Tag Archives: Bedtime

Charlotte Parent: Explanations Are In Order

Bedtime battles are a fact of life.

You’d think, as the young dudes and dudettes grow up, they’d stop fighting sleep so constantly. You’d be wrong.

Sure, tweens and teens are more likely to sleep through noon if left alone, but the odds are they also stayed up until dawn. So it’s not like they’re getting a lot of sleep, only timeshifting their rack time.

As much as we parents tell the young ‘uns they need more sleep, they just don’t listen.

But you might be doing about it the wrong way.

Today, over at Charlotte Parent, I’ll be talking about the thought that just telling your kids to go to bed NOW might not be the best way to make sure they get enough sleep. As usual, I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name.

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Parents Talking To Teachers Talking To Parents

Parents and teachers want what’s best for their students.

The problem comes in when we try to define best.

Is it happy and adored by all around him? Or is it buckling down and applying herself?

This lack of specificity simply showcases how vast can become the chasm between parents and teachers when no one can communicate effectively. Which is where the New York Times‘ parenting and moming blog, The Motherlode, comes in. The blog ran a couple of columns last month about what parents want teachers to know and what teachers want parents to know. Not I’m bringing them all together so you can know.

The first thing teachers want parents to know is that their children are more capable than most parents think.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, your children do not need your help tying shoes, zipping jackets, sharpening pencils, packing their backpacks and lunch, or any of the million other tasks they expect you to do for them every day.

In addition, it’s all right to pause a while before giving feedback to your child. Let the little dude figure out on his own if he did something right or wrong. He’s going to need to rely on himself eventually, so help him start out right.

I’ve said before that kids lie. A lot. I’m not the only one who thinks so. Teachers are offering to not believe the little dudette about everything that happens at home, if you parents won’t believe everything she says happens in class.

When your child comes home and claims that the teacher screamed and yelled at him in front of the entire class for his low test score, try to give his teacher the benefit of the doubt until you’ve had a chance to talk to the teacher about it.

These last two seem to go together. Teachers want to remind parents that children learn from what parents do more than what they say. Parents also need to show that making a mistake isn’t a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are willing to try new things and recognize it might take a while to get better at them.

On the other hand, parents have a few words for the teachers as well.

For starters, parents want teachers to tell the truth. I know it goes against everything teachers learn about dealing with parents, but we (and I include myself in here most definitely) want to know what you really think of our kid, what he’s really doing in class, how he really fares during lessons. Don’t sugar-coat it. Tell us how it is, then we can work together to help our little dudette achieve.

Here’s something most kids will complain about: Homework. In this case, though, these parents have a good point. A lot of times, teachers seem to forget that they’re not the only one assigning homework to the young dudes.

If parents get home at 6 with their kids, and homework requires a half-hour of whining, hand-holding, cajoling and general disruption to the family peace, that seemingly quick and easy 20 minutes of homework in a third-grader’s folder or an hour in a seventh-grader’s backpack robs the entire family of time together, dinner in a relaxed setting and a calm bedtime.

Finally, this last point goes hand in glove with the previous point. Parents would like teachers to keep in mind the big picture. Understand that students are taking classes in more than just your subject so talk to the other grade-level teachers before handing out that massive assignment that’s due on the same day as the term paper and the math exam.

You’d think that parents and teachers would understand the importance of communication, considering that’s basically what each must do with the kids every day. Still, it doesn’t hurt to undergo a bit of a refresher every now and then to make sure we’re all on the same page.

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Give Your Little Dude A Brain Boost By Keeping A Set Bedtime

It’s always nice to be proven right, even if it is a bit after the fact.

See, when the little dudes were still babies, I insisted that they have a specific bedtime that, some might consider, a bit early. The way I saw it, an early bedtime for the little dudes meant a bit more decompression time for their dad and mom. That made for less-cranky all around, both for them and for us.

A new study has come out saying that, not only were we right, but that we also gave the little dudes a significant brain boost thanks to that bedtime decision. I pulled the following from an article by Todd Neale, from Medpage Today, a continuing medical education effort from the Perelman School of Medication at the University of Pennsylvania.

A regular bedtime may be important for the cognitive development of young children, researchers found. 

The effect appeared to accumulate, because a failure to go to bed at a regular time at multiple time points in the first 7 years of life was associated with lower cognitive scores for both boys and girls, the researchers reported online in theJournal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Not going to bed on a schedule “could have important ramifications, as when sleep is restricted or disrupted symptoms that reflect a reduced capacity for plastic change [in the brain] and/or disrupted circadian rhythms follow, including cognitive impairment and lack of concentration,” they wrote.

The study included more than 11,000 children age 7 who lived in the U.K. but the researchers consider the data to be valid for children living everywhere. Not going to bed at the same time each night, researchers found, contributes greatly to a significantly reduced cognitive ability.

Among girls, those who did not have a regular bedtime at ages 3, 5, and 7 had significantly lower scores for reading (beta -0.36), math (beta -0.51), and spatial abilities (beta -0.40) at age 7.

And among boys, those who did not have a regular bedtime at any two of those ages had significantly lower scores for reading (beta -0.28), math (beta -0.22), and spatial abilities (beta -0.26) at age 7.

That is not good, dudes. Not good at all.

While the researchers acknowledge that there are some bits to their methodology that need sprucing up — no data on weekend bedtimes, for example — they’re pretty confident in their results.

“Thus,” the researchers wrote, “our results suggest that having a regular bedtime is important alongside other aspects of family circumstances.”

There’s some more good information at the site, so I’d suggest you head over there for a while to read the story. It’s not all that long, but, if you need convincing, it’s important information to have.

I’m glad to have this study. I’ve long felt like we were voices howling in the wilderness when it came to bedtime. I know so many other parents who put their little dudes and dudettes to bed whenever they felt like it on different nights. I’ve always thought that was far too lax, an example of the parent wanting their child to like them, so they let the children set the bedtime.

The reason we’re the ones in charge is that we’re old enough to see that sometimes what we want isn’t what we need. And also we know when it’s time to go.

Speaking of which. . .


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