The 8 PM Rule

I work during the week, which means I drop the little guy off at 7:30 AM and pick him up around 5 PM, give or take. I try to run any necessary errands as quickly as possible on my way to pick him up. When we get home, he usually eats and then takes a nap from about 6 PM to 8 PM. It varies slightly, but more often than not, the only time I really get with him during the week is between 8 PM and 11 PM, which means we squeeze so much into those 3 hours every evening that I’d rather not have any distractions. 

Sure, there are exceptions. There are exceptions to every rule. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we were, no doubt, out late. As a general rule, though, things quiet down around here by 8 PM. So, what exactly do we do during those 3 hours that’s so important to me? Here’s a list. 

1. Eat dinner – we started solids not too long ago, so this is always all kinds of exciting. Sure, most of the time whatever he’s eating ends up all over the place, but he loves it and so do I. 

2. Take a bath – this is obviously a necessity, at least every other night or so. Regardless of whether or not it’s a bath night, though, there are still things to do – trimming nails, cleaning ears, etc.  

3. Play – we spend some time on the floor together – meaning me down at his level playing with him. We usually play with balls or blocks or cars and trucks. 

4. Read – I found a reading program through our local library and we’re working our way through reading 1000 books before kindergarten. 

5. Clean up our toys – good habits start young, right? Besides, I’d really rather not trip over anything if he does end up getting up at some point throughout the night. 

After we’ve managed to accomplish all of that, it’s usually time for bed. Yes, I let my 8-month old stay up until 11 PM or so, but that’s another story entirely. Suffice it to say, if I let him go to bed any earlier, he doesn’t sleep through the night. 

As you can probably see, we manage to get a lot accomplished, but more important than any one thing that I listed is the fact that we’re together – it’s our time and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

Is there something that you do everything you can not to compromise on – something that you’re sure to some seems crazy, but it’s really important to you? Leave a comment and tell me about it!  

Written by: Cristi Wuenschel

58 Responses to “The 8 PM Rule”

  1. Craziness. My kids are 5, 7, and 11 and are all in bed before 8:00 when we don’t have any activities going on. My kids need their rest and are monsters the next day if they don’t get to bed early. Plus I need some quiet time alone with my husband.

  2. Really? And sleeps until what time?

  3. 6 to 6ish! Has slept through the night since 3 months old. And I’m not lying!

  4. Kendall McMahan-Kitchens Reply June 20, 2016 at 11:26 am

    There was a stretch during the first year that my son woke up at 2 and stayed up until 4. I decided to just go with it, and enjoyed the one on one playtime with him.

    He is 2.5 now and still nurses to sleep and sleeps in our bed. I do not go away overnight without him. Some people think I’m weird, but he won’t even sleep for my husband when I’m out of the house. He won’t need me in this way forever. I have plenty of time for girls’ weekend and such when he is older. It just isn’t worth everyone being sleep deprived and miserable.

  5. Everyone is diff. What works for one family does not work for the rest. Just because your baby goes down at 7, does not mean as it grows it will continue to do so. Schedules are great I have them as well, but with babies and growing kids it has to have a small measure of flexibility.