Spring is finally here, and we have all been delighting in the sunshine we so longed for! It feels good to finally say “Yes!” to a child asking to go outside rather than nagging them to spend some time outdoors.
The trade off to this weather is, at times, sleep. Games go late at night, outdoor dinners linger. While it may feel good to give our children more time in this glorious weather, we can’t forget that their bodies depend on sleep.
All of this joyful exuberance….
Not to mention all of this important work…
Depends on, and needs to be balanced with, lots and lots of…
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) Children act differently when they are tired. Sometimes getting overly upset, being inflexible, not being able to concentrate or being grumpy, is just a sign of tiredness. If you’re having trouble with any of the above, look at your child’s sleep patterns. Are they consistently getting enough sleep?
2) Sleep begets sleep. Staying up late does not equal sleeping in (especially for children!). Earlier to bed can equate to waking up later! The corollary to this is that sleep deprivation adds up. In other words, *carefully* dole out those late nights. There’s no shame in being the parent that leaves the park early. Sleep is important!
3) Bedtime is not the same as asleep time. When you check those handy charts indicating how much time your child should spend asleep, or the ones indicating what bedtime should be based on wake up time, remember to consider how long it takes your child to fall asleep. (Tip: Printing out these charts can help take the struggle out of bedtime. The chart says you need 11 hours of sleep; the chart says it’s bedtime – not the parent!)
Sleep is malleable. You can change your child’s sleep habits. Yes, it takes time and work, but it is doable and so important! Like providing healthy food for our children, supporting healthy sleep habits is one of the foundational things we can do to provide a good environment for our children. Sleep gives children the opportunity to thrive. And take good care of your own sleep needs. For all the times you’ve said, “I wish I had more patience” ask yourself if you’re getting enough sleep. Being well rested is good for all of us!
For more info on the importance of sleep and tips for bedtime, here’s another blog post for you!
Thanks to Melinda Smith and Samantha Clarke for the pictures!