Letter to the Editor: Restful Success

March 9, 2015
bedtime posters-1

Twin Lake Headstart students create posters with bedtime checklists to ensure smooth night-time routines.

Dear Editor:

In many households with children, when the word bedtime comes up, the tears start flowing, the frustration levels rise and the nightly battle begins.  The bedtime battle is one of the most common issues being presented to pediatricians today. The problem is, children aren’t getting enough sleep; parents are getting frustrated; and children are not coming to school well rested and ready to learn.

It is crucial for proper brain development and function that 3-5 year old children get 11-13 hours of sleep per night. For many working families, this is a struggle.

Parents are coming home from work exhausted and the thought of a bedtime battle is not on their priority list. They are relying on media to entertain the children while the house duties get done and are missing out on precious family bonding time. In turn, children are having to get up early to go to school, sometimes without breakfast, make it to school on time and be ready to learn.

Teachers are seeing a drastic difference between the children who are coming to school well rested and the children who are tired and hungry.

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There is a solution. If we want our children to go to bed at a good time and in a happy mood it is up to us to give them a positive and consistent routine. Children, like adults, like to have routine.  They like to know what is coming next. Providing our children with an interactive and fun bedtime routine will give parents time to bond with their children while accomplishing the bedtime goal.  Children will be well rested and come to school with healthier attachments and ready to learn.

What does a bedtime routine look like? It should be interactive, a fun poster with pictures, a way for them to check off done items.

What goes in a routine? Take a bath, put on pajamas, have a healthy (low sugar) snack, go potty, read a book with their parent, hugs, kisses and “I love yous,” lights out, go to sleep.

Making the routine should be a family event, every child’s routine may be different. The important thing is that it stays the same, every night. If there is going to be a change, let your child know well in advance and have them be a part of the change.

A positive and consistent bedtime routine will increase family bonding, ensure the child is well rested and improve attendance and school readiness. Together, with our children, we can turn the bedtime battle into bedtime bonding.

Jill Woodrum

Early Childhood Education Program

Ferris State University

 

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