Got A Bad Kid? Establishing A Regular Bedtime Might Help

A recent study highlighted in the New York Times suggests that regular bedtimes may be tied to behavior.  The study looked at children ages three, five and seven.  The researchers talked to parents as well as teachers.  According to the study, almost 20 percent of 3-year-olds had no regular bedtime, compared with 9.1 percent of 5-year-olds and 8.2 percent of 7-year-olds. After taking into account other social and economic issues, scientists found that children with a regular bedtime had fewer behavior problems.

I thought that establishing a regular bedtime was included in parenting 101.  Children need structure and a routine.  It makes them feel safe and secure when they start to notice what happens in their daily lives.  An established bedtime is great for the parents as well.  As a parent you look forward to bedtime because your alone time or time with your spouse or significant other begins.

I realize that sometimes it's difficult to stay on a regular schedule, but parents should try as  much as possible to stick to a daily routine.  Any parent with half a brain has at some point figured out that their child is misbehaving due to lack of sleep.  It's important that we realize that when we take our children off of their regular sleep schedule, there are consequences.  The consequences are that our children will probably misbehave.

Not only should your child have a regularly scheduled bedtime, they should be getting the right amount of sleep.  A four year old does not benefit from an 11:00pm bedtime every night if he/she is only getting 6 or 7 hours of sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation has the following sleep recommendations for children by age:

Newborns (1-2 months) 10.5 - 18 hours of sleep

Infants (3-11 months) 9-12 hours of sleep

Toddlers (1-3 years) 12-14 hours of sleep

Preschoolers (3-5 years) 11-13 hours of sleep

School-aged children (6-12) 10-11 hours of sleep

Teens (13-18) 9 1/4 hours of sleep

The scientists suggest that if your child is not on a regular bedtime schedule, putting him/her on a regular schedule can help with behavior. It's not too late to correct the bad behavior. So for you parents out there with bad children, you may have a solution.  Try putting your child on a regular sleep schedule and see if the bad behavior improves.  If not, you need to impose some tough love.  Is your child getting enough sleep? Vote in the poll below.


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