Is It Okay to Stay Out Past Your Toddler’s Bedtime for Holidays or Special Occasions?

This question was submitted to our community via our Facebook page and/or our Answers forum. Responses are also taken from the community. If you have your own parenting or relationship question you would like answers to, submit on Facebook or Answers.

QUESTION: Is It Okay to Stay Out Past Your Toddler’s Bedtime?

“My question to you ladies is this… do you stay places past your toddler bed time for special occasions like Christmas dinner/ Christmas get together?

My son is 2.5 and gets up around 5:30-6 am. He doesn’t nap during the day, and I put him down at 8 pm. Tonight my husband says, ‘we’re not leaving Christmas dinner at my brothers early, just so you know.’ Going on to say how he feels like we always leave early and ‘4 hours isn’t long enough for me because I like to be around people and socialize.’

For me, seeing as how we’re getting there at 4, I don’t see why it would be a big deal to leave around his bedtime. I told him maybe he should try to put his child before his own wants. Our son will be exhausted by about 7, but he doesn’t care because he wants to socialize? It sounded selfish to me because once you have kids, it’s not always about you and your wants.

I want to add that our son has autism, and I think 4 hours of a social gathering would be enough for him as it is. Am I overthinking? Is he right, about making an exception because ‘it’s Christmas’?

RELATED: How to Know if Your Baby is Going to Bed Too Late

Is It Okay to Stay Out Past Your Toddler's Bedtime for Holidays or Special Occasions?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“There is nowhere for your son to sleep where you are going? Take his jammies and make it an adventure. 1 day past his bedtime isn’t going to throw off his sleep pattern. Pick your battles.”

“You know your child and how he will react. If you child can’t handle being up past a certain time, why put yourself through that hell at someone else’s house? Maybe drive separate or tell your husband to find a ride home.”

“Regularly, I try and get my kids home for their bedtimes. However I have always made exceptions for special occasions, holidays, etc. and stayed out later.Maybe not popular opinion but my life doesn’t stop just because I have kids.”

“I think instead of starting a fight you can just see how the night goes with your child? Also why dont you drive a separate car assuming you have 2 or he could take you home if child isn’t doing well and he can go back. Sounds like dad really wants to be with his family and have fun. His needs ALSO matter. Easy solution take 2 cars if you don’t want to stay as late?”

“I know someone who has autism and sometimes when a routine is broken it can be worse. So your S.O should really put his child’s needs first.”

“Really. It’s Christmas. Relax a little. A later night is not gonna damage the child.”

“Autism is the difference maker. All kids thrive off of routine, and structure but for children with ASD structure is vital to health and happiness. Take two vehicles, but also have a conversation with your husband about how/ why your child’s schedule is so very important to their well-being. Also with our family we usually show up early before everyone else does so that we can leave earlier too!!”

“Take two cars. I started doing that years ago! After a few hours I’m ready to go home and my husband liked to spend ALL DAY with family. So I just started driving my car so I could spend my holiday how I wanted…not miserable after a few hours… full and sleepy… I gotta go home lol!”

“I’m sure there’s a quiet bedroom you could put your son down in to sleep while you continue to socialize. I’ve done this countless times. I arrange ahead of time for the child to be able to lay down if they get tired or fall asleep. Might be something to consider. Or take separate cars. You and your child can leave early, then your husband can leave when he’s done. Family is important so I can see his want to stay and socialize on occasions such as Christmas.”

“Drink some wine and play it by ear. He will probably have a blast staying up late and playing with everyone. I just bring my kids pjs and they pass out in the car. Make the holidays special don’t leave early because it’s bedtime it’s a holiday.”

“I think keeping your child on a set schedule makes them more upset when there is a variation in their schedule. I think family time should be more important than a set bedtime.”

Have a parenting, relationship, or other family-related question? Submit it on Facebook or Answers!


About Mamas Uncut

Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.