Sleep is always a hot topic among parents. Is my child getting enough sleep? Are they getting too much? (Just kidding, nobody thinks their child is getting too much sleep.)
And there are various sleep charts on the internet that seem to have been designed to ensure we all feel incompetent and exhausted. These charts – always compiled by some kind of "expert" who has never met my kids – always seem to have one foot planted deep in Fantasyland.
The latest chart, shared by Facebook page Creative Child Magazine, is no different.
The bedtimes begin at 7pm for a 2-year-old, and then go up incrementally by 15 minutes for each year of the child's age – hilariously ending at 11pm for an 18-year-old. Because all 18-year-olds will go to bed exactly when their parents tell them to. (Also, if this is accurate, I'm going to have to take my kids' word for it from around the age of 12 – I'm not staying up that late to tell them it's time to go to bed.)
My 12-year-old is often in bed before my 6-year-old, so despite my children all appearing to be well rested and happy, we're failing all over the shop and clearly I'm doing irreversible damage by not demanding my 12-year-old stays up for another hour.
Of course, comments have been mixed, with many claiming the chart is unrealistic.
"I think this chart is ridiculous," commented one. "11pm is not an appropriate bedtime for anyone at any age."
"This is just one more thing for parents to worry about," said another. "Whatever works for your family and child."
"7:30 isn't doable in many households when everyone doesn't get home from the day until 6:45" said one mum. "Do what's right for your family schedule and know that flexibility for all will help in the long run in life."
And so we reach the shocking conclusion that a one-size-fits-all chart that doesn't take into account individual circumstances or biological need for sleep is not really all that useful for actual children. Who knew?