Sunday, June 26, 2011

The 8:00 Bedtime

Parents today don't value bedtime enough.

The benefits of getting "enough sleep" are indisputable. From health to grades to attitude and general happiness, we need to get a good night sleep. And our children need it as much as anyone. Thus, my wife and I have always committed to consistent and early bedtimes for our children. And that doesn't change just because the sun is setting later or school is out. OK, it changes a little. But for the most part, my elementary age children are in bed by 8:00 with the lights off during the school year - regardless of weekday or weekend. Come summer, we extend the evening a bit, though they are never up past 9:00.

Children benefit from consistent schedules, and meals and bedtimes are probably the most important. Too many children never know exactly when dinner will be on the table, and bedtime is often whenever they decide to go - often that is after the movie is over. Occasionally, kids in the neighborhood will ask why my children come in and go to bed when it is "still light outside." Interestingly, my kids never ask this. Explaining to other kids that healthy bedtimes are linked to the clock, not the sun, really means nothing to them. But, that's no matter. Ultimately, my kids live rather healthy and happy lives, and my wife and I deal with far less drama from our kids than many I know.

OK, lights out.


Dennis Fermoyle said...

I'd fit in well with your kids!

Mike Thiac said...

For once we agree...but I do the 900 pm time

mmazenko said...

We agree? There is hope.

I think the important thing is consistency ... and earlier rather than later. My neighbor just came home from a bike ride with her four-year-old ... at 9:30.

And she's upset when he's crying and not listening.


Dylan Stewart said...

Keeping the consistency through to an older age is also tremendously helpful. I have found that through high school and into college a regular sleep schedule that roughly coincides with the night hours has strong correlation with academic performance. In fact, a dorm-mate of mine did a study for a class where he anonymously polled students about their sleep schedule and corresponding GPA's and found overwhelmingly strong evidence that regular sleep schedules saw dramatic improvement academically.