kid sleep

Kid Sleep Is Important

I am often amazed when mothers explain their children’s lack of sleep because their kids, simply, don’t want to go down. If we can establish from the get go that children do not know what’s best for them, then I think us parents will have an easier time.

If I hadn’t read some really great books while I was ‘pregnant’ having my twins, I think I would have fallen for this classic trick our kids try to pull on us.

Oh, I’m not tired. I don’t need to sleep. Look at me, I’m actually super hyper right now. The last thing I need is sleep. I have to potty. I need milk”.

Oh yes, the reasons and excuses why they don’t need to sleep lasts forever. But, the fact remains. Kids do not know what is best for them, and sleep (at whatever amount is appropriate) is best for them.

Sleep Begets Sleep

From birth, the more your baby sleeps the more they’ll want to sleep. As the months go by this remains true. When my kids were 6 អាយុខែ, they slept 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.

This is not because they are odd (many of my client’s children do the same), but this is because their bodies were used to sleep and they needed it.

And, even better, they wanted it. When their naptime came around they were fussy, we would walk to their room and I would them down, they would smile. They wanted to sleep!

No, I don’t have alien babies. No, I am not just super special. The reason for this is because, with schedules and routines, they have slept regularly each day and now it is a habit.

Just because a kid acts like they don’t want to sleep doesn’t mean they don’t need it. And, as the effects of good sleep take hold, they themselves will realize its benefit.

Sleep is Where the Information is Absorbed

I won’t go too medical here since I studied Math and not Science, but suffice it to say, all experts agree. Babies and toddlers are bombarded with images, information, activity and new things throughout the day.

Sleep is when this information is properly stored and put away. If you have ever studied abroad and had to learn a new language to survive, you know the feeling… intense headaches and a crazy desire to sleep and ‘turn off.’

Or imagine a student cramming for final exams. It may work for one night, but day after day of cramming and the brain just won’t be able to take any more. The student gets anxious, stressed, irritable and eventually, unable to retain any more information.

Why should very young children be any different? Sleep is important for their neural, physical, and emotional development.

Lack of Sleep Makes Everybody Hate Everybody

Lack of sleep makes kids irritable, frustrated, and short tempered, just like it makes you. Then we get annoyed at them, and they feel confused and angry.

After all, it isn’t their fault. Not many children, unless the are sick or tired beyond belief, will walk themselves to bed at their determined naptime on a regular basis. If they don’t see mommy or daddy napping then it won’t occur to them.

I have seen it firsthand, more times than I can count, that kids who do not nap regularly or sleep enough are not happy campers.

They are irritable, fussy, unpredictable and unsettled. And why wouldn’t they be, they aren’t running on a full tank. It’s the same with adults so why would it be any different with children?

Sleep deprivation has a compound effect and the lack of sleep has emotional and physical consequences. Wait, you say, what’s the difference in the loss of an hour or two here and there?

According to the book Nurture Shock, a lot. A+ students averaged only 15 minutes more sleep than B students. 15 minutes…

Suffer Short Time for Lifetime Positive Effects

I know it’s annoying to be at home with sleeping babies all the time. I know it’s hard to have a life when all you do is feed your babies and put them to bed. But, honestly, it is just for a short while.

Sure it means I am on a tight schedule to get things done outside the house if they need a nap, but you know what? Having happy children more than makes up for that.

I know that, in a few years, they won’t nap anymore. Then they’ll drive, go to college, and get married. I know, I don’t want to think about it either! ដូច្នេះ, for now, I’ll just keep telling myself that the sleep training we are doing now will benefit them forever.

They’ll be in the habit of sleeping well. They’ll operate as efficiently as they are able (to the extent I am in control of that) from a young age. They don’t know now how it will benefit them, but that’s why they need us.

Young immature minds need older wiser minds to guide them and show them how to make good decisions. If we let our immature children make unwise decisions we are setting them up to fail.

Children who are well slept are calmer, more focused, better behaved, and happier.

The difference in behavior with my kids from when they are tired to when they are well rested is like night and day. Behaviors start coming out that I never see, and I understand why parents get so stressed out and go on the verge of a breakdown.

I put them down for a long nap and put the to bed early in the evening, and they wake up happy campers again. It isn’t me, it isn’t them, it’s sleep!

If your baby or toddler has already rebelled against sleeping all is not lost. Though they aren’t used to it and they will fight it, know that you are the parent. You are in control.

You can get back some of the ground you have lost and get your child on a good sleep schedule. They may fight it. They might fuss, cry, or pitch a few fits. Need some help with this. Sign up now for a 30-min FREE SmartKidParenting Consult:

Remember, you’re not punishing them, you’re doing something for their own good and for their benefit!