Making your children go to bed is one of the most impossible tasks, from their first years all the way through to their teen years, trying to enforce a regular bed time can be extremely difficult. Recent research shows that it is actually more important than we knew to make sure that your children have a regular bed time that they stick to.
Kids and bed times
Little kids never seem to want to go to bed, they feel like they are missing out on all the action. You spend ages getting them to go to sleep, pop back into the living room only to have them come back out. Teenagers are even worse, telling them it is bed time will often have little effect and with the profusion of today’s digital devices even when they are in bed it is hard to know whether they are asleep or have spent half the night playing games or communicating with friends.
Irregular bed times
While your children will think that you are just being bossy and difficult the reality is that recent research has shown that sticking to a regular bed time has more going for it than simply time management or routine obedience. It seems that bed time has an impact on children’s behaviour. The study found that children who had irregular bed times were far more likely to have reckless behaviour.
The study looked at more than 10,000 children in the United Kingdom and found that irregular bedtimes with behaviour problems. Children who did not have a consistent bedtime from an early age and throughout childhood were found to be a lot more likely to have behavioural issues by the time they had reached seven years of age. The study asked both teachers and parents to rank their children’s behaviour and the results showed an overwhelming correlation. While the researchers are careful to point out that they have not proven a causation, the results seem fairly conclusive
How to fix it
One of the aspects of the study that would further argue the causational linkage is that the behavioural issues could be remedied by changing the children’s sleep habits. After only a few weeks of regular bedtimes the children’s behaviour improved, showing that the connection between regular bedtimes and children’s behaviour is fairly certain.
What to do
It seems obvious, it is important that you make sure that your children go to bed at a regular time every night. Make a time and stick to it, make sure it is not too early or late for your child, but once you have set a reasonable time you should never waiver. Be firm and set up a rewards and punishment scheme to enforce the schedule if you need to. The good thing is that as long as they stick to it you will have a child that is more likely to be compliant, it is once you give in to the intransigence that you will have a misbehaving child who will be hard to put to sleep!
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