(Suzanne Fitzgerald) #1

An interesting discussion went on last week in our house about whether there is a differing opinion to appropriate bedtimes between France and other countries. My little one (14m old) goes to bed between 7.30 & 8 most days although as the weather has been improving we're moving closer to 8.

When we visited Madrid we found the kids going out to restaurants at 11pm to have their evening meal which we found very bizarre, especially as it wasn't in school holidays.

However the subject came up when on a weeknight (not Tuesday so there was school the next day) an infant (school age) was making a lot of noise playing over the road whilst parents enjoyed an evening out at the local cafe - the eyebrow raising aspect of this for our guests was that the time was 11.30pm. Our guests were shocked - we shrugged and said for school holidays I guess it's ok or special occasions but it's not our choice as we like our evenings together (kids in bed!).

What are your thoughts?

(Bernadeta Hodkova) #2

Hi Tracy, I so much understand what you mean! but look, obviously heathy kids get their sleep in their own time and so do the French kids. (Each one has as well different needs even in one family,no matter the language setting) Yes, 3yrs old here goes to the cinema with mum and older sibling starting at 9 (not if it’s school of course), dinner is served at 9,(every day for everybody) I was also rolling my eyes at that. On the other hand the little ones themselves care only that that need the sleep, knowing nothing about the clock,or our ideas about them. (luckily). you could let them develop their own rhythm without stressing yourself about it, over the summer. It changes with the daylight and age, holidays,no panic. The safety net of grandmas are not at hand, but don’t hesitate to introduce a local teen babysitter, you’ll learn from each other. You might find your private time perhaps at different hours of the day. kids here are a part of the family life 100%. Take it easy, enjoy it. Fingers crossed xx.

(Tracy Thurling) #3

Well, it is something that concerns us but I just can’t let go of the idea that a healthy growing child needs their sleep. I am also quite attached to spending time alone with my husband and as we don’t have an array of family on hand to babysit, then we have to grab that time in the evening, after the kids are in bed.
We went away on holiday last week though and changed the schedule to fit in with the mini-club, which meant the kids napped from 2 till 3pm (the little one till 4pm) and then they stayed up till 9.30/10pm ish. The 3yr old would then sleep till 9.30am and the 5yr old till 8.45 - which shows they still need 11/12 hours a night plus nap time for the youngest. When they are at school, the only way then can achieve this is to be in bed at the civilised hour of 7.30pm so they can get up in the morning - how on earth do the french kids manage?
To be fair, we have ended up with the unequal system that sometimes the eldest is in bed half an hour before the youngest as she doesn’t have a nap in GS, whereas the youngest, in PS, seems to spend half the afternoon in bed.

(Bernadeta Hodkova) #4

When a French friend from school brought the first year my son back from a school party at 00.30 we realize that inevitably he is becoming French. I let go off the idea of putting them to bed at certain time and let them settle down in the local kids schedule. So after 5 yrs being here it is still me who goes to bed at ten, and our kids (now 7 and 14) sometime after that. Yes, they love to take the whole weekend mornings in the dream land. Happy and healthy, what more you would wish for?