the way decisions get made in your home and address this with your partner.

Original answer:

I think it depends very much on the age of the people involved:

  • Adults go to bed whenever they want. They're adults and it's not your responsibility, nor your place, to suggest they change their bedtime. But you can request that adults are quiet so that the rest of the family can sleep. If someone wants to play video games or watch TV late into the night, this can easily be solved with headphones. Discussions, phone conversations etc should probably be taken somewhere else, especially if they're a frequent disturbance.

  • Teenagers should be given a lot of freedom with bedtime IMO, but my opinion is most likely a minority position. I grew up in a home where the deal was that I had to get up for school the next morning without making a fuzz and bring home good grades, and as long as I didn't slack off, my bedtime was my personal decision from the age of fourteen or maybe fifteen onwards. This taught me fairly quickly how long I could stay up without being dead tired the next morning, and probably worked better for me than an enforced bedtime. Again, being liberal with bedtimes obviously assumes that the teenager is quiet when he stays up longer than the rest of the family. The majority position on teenagers is probably that they need about 9 hours of sleep (see https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/specialties/sleep-disorder-center/sleep-in-adolescents) and should therefore be sent to bed earlier than they like (if you don't, then they get less than the 9 hours - the cited source says they get about 7 hours of sleep on average). I imagine that generates a lot of friction that might be avoided if you trust your teenager to handle his/her own bedtime. I'd suggest that using social media/internet surfing is banned from, say, 9:30 P.M., because the pull of the internet is hard to resist for many teens. You could enforce this by requiring phones, tablets etc to be put away for the night, or by turning off your home's internet connection for the night.

  • Little kids (preschoolers) need even more sleep than teenagers, and are young enough so that you can simply send them to bed. It helps if you have a bedtime ritual; we always had some quiet time before going to sleep in the form of a bedtime story we told them while they were already lying in their beds. Don't make too many exceptions from the "standard" bedtime so that a pattern can establish itself. If your kids aren't sleepy when you send them to bed, see if you can maybe change their daytime activities to include more physical exertion (playing outside, running around with other kids comes to mind).

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    @leeand00 It helps to ask the proper question... if it is your house snd your kids then enforce your rules. – Solar Mike Sep 2 at 10:33
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    @leeand00 then expect answers that come from many places when you post here... – Solar Mike Sep 2 at 10:37
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    @leeand00: I suggest you add your first comment as an edit to your question so other people can answer your actual question. I'll edit my answer a bit to address your actual question. – Pascal Sep 2 at 14:06
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    @Pascal - As usual, a very fine answer, but the OP was a 'bit' broad and vague as well. The OP should definitely edit, but it will break your answer. – anongoodnurse Sep 2 at 18:49
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    It's already broken, it's basically two answers in one ;-) If the question gets reopened after OP does the required edit, I'll remove the parts of my answer that don't fit any more (or remove it entirely if the whole thing becomes off topic) – Pascal Sep 4 at 0:44

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