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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quick Takes: Quirky Birthday Tradition

My grandson's birthday is in two days and he is already looking forward to a favorite family tradition. Cake and ice cream? No. Friends for a party? No. His favorite tradition is birthday bedtime. When I had little money and many children I had to get creative with treats. One of my most successful ideas was that one your birthday you have NO mandatory bedtime. That's right. None. You can stay up as late as you choose. The rule doesn't change even if it is a school night!** Radical? Yes. But sometimes what makes something special is how radically unusual it is.

Has anyone ever stayed up all night? Not yet. I've had many children do this for many years and no one has made it terribly late. The following is based only on my children over the last few decades:  Most preschoolers don't make it past eight.  Most children elementary age don't make it past 9 before their eyes give up and close. Middle-schoolers occasionally make it to 11. My high schoolers sometimes made it until midnight or a bit later, but usually got bored and went to bed or fell asleep in front of the television despite their best efforts. 

**I do warn teachers ahead of time, reminding them that one night out of a whole school year is not going to make or break the child's education.

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