I don’t have to tell you that sleep, in a household with young children, is more valuable to parents than gold!
There’s nothing worse than trying to start the day, bleary-eyed and grumpy-faced, with only a half night’s sleep under the belt. And that’s not even talking about the grown-ups!
Aside from the obvious personality hazards a poor night’s sleep brings out in all of us, here’s why a good night’s sleep is so vital for our children.
A Rested Mind is a Smarter Mind
Dr Lewis M Terman is best known for the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test. If you haven’t heard of that test before, don’t worry, neither had I until I wrote this blog. J
Basically, a test was done with over three thousand children in every age category. It found that children who tested with superior intelligence had one common link: all of them had experienced healthy sleep at night.
This study was repeated in 1983 by Canadian researchers and they found the same thing: A good night’s sleep makes for a brighter, quicker mind.
Dr Weissbluth in his book Healthy Sleep, Happy Child, states that ‘sleep problems not only disrupt a child’s nights, they disrupt his days too, by:
- Making him less mentally alert, less attentive, unable to concentrate, and more easily distracted, and,
- Making him more physically impulsive, hyperactive, or alternatively lazy.’
It’s easy to see from this that a good night’s sleep is more than ‘shut eye’… it rejuvenates and refreshes the mind, and helps our children focus their minds and bodies for longer, which allows them to learn more.
The benefits of a child being able to sit still for a period of time are immense, and takes tremendous self-control. The last thing we want for our children is a tired mind and a fidgety body.
It’s something they will have to learn to do in order for them to thrive in the (minimum) 12 years of schooling that lies ahead of them.
A healthy sleep routine starts in the infant stage, when children are more pliable. Start in the first few months of life by setting up a good, healthy sleep and feeding routine.
It is very difficult to convince a four year old to not get out of bed in the middle of the night, when this is the first time they are hearing it! However, with the use of a star chart, or positive affirmation, starting late is better than never, so be brave and start your child on a healthy sleep track to success.
Night Time Comfort and Security
Because little bodies crave security and comfort, you will find that most babies get deep, uninterrupted sleep when they are swaddled. Some babies enjoy the presence of a night light to help them settle by themselves if they wake at night.
When they are older, the comfort and security of a sleeping bag works wonders. True to the nature of the three to four year old age group, they usually become so attached to the sleeping bags that they will use them while watching their favourite movie or in the car too!
Plus, they don’t get cold at night from kicking off the blankets!
We also love how well Ewan the Dream Sheep provides soothing, calming sounds to help toddlers and babies fall asleep.
I don’t know about you, but I will use whatever I can get my hands on to ensure my children get a great night’s sleep. 🙂
Night night mommies!