I know I tend to be a pushover when it comes to my daughter’s bedtime. After working all day and then running to an evening practice game or religious school pickup. I am happy to steal a few extra minutes with my daughter. But something got me thinking exactly what time I am calling for the light out.
Melinda Wenner Moyer in her book “ In Defense of Absurdly Early Bedtimes”, emphasis the need to adhere to the 7 p.m and 7:30 p.m bedtimes for her almost 2 year and 5 year old respectively. She keeps her family routine year round, regardless of the parties they are missing or the events she has to leave early she writes;
That’s because my children are happier and more fun to be around when I stick with a consistent and early bedtime. And ever since I’ve started looking at the science, I’ve become only more convinced the earlier you say goodnight the better. Research has shown that putting kids early is beneficial for their physical, emotional and cognitive development.
Not only do kids tend to sleep longer when the lights go out sooner, but they also may get a greater proportion of restorative sleep, too. Early kid bedtimes are also great for parental sanity. Sipping a late night coffee in silence? Snuggling up with your spouse to watch a grown up movie for once? It’s really lovely”
While Moyer admits that her early bedtimes might not work for everyone, the research and experts seem to agree that’s it’s the way to go. While I’ve been living under the impression that it is the total number of hours a child sleeps that matter, Dr, Marc Weissbluth, the popular pediatrician and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, suggests otherwise saying “when a child sleeps is probably as important or maybe more important as how much”
So is it time to give your kids an earlier bedtime? It might be. In the article, Dr Weissbluth says parents should observe their toddler behavior between hours 4 p.m and 6 p.m or between 5p.m and 7p.m if their child is order. If they are grumpy, irritable or lethargic, they may need an earlier bedtime.
He suggests trying to put your child to bed 20 minutes earlier for a few nights in a row. “If he/she falls asleep easily, then chances are that he or she should be going to be earlier.”
I’m still not sure if an earlier bedtime will work in my home, but I’m willing to give it a try. This is because those extra few minutes are nice, they‘re often filled with angst behavior that just make me wish we had put them to be bed earlier.
Remember studies have shown that kids that have a consistent pattern of sleep have better scores and perform better than those with irregular sleeping patterns. Maybe this may just convince you that your child needs more sleep!