My daughter started Primary school in mid September, and after a longish summer period of relaxed bedtimes we have gone back to our former bedtime schedules and routines.

While at Pre-school, she would be in bed at 20.00 (8:00 pm), and fall asleep by 20.30 (8:30 pm). However now at Primary school this has changed slightly so as to be ready for bed at 20.30 (8:30 pm) and falling asleep by 21.00 (9:00 pm).

I have heard that some children go to sleep as late as 21.30 (9:30 pm), while others go to bed as early as 19.00 (7:00 pm). Am I wrong to consider 21.30pm as being late? What is an appropriate bedtime for 6 year olds in your experience?

Additional information: The school service bus collects her at 07.40 am in the morning so her wake up time is around 7.00 am. School starts at 08.30 am and school finishes at 15.30 (3:30 pm) and the service bus drops her home 40-50 mins later with school finishing an hour earlier at 14.30 (2:30 pm) on Wednesdays.

Note: I would appreciate hearing from parents whose children are currently in Primary school, around the 6 year range or from those whose children have been to Primary school and who can recall that first year.

asked 21 Oct '10, 06:48

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 23 Oct '10, 05:35

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image


Our daughter isn't in primary school yet. But I recall that my bedtime was 8:00 (20:00) until I was about 9 or 10 years old.

I also have friends whose children are around your daughter's age and their children go to bed between 7:00 (19:00) and 7:30 (19:30).

I also found this article that provides a lot of information.

According to The Zurich longitudinal study (Iglowstein et al 2003) that they refer to a 6 year old needs an average of 11 hours of sleep in a 24 hour perior. However, they state that difference adults and children typically require different amounts of sleep.

That being said I have also recently been to a few presentations where researchers were showing that at least in North America parents often underestimate the amount of sleep their children need and most children do not get enough sleep.


answered 21 Oct '10, 11:38

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 19 Jan '11, 16:55

+1 Thanks for the link Tammy, it answers many of the questions were in my mind.

(22 Oct '10, 06:17) Emi

My daughter is 5 and in Kindergarten. She wakes up at 7 am and her dad takes her to school at 7:45 - 7:50 am. The school day runs from 8:15 am - 3:25 pm (except on Wednesday when they dismiss at 2:10 pm). Her bed time on a school night is at 8 pm. We sometimes let it slip back to 8:30 or 9 pm on the weekends if there is something special going on and she doesn't have to be up early in the morning. But otherwise, we try to have her in bed by 8.


answered 23 Oct '10, 05:32

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When my older boys were that age, and until about 4th and 5th grade, bedtime was 8. What that actually meant, was they went upstairs and got ready for bed, someone went with them and read their story and talked for awhile. At about 8:30 we turned on a story on tape and shut out the lights and they were almost always asleep long before 9. When Riley (my oldest) wasn't lying down wherever he was at 8:30 and going to sleep, it all moved back by an hour.

Ri was one of those kids who needed to sleep when he needed to, and needed to go to bed at the same time everyday so bedtime was always really dependant on his needs, because, well, he'd vomit if he was overtired after he'd fallen asleep (sometimes without waking up) and that scared the heck out of me. So I was always really strict about bedtime and they went to bed at 8 during holidays too. (Exceptions; Christmas Eve, New Years and Canada Day to see the fireworks.)

I also needed them to be in bed so that I could have a few hours to myself before my bedtime.

(and yeah, 9:30 seems awfully late for a 6 year old to me too.)


answered 27 Oct '10, 17:15

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

It does vary from child to child, e.g. my older two are very different. If she seems bright and alert in the morning and she's not lying awake for hours you've probably got it about right.

My experience:

My middle child has just turned 7 and we put her to bed between about 7.15 and 8.00 usually. It varies because if she seems tired and we can manage to get her ready earlier then we put her to bed earlier (of course when she's tired she's often unco-operative and then it's difficult to get her ready for bed), and some nights she's having too much fun to get ready for bed. On a school day her alarm goes off at 7.15am, she tends to snuggle up with me and her little brother while he has his morning feed for ten minutes, but then gets up and is fairly bright most mornings.

My eldest (about to turn 9) is very much an evening person, so we let her stay up later, although we only started that about a year ago when we realised that she wasn't actually going to sleep until quite a lot later than we put her in bed and there was a vicious cycle of her not being tired enough to go to sleep then getting in a state about not going to sleep and ending up going to sleep really late and being foul in the morning. So now she goes to bed a little later - lights out at 8.45 - 9pm, and she usually goes to sleep fairly quickly and is reasonably refreshed in the morning. We let her get up later in the morning (alarm goes off 7.45, usually takes 5-10 minutes to actually start to get up), as now she's not so tired in the morning she gets ready for school fairly quickly, but we don't expect her to do anything other than dress, eat breakfast and brush her teeth and hair before school.

You can see that they both have around 11 hours sleep, in theory, but they need it at slightly different times

The younger one does piano practice in the morning, the elder does it in the evening. The younger sometimes has time to play in the morning before school, the elder gets her pet mice out in the evening to play with (and watches science programmes on the TV).

My point is that each child is different and you might experiment with different bed times until you find what makes your child awake for school. There is a lot of research pointing to a general shortage of sleep for children (as Tammy mentioned), so if in doubt try getting her to bed earlier and see how well that works. But you can put them to bed, but you can't make them sleep, so too early and it might be counter-productive.


answered 21 Jan '11, 19:47

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%


+1 Thanks Meg for such a great answer. It's made me look at the sleep issue in a whole new light!

(21 Jan '11, 22:00) Emi
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Asked: 21 Oct '10, 06:48

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Last updated: 21 Jan '11, 19:47