Early to bed, for their health and yours!
I don’t know about you, but to me, a lot of times, it feels like the most important skill a mom can possess, is the ability to wing it, perpetually. It’s a mindset that prevails when I have no spare pants, but there’s a puddle at my son’s feet. Again. It saves me daily, but nightly, my go-to is tried and true. In a word, it’s Routine. As crazy as the days will always be, a bedtime formula for my kids that starts early and ends on time gives me the promise of healthy sleep for my babes, and re-charging time for me. In those moments of chaos, when I’m willing myself to grow extra arms, the certainty of a restful night gives me poise and grants me patience. It helps me to be the mom I want to be.
Why start early?
They sleep later, when they go to bed earlier! The most common cause of early rising is not going to bed early enough. Later to bed does not mean later to rise. If you want your mornings to be easier, with kids waking at appropriate times, an early bedtime is the key.
Bedtime will be a calm, peaceful time. Lack of sleep leads to poor behavior and power struggles. When everyone is sleeping appropriately, the bedtime routine can be a time to look forward to, for everyone. If I skip bath time for my two-year-old guy two nights in a row, by the third night, he grabs my hand, pulls me up, and drags me to the bathroom, saying “It’s bath time, Mommy”.
It’s an accomplishment, and it’s attainable! Who doesn’t long for a triumph at the end of a long day? The reason for implementing this goal, of course, is for the health and well-being of our children, but a welcomed side effect is fulfillment of a goal.
Appropriate sleep lays a foundation of success for our children. Not getting enough sleep has been associated with social, motor, and language deficits, as well as emotional instability. Physically, less nighttime sleep has been linked to poor diet and higher BMI.
It assures bonding time, regardless of what the day has entailed. If you are rushing around, lurching into bed after a packed evening, you miss that sweet, precious time in your baby’s room, which solidifies your mutual adoration. This programed cuddle time is important for everyone in the family.
Kids who have an appropriate bedtime fall asleep faster! As we know now, getting to sleep on time leads to more sleep, and overall health.
Finally, though it isn’t the impetus for the routine, it must be noted that every benefit to a child is an equal benefit to the parents, since the well-being of our children is our collective mission. When our babies are resting peacefully, we are free to engage in whatever we fancy, like a shower, or the time to replenish our on-the-go-pants-stash, so we’re not caught in the same puddle tomorrow. As the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I’ll have time this evening to strategize a way to ensure you won’t fool me again, because my baby will be sleeping like clock-work” or something like that.