I am a licensed psychologist and a certified child and family sleep coach dedicated to helping families get their sleep back on track. After working through sleep issues with my own child, I discovered there is a science (and art) specific to dealing with children’s sleep within the context of a family. I believe that sending kids off to bed early should not be treated as a punishment. Read on for guidance when sending kids off to bed.
When you were little, did your parents ever threaten to send you to bed early because you were misbehaving? Have you ever been tempted to say the same thing to your kids? How about rewarding them by letting them stay up late? Of course, children often see going to bed only in terms of the fun they may be missing. But we parents know better, don’t we?
The reality is that when you put your child to bed at an appropriate time you are always giving more than you are taking away. You’re giving them the opportunity to rest their bodies and minds, repair tissues, stabilize hormones…GROW…the list goes on. With the exception of food and water, adequate sleep may be the most important biological need human beings have, and with all of the demands placed on today’s families, it’s a more precious commodity than ever.
So whenever you speak to your children about bedtime, always remember that it’s a gift, and never make it a punishment or the basis of a threat. Which is not to say that, when your toddler tosses her dinner across the room, you can’t comment that she seems tired and might feel better if she went to bed early tonight. In that case, you’re identifying a need and offering to fill it, not removing the “privilege” of staying up. And when you can, give yourself the gift of an early night once in a while, too. Your body will thank you for it and you’ll set a good example at the same time!
Guest Blog Written by Dr. Sasha Carr, PhD, Founder of Off to Dreamland, LLC.
Sasha Carr, PhD, is a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Child Sleep Consultant with extensive research, teaching and clinical experience in the areas of health, behavior and sleep. Dr. Carr works with individuals and families through her private psychology practice and via telephone consultations nationwide, and serves as the sleep specialist for Women of Wellness of Connecticut, a practitioner network dedicated to caring for women, especially new mothers and mothers-to-be.
For more information about Dr. Carr click to visit her child sleep consulting website.
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