Bedtimes and Wake Up Times

Newborns sleep, eat, poop and start over again. Our little grandson is starting to stay awake more. I love watching him wake up. He will squeak and squirm then start to peek at you. He'll yawn and stretch and open his eyes wider. He'll look around at any light or nearby faces. He also fights going back to sleep. He'll hardly be able to keep his eyes open, but he'll fuss and squirm until his body finally gives in to sleep.

Each child has his own style of sleep patterns. Some like to go to bed, others have trouble settling down. Some wake up with a smile, others are grumpy for an hour or so. Some have to take naps for years, others give them up early. Whatever their style, sleep is very important to a child's health. You can help them develop good habits. It takes newborns a little while to figure out the difference between day and night, and mothers can't wait for them to sleep all the way through the night...although they usually panic the first time.

I learned to enjoy those mid-night feedings, especially when it was hard to find our own Mommy/baby times during the busy day...with older brothers and sisters competing for my time. I enjoyed jabbering with my little one while I changed his diaper. I could gently rock him and sing soft lullabies. It was our time, just the two of us in the middle of the night.

Setting a bedime is recommended. Children should get at least 10-12 hours of sleep each night. That means young children should go to bed around 7 o'clock. School age youngsters should be asleep no later than 9 o'clock, probably earlier if they must ready for school by 7 AM.

A bedtime routine helps the body start shutting down. If bedtime is 8 o'clock, give them a 15-30 minute warning. Let them have time to finish what they are doing and have time to put it away. A child should know their routine and be able to perform it without prompting. It will probably follow a pattern like this: change into PJ's (maybe a bath beforehand), brushing teeth and using toilet, getting a drink, reading a book together, prayers, and kisses and goodnights. Don't let them talk you into one more story, another drink of water, etc. They are masters at staying up a little bit later.

It is good for a child to be able to settle down on his own, if he wakes in the night. Many times one of my children would crawl in bed with us, especially if he had a bad dream. Usually, I'd cuddle them for awhile, but then take them back to bed and tuck them back in with their favorite teddybear or blankie. Although, my tiny nursing infants often stayed with me, especially in the winter.

Wake up times should be early enough to give the child time to get their mind and body started without stress. Open the shades, rub their back, give them a short snooze time, before getting them out of bed. Have a morning routine to get the new day started as smoothly as possible. As they get older, their own alarm clock is nice. Teens should be able to get up on their own. Don't fight with them. You may have to let them take the consequences of being late once in awhile, but they'll learn. They will need to be prompt once they have a job.

My father had a few songs to wake us with. Here's my favorite:

"It's nice to get up in the morning,
Whe the sun begins to shine,
At three or four or five o'clock
In the good ol' summertime;
But when the dew is dewy
And it's murky overhead,
It's nice to get up in the morning,
But it's nicer to stay in bed!"

1 comment:

Slowly Dying.. said...

This was very much on time for me. Our eight-month-old is not sleeping thru the night yet and our school-ager has a rough time going to bed, therefore, a rougher time waking in the morning. Thank you for the advice, please continue to minister to us "youngins, " I appreciate it.



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