Letting the Kids Stay up Late for Special Events
Most parents are like me. If there’s some mitigating, exciting circumstance, we let out kids stay up late to experience it. Last night, for instance, we had a total lunar eclipse that I let the boys stay up to watch. It happens that this eclipse occurred on the winter solstice, which hasn’t happened in 372 years, and it won’t happen again until 2094. A total lunar eclipse is not a super rare occurrence; they happen about twice a year, but it is rare to actually see one. In fact, this is the first time I have; during all my other opportunities there were clouds or I was in the wrong place or I fell asleep; it’s always something. Thus, at least for, me this one was a big deal. I was determined to actually see an eclipse. It was nice that we got to experience it as a family, on a cloudless night. As a bonus we even saw some meteors.
Have you tried it? You should because it’s a great bonding experience. We don’t have a telescope or anything fancy, but I do have a handy constellation chart and a car. When we lived in Texas Mely and I used to drive out to the middle of nowhere, where there was little ambient city light, and we’d just sit and watch the sky on the hood of the car. The boys were too young then to get much out of the experience, but Mely and I have been doing it since we got married 14 years ago. Now that we live in Boulder CO, and the boys are intellectually interactive, stargazing has become something of a family event. We can either step out on our back porch to see most major constellation or, if we want the full experience, we drive 10 minutes up the mountains and step outside to see the sky in its completely brilliant, nighttime form. I would encourage any family who hasn’t taken the time to look at the sky to do it together. It’s amazing how much communication takes place with so few words. Somebody says, “Wow, that’s amazing!”
“I know, look at that cluster!”
What Are Some Events that You’ve Let Your Kids Stay up Past Bedtime to Watch or Experience?
I can’t think of many that warrant it. Actually, I can only think of New Years Eve as a reason to stay up super late. Our family is a bit different though because we are routinely awake past midnight. Late for us would mean past 1 o’clock. There just aren’t enough things going on past 1:00AM to make a list. However, I know my sister’s kids have early bed times. When we were on vacation with them they got to stay up a few times to watch movies with my boys or play video games because they don’t see each other very often and it was a special circumstance. Anyway, I’m just curious about what are some typical things your kids get to stay up late to see?