There is nothing more important than them getting the correct amount of sleep. I am talking about the child’s sleep cycle. Yes they have a sleep cycle. The correct sleep cycle is asleep by 7-7:30pm and must get 10-12 hours sleep. Hey, I did not make this up, it is a real evidence. Ever notice your child acting up or yawning about 7-7:30pm? Well, they are tired. Their days seem a lifetime compared to our days which seem to whiz right on by.
Sleep is actually the one most important things you can ever do for your child, yourself and your family. It influences their brain development, determines how they function socially, it will shift their mood to not so tolerable, it dampens their vitality, and it affects their adrenals if they are sleep deprived or even getting their 10-12 hours but going to sleep past 8pm.
If you are having a hard time getting your child to sleep by 8pm you are not alone. That has been my biggest challenge as a parent.
Here are a few things I had to do to get my child to bed at least by 8:00pm consistently and we are still working on it.
1. Change our family lifestyle: We are now home every night by 4:00pm. I decline a lot of fun stuff I can be doing but my child’s sleep is most important and so is mine.
2. Get the house dark by 5:30 even though it is bright as it can be outside. Getting the house dark, having an early dinner and quite time before we read has been very helpful to the bedtime process.
3. Get him in bed at 6:30pm. This part is taking some time. Some nights we get him in bed by 7:00 and no later. So far the reading time starts at 6:30 and by 7-7:30 hits he is yawning and now resting. He is not consistently asleep by 8:00pm. This does not happen every night but that has a lot to do with the rhythm of our child’s day and that’s another blog.
4. Play the imagination game. Heard from the Waldorf school that telling stories and having them imagine is very healthy for their development and it also calms the child. So the last story is something we play, “the imagination game.” We turn off all the lights because reading time ended. This is how it works. It consists of him closing his eyes and laying on his back. It starts off something like this…”Imagine you are sitting on the nice cool green grass looking over a quite still lake and once in a while a fish will jump out of the water and go down into the water with a quite splash…” It is a really calming and soothing type of imaging that has no action, low tones, and highly meditative. It works well for our family and he is usually tired enough to go straight to sleep.
These have been what we have done for our family and what a difference in my child! It is much more social and talkative to other kids. He is vibrant and the bags under his eyes has ceased. He get his full 10-11 hours of sleep per night and wakes up bright and early enough to have a hardy breakfast and take his time getting ready for school. His playtime has been the most creative I have ever seen him and he has improved immensely in school.
Life is not always perfect but one thing you can always do for your tot is get them to bed when their cycle says so. There will be exceptions but keep them far and few between, especially on a school night, the teachers will thank you.