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Sleep – who needs it?

Posted by School Run Mum on 24/04/2012. Tags: School Run Mum Parenting

text re imageYoung school children – that’s who. But according to recent research, over two-thirds of school children are not getting enough sleep and the average six-year-old doesn’t go to sleep until after 9.30pm.
Reading the article, these two facts alone were enough to shock me into an open-mouthed stare. We usually start making ‘bedtime’ noises at 7.30pm and try to have everyone in bed by 8-8.30pm at the latest (my children are 4 and 6). But perhaps the more shocking piece of information to arise from this recent article in the Irish Independent, is the following statement: ‘Traditionally younger children went through the ritual of having a bedtime story before going to sleep. Now they are much more likely to nod off to the sound of a TV show, a computer game or a DVD.’

Although I would love someone to shake me and tell me that this isn’t true, I’m afraid that it is. Really? Do parents really let the TV send their child to sleep? If so, I just cannot understand this. Surely, we all know that over-stimulation through electronic gadgets is not the ideal way for a child to wind down and get ready for sleep. Surely, we want to read them a bedtime story – don’t we? I may not always have the patience to deal with the kids not getting into the PJs and brushing their teeth properly, but that half an hour of calm (after the getting ready for bed storm), when we sit and read, is one of my favourite parts of the day.

Clearly, one of the problems of our children not getting enough sleep, is that they find it hard to concentrate at school. Surely, we owe it to our children – no matter how exhausted we might be, and how tempting that sofa looks – to encourage a bedtime routine and a bed time which is best for them.

Maybe I’m out of touch. Maybe my old-fashioned principles of a glass of milk, a story and a good night’s sleep are becoming something of a parenting myth.
I really, really hope this is not the case.


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