Are you forever wrangling over bedtime with your active child? Or are you dealing with a primary schooler who can’t seem to get through her homework before midnight?

We know how it feels, and the consequences you dread when your child doesn’t sleep enough. Not only do you need to drag him out of bed in the morning, you have to deal with his crankiness and tiredness in the day. And what about that recent phone call you got from his form teacher about him dozing off in class?

You badly need your sleep too! Is it mission impossible to get your child in bed by 9pm and have at least nine hours of sleep before his school bus arrives at 6.20am in the morning?

Related: Sleep Well, Live Better

Let’s Get Organised

Very often, kids can’t make it to bed on time because of unfinished tasks – think homework and projects. Before you are tempted to draw up your kid’s to-do list or give him step-by-step instructions on how to get everything done on time, try this instead:

Get him a piece of paper and ask him to write it himself. Not only will he own it better, your efforts to train his time management skills will pay off in the long run.

If he needs help to estimate how much time is needed to complete each activity, ask him to make a guess. Then, buy him a timer to check and let that be his best homework companion (instead of you).

What if he can’t stay on course? Try dangling a carrot. Offer him a short break or his favourite snack after he’s ticked off a few items. A word of praise and a pat on the back can work wonders too.

Related: Smarter Studying

Work Backwards


If junior needs to be in bed by 9pm, the rest of the day needs to be organised accordingly – what time dinner needs to be served, homework completed and bags packed.

For home cooked meals to happen earlier, try freezing batches of soup stock or homemade pasta sauce in advance. You can simply reheat them and add in fresh ingredients for a healthy one-pot meal.

Or make mini speedy pizzas and simple sandwiches that can be thrown together in 20 minutes – even the kids can try their hand at making them!

Related: Look What I Brought for Recess!

Where Did the Time Go?


If getting organised and prepping your dinner early are still not helping junior meet his bedtime, it’s time for some detective work to hunt down all those wasted minutes!

Make this a family exercise and see how everyone spends their day. Perhaps junior is taking too long with lunch, or spending too much time watching TV. You may be surprised at how much time you are spending on Candy Crush or Instagram too.

Find the culprits that take time away and tackle them one by one. It definitely helps if daddy and mummy are leading by example!

Related: Help Your Child Untangle from the Web

Prioritise Sleep


Or maybe your child’s plate is simply too full. When your primary schooler has CCA that ends in the late afternoon, tuition lessons in the evening and homework to complete after that, sleep tends to take a backseat.

This means, you may need to make some tough decisions, such as rescheduling or easing up on enrichment classes or switching CCAs.

Scooting your kid to bed trumps stressing out over unfinished homework or assessment books late at night. After all, when junior gets more sleep, it’s easier to focus in class and remember his lessons.

But wait, what about unfinished homework? Well, it’s time for junior to learn the consequences of poor time management!

Related: Ready for School: How Parents Can Make A Difference

Hang in There!


Establishing a routine for sleep takes time and commitment. But it gets easier once it becomes a habit.

Bedtime may be less of a struggle with a nightly wind-down routine, be it reading stories together or going over what happened that day. It is relaxing for everyone and creates great bonding moments between you and junior.

And try to keep to a fixed time for waking up and lights out, even on weekends and during the school holidays. With a healthy routine going, it sets your child up for happy productive days and gets the body attuned to a predictable bedtime.

If you are working, long work hours or overtime may sometimes keep you from tucking the kids in yourself, but get them and other family members to stick to the same bedtime whether or not you are present. If they need a gentle reminder, simply give the kids a quick call to send your love (and goodnights).

And good night to you too! When you make the gradual switch to healthy hours and hit the sack early, there is a good chance that your positive habits will rub off on the kids in the long run.

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  1. Fortune. (2013, June 28). 6 time management tips for frazzled working parents..
    Retrieved October 11, 2017, from