Enforcing Bedtime the Importance of a Good Sleep Routine

I know, I know – it is sometimes hard to be “The Enforcer”; but if you don’t do it, who will? You have to envy the mothers of generations gone by. What was considered explicit in earlier generations is nothing compared to what our children are exposed to today. We live in a society that gives our children a plethora of opportunities to do what – exactly the wrong thing! When your children are infants and/or toddlers, establishing and sticking with a good sleep routine can be relatively easy depending on the level of effort you are willing to put toward it. However, once your children hit the pre-teen or teenager mark, parenting at bedtime becomes more like war time and as hard as it is, you must take no prisoners.

It is very easy to slip into the habit of sweeping things under the rug in parenting older children. You try to let them express themselves, and you don’t want to say something every single time; but one or two nights of going to bed “a little later than usual” could be, in some cases, the beginning of a never-ending series of battles between parent(s) and child. Several factors must be taken into consideration: the age of your child, the maturity level, the child’s level of commitment to academic excellence. It may seem harsh, but you will hurt your children if you don’t examine these aspects of their behavior. You can not treat all children the same way; if your child is failing in school, he/she is really not in a position that warrants moving away from a good sleep routine. However, if your child is a straight-A student, then why not allow him/her to hang out sometimes. You must help your children to understand that in life, if you give the best you can, you will get the best you deserve; but if you only give minimal effort, you will get the least you could possibly receive. As older children develop, the time to develop good habits decreases; if a children reaches the age of, say 16 years, then the habits formed by this time are truly an indication of the habits that will stick around into adulthood.

This becomes an issue for parents who strive to befriend their children. If you fall into this category, don’t feel bad because you are not alone. Millions of parents find themselves falling victim to the “I-Want-To-Be-My-Child’s-Friend” syndrome. It is imperative that we combat this syndrome by sharing knowledge with those who just don’t understand. Occasionally, hanging out later into the night may not be a problem, but we must remember that our children look up to us, and once we cross a certain line, they may try to hold us to it. If you decide to allow your children to veer away from their normal bedtime(s), be sure to explain in detail the reason why; also, make sure the children understand that this is no indication of the future.

In the end, as much as it hurts, your children will respect you more for it.