GET TO bed!

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - Parenting -

Bed­time and chil­dren’s sleep habits can cause night­mares – for par­ents, that is! Sleep is im­por­tant for chil­dren as it pro­motes health, well­be­ing and learn­ing. Cur­rent opin­ion in ed­u­ca­tional and health cir­cles is that kids don’t get enough sleep. Around nine to 10 hours seems to be a min­i­mum re­quire­ment for most ages, even teenagers.

Get­ting bed­time right is also vi­tal so par­ents get some space and time for them­selves and each other.

Un­for­tu­nately, chil­dren do not al­ways see bed­time from a par­ent’s per­spec­tive. They of­ten dis­pute calls for bed and com­plain loudly that it is too early.

Pro­cras­ti­na­tors, hard­ened de­baters and jack-in-the­boxes of­ten come to the fore around bed­time.

If bed­time presents dif­fi­cul­ties in your home, re­fer to the fol­low­ing check­list to make sure the bed­time rou­tine runs as much as pos­si­ble in your favour: 1De­cide

on a time with your child and stick to it. There are no hard and fast rules about ap­pro­pri­ate bed­times. How­ever, they should suit par­ents and chil­dren. Dis­cuss ap­pro­pri­ate bed­times with chil­dren. Some fail to see that sleep is a bi­o­log­i­cal need. They see it as some­thing im­posed on them. I am con­stantly amazed by how rea­son­able chil­dren can be when they have had the chance to par­tic­i­pate in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process. 2Estab­lish

a 30-minute bed­time rou­tine that sig­nals “one more story” or drink and demon­strate that you are the end of the day. A known rou­tine such as quiet un­will­ing to play their “keep you busy with them” games.

8Avoid time, drink, toi­let and story lets chil­dren know what is sit­ting with young chil­dren un­til they fall asleep. ex­pected of them and en­ables them to plan ac­cord­ingly. This may be all right once in a while, but habits are 3Re­duce

over-stim­u­la­tion be­fore bed­time by en­sur­ing dif­fi­cult to break. Par­ents who sit with young chil­dren chil­dren en­gage in pas­sive ac­tiv­i­ties like read­ing. un­til they drop off may make a rod for their own backs. 4Tem­porar­ily 9Ig­nore

re­move dis­trac­tions at bed­time for or re­turn boomerangs to their rooms with bed­time re­sisters. Some­times turn­ing off the TV min­i­mum at­ten­tion. Chil­dren will tire of be­ing jack-in­can be enough to send chil­dren to bed. the-boxes when they get lit­tle feed­back for the be­hav­iour. 5With 10Make

pro­cras­ti­na­tors, fo­cus on your be­hav­iour, not sure you wake them at the same time each theirs. I know a par­ent who be­gins read­ing a morn­ing. If you over-com­pen­sate by al­low­ing bed­time story whether her child is in bed or not. As them to sleep later to make up for lost sleep, you are her daugh­ter trea­sures her story, this is gen­er­ally en­cour­ag­ing a late sleep pat­tern. enough to have her rush­ing to the bed­room. Im­press upon chil­dren that night-time is your time and, 6Distin­guish

be­tween be­ing “in bed” and “be­ing in as such, is ex­tremely pre­cious. Short of a night­mare, you the bed­room”. Chil­dren dif­fer in the amount of sleep do not wish to be dis­turbed. If they have dif­fi­culty get­ting to that they need. It may be more re­al­is­tic to ex­pect some sleep or wak­ing up, then it is their job to put them­selves kids to be in their bed­rooms at a set time, rather than in back to sleep or oc­cupy them­selves un­til they fall asleep. bed. Once away from the adult world, chil­dren

❋ gen­er­ally fall asleep fairly quickly. Young chil­dren may EMAIL YOUR QUES­TIONS TO: michael­grose@ re­main on their beds sur­rounded by a favourite toy or new­ Due to the large vol­ume of books to keep them oc­cu­pied be­fore they fall asleep. ques­tions, Michael can­not re­spond per­son­ally to 7Re­sist

chil­dren’s ef­forts to in­volve you by ig­nor­ing each one. Michael is a lead­ing par­ent ed­u­ca­tor, the au­thor of calls for drinks or as­sis­tance with for­got­ten home­work seven par­ent­ing books and runs sem­i­nars around Aus­tralia. at bed­time. Once they are in bed, ig­nore re­quests for Visit www.par­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

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