Bed time for your children

Baby Tips, Growth & Development Add comments

ba63328.jpgChildren are by their very nature, wearisome and there is nothing better than to have them put safely in bed so some adult time may be enjoyed before the whole process of raising your kids starts all over again the next day.

Bed times differ from household to household and some parents invent some bizarre and wonderful ways to ensure babies will receive good night rest. Some do not believe in any bed time routine and think this is the best time of day to allow their children freedom to choose what time to go to bed.

Kids need much sleep. They do not have the physical strength to cope with a sixteen of seventeen hour day, unlike adults who may survive on considerably less sleeping time.

A child who has consistently retired to bed after midnight and then risen at around seven or eight in the morning to get to school on time, will be increasingly tired, irritable, fractious at the table, difficult to discipline and generally miserable. I hear parents time and again crowing that ther children choose their own bedtime and then observe the child displaying all the anti social behaviour I have just described. Incredibly, the parents cannot see the deterioration in their child´s behaviour through their shiny, rose coloured spectacles.

At birth, babies feed on demand, some are persuaded to feed at regular intervals as they progress through babyhood. By the time baby is weaned onto solids, a reasonable routine should have been established so that baby sleeps through the night, affording Mum some well deserved rest hopefully.

So often this blissful state of affairs is then overturned by the parents inability to say no to a toddler who would rather stay up than go to bed. There is nothing unusual in a child preferring the company of doting parents to the relative isolation of his or her own bedroom. Of course it is more interesting to stay up and watch the television with Daddy. Of course it is nicer to be cuddled on the sofa and have stories read by Granny or Mummy until after eleven o’clock. Unless the child is remarkably unintelligent, by the age of two he or she will have figured out that adult time can be very entertaining and why should Junior be the one to miss out on all the fun?

The answer is because children need their sleep. End of discussion. There are no acceptable reasons for allowing your child to stay up until all hours of the night, just because you do not have the application, the intelligence or the authority to observe a proper bed time.

There are many ways to ensure your child goes to bed and stays there. It is very much easier to enforce a strict bed time routine if you do not stray in the first place, but even the most chaotic system may be corrected with some diligence.

A reasonable guide to exactly what time a child should be put to bed is their age. Babies should be put in their cots at six, ideally, from about the age of six months when their routine is established. The six o´clock bed time should then continue until the child is seven, when a seven o´clock bed time is appropriate, and so on until the child reaches nine. The nine o´clock bed time then stays with the child until teens come along, by which time the child is probably more in tune with how much sleep they need and can decide for themselves whether ten or eleven o´clock is a good time to go to bed.

In subsequent articles I will deal with methods for correcting children who do not wish to go to bed at the appointed hour, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say ‘correcting the parents who have failed to establish a child’s bed time routine.’



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