"Helping Our School-Age Children Sleep Better" is an article published in the New York Times that clearly belongs in the scientific journal of "Duh." I will summarize the key points if you are short on time to read the full article.
The struggle to get children to bed is real and it doesn't end at six months, or even six years! New research shows that sleep strategy interventions work to get children to sleep faster and longer. Even as little as an additional 18 minutes of sleep a night impacted grades.
A time for everything under the sun. The results of the research shows "parents (need) to make the rules and routines clear.”
Disclaimer: What works for one parent may not work for another. This is a license to try different techniques. As parent and a person we grow and so do our perspectives. What I am offering is a perspective that has evolved over the years through experience, training, research, and practice.
First of all, children don't rule the roost. Children need rules like they need play. Children require routine and a fair bit of predictability. When my children arrive home they know it is time to change their uniforms and put them in the washer for the next day, before homework they may have a snack, then backpacks are prepared for the next day as are lunches. We set each other up for success.
The NY Time article puts particular focus on the transition years of 4-6 which coincide with a child starting school. For these children it is particularly helpful to talk with them before bed and after dinner about the next day. You can pick out clothes for the next day together, choose breakfast together, and make lunch together. Don't leave anything to the unknown so that they know what to expect.
Have a great academic year ahead!
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