I’ve given up on bedtime routines – my two-year-old takes herself to bed at 11pm & she’ll skip nursery if she’s tired

A MUM has revealed how she abandoned bedtime routines, with her two-year-old taking herself to bed as late as 11pm.

Kayleigh Judge, 36, lives in Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland with her partner Aaron, 42, their daughter Rebl, two, and her two sons, Tyler, 16, Leigh, 14, from a previous marriage.

Kayleigh, who runs a restaurant and catering business with her husband, says that it was their demanding job that pushed them to abandon traditional bedtimes.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, she explains: “I don’t get to see Rebl throughout the day and so I treat the evenings as family time. 

“We have dinner, watch TV, we may have a bath but we aren’t strict on that only if we can be bothered.

“Then I let Rebl tell us when she’s ready for bed. 

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“My time with her is already so precious and I don’t want to impact that by torturing it with a sleep schedule.

“Sometimes she will stay up for hours with us, other times she will tug your arm to drag you to bed.”

In order to make bedtimes even easier, Kayleigh and Aaron made the decision to co-sleep with Rebl from the moment she was born.

Rebl doesn’t have her own room, with the couple putting a toddler sized bed at the foot of their own, but their daughter rarely sleeps in it.

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“She is very particular in that she likes us all to go to bed together, she is quite strong willed,” Kayleigh explains.

“If I don’t get back until 12am she will stay up and wait for me so we still get that time together.

“We did give her a bed but it never got used for anything other than her dolls so we just bought a super king one so we could all share.”

Kayleigh says that Rebl’s sleep routine varies from night to night – and she never worries about her napping in the day either.

“If we’re going to work and she’s staying home she can sleep in till whenever she wants,” Kayleigh says.

“We let her have free reign on naps whether that’s 5pm in the evening or 11am in the morning.”

Kayleigh says that she hasn’t always been so relaxed when it comes to bedtimes, admitting that she was a ‘slave to a routine’ with her two boys.

She says: “I have two teenage sons and when they were little bedtimes were a military operation. 

“I did the whole sleep training method and it caused both me and them so much stress – it was a nightmare.

“So when I had Rebl I decided there was no way I was going through that again or put myself or her under that pressure.

“So Rebl doesn’t have a bedtime.”

The mum claims that the controversial sleep technique has had no impact on her daughter whatsoever.

“I understand that some people need routine but I don’t think it makes children any better or worse,” she says.

“Rebl handles all of her activities just fine, she’s just as awake and lively as the next kid because she has been sleeping like this since birth.

“I decided it wasn’t going to buy into something that works for someone else but not for me.

“If I had opted for the routine that society thinks she should have I wouldn’t get any sleep and I certainly wouldn’t get any time with her.

If she was in nursery and was too tired to go I wouldn’t make her – she could stay off to catch up on her sleep

“Don’t get me wrong there are some mornings at 6am when she decides she’s awake but that’s few and far between.

“She just goes with the flow because there’s no pressure.”

The mum says that she has no plans to introduce her daughter to any routine until she gets to school, and won’t even implement a set bedtime before nursery.

“I don’t see any point,” she admits.

“When she does go to nursery, it will only be for a few hours and the excitement will keep her awake.

“If she was in nursery and was too tired to go I wouldn’t make her – she could stay off to catch up on her sleep.

“When she goes to school that would be when things really need to change and we would have to introduce a routine.”

Kayleigh says that the co-sleeping arrangement has not had any impact on her relationship with Aaron and they still have a healthy sex life. 

“My husband and I are very much on the same page when it comes to Rebl’s sleeping patterns,” she says.

“We do make time for ourselves as a couple too, we will arrange for someone to take care of her and go out for dinner just the two of us.

“When it comes to sex you just have to be creative. When she’s asleep you don’t have to stay in bed with her.

“I am a firm believer that you make time for the things that you want.”

There might not be any complaints from her husband but the couple are plagued with messages from strangers urging them to give Rebl a routine.

“I constantly get negative comments from people,” Kayleigh says.

“We forever get messages from ‘perfect parents’ on social media who can’t go anywhere because of their kids' bedtime telling us what we’re doing wrong.

“I will put pictures of her sleeping at 5pm and mums tell me it’s a ‘danger nap and she’ll never sleep tonight’ of course she will – but when she wants. 

“You can’t let these people pull you down to the norm, you’ve got to find your own normal. 

“If I followed the ‘normal’ structure I would never see her and I would never get any sleep.”

While some may be quick to criticise Kayleigh’s approach, she argues that it is everyone else making a rod for their own backs by having a strict sleep schedule.

“I see parents online whose lives revolve around their children’s sleep schedule and they can’t go to events because the kids need to be in bed,” she says.

“They can’t go out, they can’t enjoy anything whereas Rebl comes everywhere with us.

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“If we go out for dinner, she comes with us and she’s more than happy because she’s used to sleeping when she wants and waking when she wants so she’s not overtired.

“Without being rude to anyone, I’ve been there, done it and I know what works and perhaps they should take a leaf out of our books.”

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