I seem to have more and more conversations with people about what time my kids go to sleep lately. People are usually shocked to find out that my 6 and 5 year olds go to bed between 7 and 7:30 even in the summer. When I say they go to bed at that time that is after the whole bedtime rountine... that is lights out time.
As a teacher over the years I so often found children in my classes who were over tired. I'd ask them what time they went to sleep and I'd hear 9pm, 10pm, whenever I fall asleep. I always believed there was a strong link between being overtired and the ability to function in school. Not just academically, but also socially. The children who went to bed before 8pm were more alert, more tolerant of peer behavior and more accepting of changes.
Think about yourself as an adult. When do you function best, for me it is when I get a good night sleep and wake up well rested. As adults we don't get this as often as we'd like, and often wish we could sleep more, so why not provide that feeling for your child?
My sons are very active, intelligent boys. But trust me they are very much boys. Both the boys gave up napping at a very young age, so they had to have an early bedtime. I recognized that they would get tired and therefor get grumpy, so how do you solve that... put them to bed so they can get a large chunk of sleep.
When you look at the amount of sleep children need, as seen here on WebMd, my sons need 10-12 hours of sleep, even if you put Blake in the next catagory of 7-12 year olds he still needs 10-11 hours. If he needs to get up at 7:15 to get ready for school then he can't be going to sleep at 9pm and getting the sleep he needs.
I know a lot of parents do not agree with this theory of mine. I'd rather put them to bed and fight this then deal with grumpy misbehaving children the next day. And there is now more research out there that agrees with this. They are finding that there maybe a link between sleep deprivation and people diagnosed with ADHD. (Diagnosing the Wrong Disorder) Focusing, functioning, remembering details, being able to attend to task... these are the signs of both sleep issues and ADHD.
For me, I'd rather put my boys to bed early and know they get a good night sleep then have these issues... what about you?