The shift from having a social life and being flexible before you had children can be a jolt when you think about putting your baby to sleep around the same (early!!) time every night. Is it worth it? Can’t you be the cool parents who have a baby and still have a life? Well, Let’s look into this a bit more.
We know that sleep is awesome for kids and especially for parents. But we’re not always sure why or how to get there.
Sleep is key to harmony in families and a new study just found that it also affects how children function at school (even many years later).
This article in the Wall Street Journal talks about the toddler and preschool years which are often the hardest to be consistent. But those years are when the brain is developing and enormous rates and needs the consistent sleep.
It is hard as a parent to forgo some of our old habits (happy hour, evening hikes, dinner at a friend’s house) but when we know the importance of a consistent bedtime, it will be easier to make those changes.
If you start today with a consistent bedtime, you will also see an immediate change in behavior. Children who are tired are much more cranky, defiant and difficult than children who are less tired.
Children who have consistent bedtimes also go to bed easier and quicker than children with an uneven routine.
So you know that things will get easier (albeit less social) when your children go to bed almost the same time each night, but we now also know that it will help academically down the road due to healthy brain development.
So back to the new non-existent social life: it is gone forever? No.
Once you have a consistent bedtime set up, you can stick to the schedule about 90% of the time and through fate into the wind about 10% of the time and your child will still benefit from having a consistent schedule. This will actually make traveling easier and will make those couple of times that you are spontaneous easier because your children will just fall into your schedule whether you are on a train, in a car, on a plane or off too far.
So how important is a consistent bedtime? Very important!