Tuesday, 13 January 2015

I'm not tired!

I don't want to go to bed!

Children need sleep. How do I know this? Well I can do some research and find out that children need down time, they need to rewire their brain and they need sleep for their bodies to grow.

On The Valley Sleep Center website where it tells you that
"The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. The damaging effects of sleep deprivation are evident everywhere you look.  For children the stakes are even higher, the consequences more dire and farther reaching." It then goes on to list 10 reasons that children need sleep:
1.      It Gives Their Body a Break
2.      It Lets Their Brain De-clutter
3.      It Helps Regulate Emotions
4.      It Helps Them Grow
5.      It Builds Up Their Resistance
6.      It Protects Their Mental Health
7.      It Helps Them Make and Keep Friends
8.      It Helps Them Stay Healthy
9.      It Lets Them Learn
10.    It Gives Them Energy
For more information on this list click here

On an Australian parenting website it reminds us that:
"Toddlers need 10-12 hours sleep a night. Most of them can do with an hour or two in the middle of the day as well." Along with lots of info about bedtime routines.

On the WebMD website about children's health it explains about good sound sleep for your child. How "sleep ensures he or she will have a sound foundation for proper mind and body development".

“Children's Book And Character Shows Reading For Kids” by Stuart Miles
Reading to and with Chldren can be a useful way to get them to bed.

However being a parent means that I have a much simpler way of telling that children need to go to sleep. This is because not only do they get tired and grumpy without it, so do I.

Setting a bedtime routine is really important. I have tried to be strict enough that they follow the rules, with enough flexibility to allow for holidays and nights out. This is really difficult. One of the rules of thumb I have always followed is to figure out if it is best for the child or for me. Having a regular, and decent hour, bedtime is a rule that is best for all members of the household.

One of the first things I learned about getting children who can talk, into bed either in the day or at night is don't argue over bedtime. That is just a formula that ends in tears for all involved. I remember the first time my oldest decided that he no longer needed a day sleep.
"Why do I have to go to sleep?" he asked. My answer was "because you are tired". Of course the response was "no I'm not". Then I tried to reason with "you must be, we just spent the last 2 hours running around the park, playing on swings, climbing up equipment and having races", to which the yawned response was "nope". End of discussion as far as he was concerned. Great so what now? Well I did let him stay up and what happened? You guessed it, he collapsed in a heap on the floor in the middle of playing with his toys right before I served dinner.

Did I consciously allow that to happen again? Not on your life. Naturally there where times when it did happen, however each time I knew what I was in for. From then on I used to insist on at least a time of laying down, with many of these ending up in sleep. Yay!

As children get older. They start to struggle against bedtime. Part of it is pushing the boundaries. As they age bedtime gets pushed to be later and later in the night. The most difficult thing to do is to keep to the bedtime that you have set. Being strict about bedtime is hard! Sometimes you end up moving your whole routine around so that you can get them into bed at the right time.
“Boy Lying And Rubbing His Eyes” by Ambro
I'm not tired!

There is some great info on the Empowering Parents website. Information for parents of both young and older children. On this site it says: "As every parent knows, fights over bedtime can be one of the biggest power struggles you’ll have with your child, whether they’re five or fifteen. 
The truth is, many kids just don’t want to go to bed at night. For most of them, I think it’s because they’re afraid they’re going to miss something." Yes, yes and yes.
Realize that the problem-solving skills of younger kids are less evolved; they often have problems with impulsivity and frustration control. 
If going to bed is frustrating for them, it’s likely that their behavior is going to escalate into an unpleasant situation." Yep!
And this - "FOR OLDER KIDS
Take the Electronics out of the Bedroom 
Check in on Your Kids before Lights out". A big tick on that one.

I love my boys and will do everything I can to give them a happy life. But when it comes to going to bed you better believe that it's one of the rules I really try not to break.

Every household is different and every child is different. If you find that you or your kids are struggling with anything here in Australia there is always Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Parentline - click here for the different phone numbers for each state.


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