My son knows a lot of things: He knows how to tell time (both analogue and digital), how our hemisphere is tilted closer to the sun in the summer, that he gets a break from school through most of June-August, and (of course) he knows how important sleep is.
He also knows that something is wrong.
"Why is it light outside if it is supposed to be my bedtime?" he asks me. "How do you expect me to sleep when it is still light outside?"
Now, he has already won a minor victory around bedtime as I've let him stay up an extra half-hour to read in bed. (It's an experiment, but so far it is going well.) And I could mention to him that he knows how important sleep is because his Mommy is slightly obsessed with sleep and talks about it way too frequently.
But, I figured I would answer the heart of his question with the truth. "Because a child's bedtime is set in a way that gives parents enough time to relax so that they can go to sleep at a reasonable hour."
He looks at me for a moment. "So, for you guys to go to bed, you need me to go to bed?"
"Pretty much. Otherwise Mommy and Daddy don't get to spend quiet time unwinding after a long day at work."
He seems to like this answer (at least for now). I still feel that a big portion of my daily life is dependent on the amount of sleep I get, but I do feel good about my decision to let my son know that there is more than one factor in play when it comes down to his bedtime.
Does your child's bedtime change during the summer months when it is still light outside? Tell me in the comments.