What happens when children have a set bedtime routine? Good Things!!

In the world of medicine, we like to have official words for routine things.  What you call a “burp” (and we call it that too), is officially called an “eructation”.  I know  … that’s weird … that’s medicine for you!  Well, “Sleep Hygiene” is the medical term for activities and routines that promote healthful, regular sleep.

So, the topic for today is your children’s sleep hygiene, specifically related to how they will do in school and with behavioral and aggressiveness problems. Now, you would figure that if your 7 year old has erratic sleep routines  … he or she will probably do poorly in school.  And, yes, you’d be right.  But the information I’ll be sharing today is your child’s sleep at age 2 or 3 … and its effect on school performance and behavioral/aggressiveness issues at age 7 or 8!

2 separate studies were done:
●  one study looked at 11,000 children and the relationship between a consistent/regular bedtime at ages 3, 5 and 7 and school performance at age 7.
●  the second study looked at 42,000 children and the relationship between “undesirable sleep schedules” at age 2 and school-age behavioral problems (3 attention problems and 4 aggressiveness problems).

From these studies, here are the 5 most important findings for late or irregular toddler bedtimes (age 2-3) on school-age children (age7-8):
●  A 60% increase in attention problems
●  An 80% increase in aggressiveness problems
●  Significantly lower reading ability
●  Significantly lower math ability
●  Significantly lower spatial perception and problem solving ability

OK, that is really clear information with a huge study sample population.  Bedtime patterns from early childhood affect later childhood behavior and academic performance!

In another study of 10,000 children between the ages of 0 and 5, the researchers looked at a consistent bedtime routine. The results showed that those children with a set bedtime routine:
●  went to bed earlier
●  fell asleep faster
●  woke-up less often during the night
●  slept longer
●  had less “daytime” behavioral problems

Setting a consistent bedtime routine is good for our children.  It’s not hard to do if you are committed to it!  Start winding them down an hour before lights out.  Whether it’s a bath and a bedtime story, or clean pajamas and quiet play, or some other lower stimulation activity, create a bedtime routine as the end to their busy days.  They’ll be better off for it …. and so will we!!!  Oh, and Christmas Eve qualifies as a special exception  –  it gets its own bedtime routine!  Joy to the family!  Joy to the world!

Additional Resources:

CDC’s Sleep Hygiene Tips

Spatial Perception Predicts Success

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