Why is my child grumpy and fighting with me every morning, melting down at the front door, or coming home with incident reports from school?
It may be as simple as not getting enough sleep. What parent has never said, “YOU NEED A NAP!” to an uncooperative or misbehaving child? (Maybe you’ve even said it to your spouse.) The fact is that your child may not be getting enough nighttime sleep.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a quarter of children under the age of 5 don’t get adequate sleep. This is worrying because poor sleep in early childhood has been linked to allergic rhinitis and problems with the immune system, as well as anxiety and depression. There is also emerging evidence that poor sleep in childhood may carry future cardiovascular risks in the form of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.” (See sleepfoundation.org). Symptoms of ADHD, hostile behavior and learning difficulty may be lessened by establishing a nighttime sleep routine that gets your child to bed at a time that allows the child to get the recommended right amount of sleep every night before you wake them in the morning.
At The Village and Rutledge Institute, we schedule “Quiet Time” after lunch for the children to rest and hopefully take their naps. We see the differences in energy level, attention span and learning after their naps. We know it makes a difference.
It’s important for your child to have interests or activities like dance, soccer, baseball, or sightseeing, but remember the importance of adequate sleep time. “Understanding their sleep needs is the first step towards providing better sleep for your children. Through a combination of sleep hygiene, age-appropriate routines, and close attention to any sleep disorders, you can help your child get the rest they need to grow up strong and healthy.”, according to The Sleep Foundation.
Teaching young children about the importance of sleep and bedtime routines will result in good sleep habits and associated benefits for a lifetime. Effectively balancing their outside activities and sleep might create windows of time when you can catch a few ZZs too.