Are bedtimes a thing of the past? I often wonder. No one really talks about them anymore.
Throughout elementary school my twins always had a strict 7 p.m. bedtime. My son played so hard all day long he could barely keep his eyes open until seven o’clock. My daughter, on the other hand, was more of the night owl. She still went to bed at seven. No questions. Lights out.
Today now that the twins are rapidly approaching seventeen we STILL have a bedtime. Yep. At 9 o’clock lights are out, cell phones are off, books are closed, and the television is off. Again, no exceptions.
We need our sleep. Researchers say that children grow and their brains develop while they are sleeping, yet I’m finding out that more and more kids are going to bed later and later.
I asked my third grade students what time they go to bed. No hands went up when I said seven o’clock. Rather, there were snickers amongst my “rowdies.” Eight? Very few hands were raised. The majority of my eight and nine year-old students go to bed at 9 p.m.
No wonder they have difficulty completing all of their daily work…these children are exhausted. Monday mornings are especially difficult in my classroom. My students come to class exhausted from a weekend of late nights, days filled with screen time. Parents, please take note.
Once again, I am thinking that this is all stemming from the influx of electronics into our lives. After school and dinner children are sitting down to XBoxes, iPads, iPods, and computers. Their brains are so stimulated by the screen that they have difficulty slowing down by bedtime.
School age children need a bedtime. This time should be consistent so that they can establish a routine. Children thrive with a routine. I see this every day in my third grade class when my students stress if I deviate from the daily agenda. They want to get their work done and move onto the next activity.
Later in life, say when these children are teenagers, this routine will serve them greatly. Rarely do I have to remind my own children that it is bedtime. They KNOW when they are tired and they go to bed. They also feel the effects of when they have not gotten enough sleep. They fall asleep in class, perform poorly on tests or don’t have their best “game” on the court.
Do your children have a bedtime? Is it consistent? If not, you may want to consider establishing one for your family.
Try it out and let me know. I can almost assure you that you’ll be pleased with the results. A well-rested child is a successful and happy child.