Every parent has struggled to get their child to sleep. From the bleary days of round the clock care right after birth to the struggle of wills with a toddler to the endless dawdling of a school age kid who needs just one more glass of water, sleep is an issue.
The good news for tired parents: there is a magic bullet that solves most of these problems. It’s called “bedtime”.
Putting your child to bed at a regular time each night not only leads to better sleep for everyone, it helps your child’s development, too.
Kids with regular bedtimes score higher on literacy, math and other cognitive skills. Preschoolers should get a minimum of 11 hours of sleep a night, says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
So, great. Putting your kids to bed reliably at the same time every night will help ensure better sleep, better behavior and better test scores.
But who amongst us can really pull that off? Real life gets in the way of a regular bedtime with everything from errands to backyard BBQs. We are extreme dictators of the bedtime law around here, and we still find ourselves moving it back in favor of movie night, birthday parties and doctor’s appointments more often than I care to admit to.
I try to stick to a routine with the kids: bath, books and bed. If the time moves around a little, I don’t sweat it too hard. Good enough is good enough, in our house. Maybe those late nights are costing my little girls some points on future achievement tests, but I think they’re worth the happy memories.
What about you? Is bedtime set in stone at your house, or does it move around based on your moods?