1 Surprising Thing You Could Do to Change Your Child's Bad Behavior

Health Check 35

bedtimeIt's official: The latest research on kids and sleep proves I am a bad mother. Call social services now! I've failed. A new study says that irregular bedtimes for kids can lead to behavioral problems. They say not going to sleep at the same time every night can disturb their natural circadian rhythm. That causes sleep deprivation, "undermining brain maturation and the ability to regulate certain behaviors." And by regulate certain behaviors, they mean not being hyperactive and throwing tantrums.

Consistent bedtimes is one aspect of parenting I consistently suck at. I've got just the barest grasp on getting my son to bed at the right time on school nights. On the weekends, all hell breaks loose and he's up two or three hours later than usual. But the researchers say there's hope for bedtime slacker parents like me and our kids!

Apparently this inconsistent bedtime curse is reversible. "For example, children who change from not having to having regular bedtimes show improvements in their behaviour," says study author Professor Yvonne Kelly. So great! All I have to do is more strictly enforce reasonable bedtimes. Okay. No problem. I can do that. Heheh ...

An open letter to Professor Yvonne Kelly:

Dear Professor Kelly,

Could you please help me put my kid to bed at a reasonable hour on the weekends? I need help.


A slacker parent

If you look around the web, the main advice parents get for maintaining consistent bedtimes is to establish rituals. For example:

1. Wind-down time with no electronics an hour before bed.

2. Play soft music.

3. Start getting kids into pajamas well in advance.

4. Read a bedtime story.

I can manage to do this on weeknights. It's on the weekends that we have a total free-for-all, where I suddenly look at the clock and say, "Wait a minute, what are you still doing up?!?" But I kind of feel like if bedtime is consistent five out of seven days of the week, maybe I can cut myself some slack on the weekends? Isn't there a compromise I could reach?

Maybe I could try and keep some of those rituals, just allow them to happen an hour or two later than normal. I think sleep researchers will say that consistent bedtimes all week for everyone (including adults!) is preferable. But I think this is one area where I'm just resigned to being a good-enough parent.

Do you have trouble maintaining a consistent bedtime for your kids?


Image via Peter Dedina/Flickr

behavior, kid sleep


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MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

Is anyone else reading this and thinking "Um, duh! When my sleep gets thrown off, I get cranky, too!"

Heath... Heathp721

I was told by a doctor that bedtimes should not be more than 30 minutes later on weekends than on weekdays. Congrats to you for having a kid that you don't even notice is still up. My 7 year old commands some form of attention at least every 20 minutes. Lol

Choco... Chocodoxies

Our five year old attends full day kinder (she will be six in a month) and when school started I moved her bedtime back from 7:00 to 6:30. Yep, I am totally that parent. Suddenly she was getting better reports from her teachers. She was proudly displaying her new knowledge, but by Thursday evening homework is a hair pulling, cat herding experience. So, on Thursday night she goes to bed at 6:00. She is out like a light in less than ten minutes. 

I do not enjoy holiday weeks when we travel with our friends because they don't have set bedtimes for their children. Their kids just run until they drop, around 10:00pm and my daughter can't sleep while all the other children are up playing. She ends up overtired, throwing fits, crying, and sitting on the naughty cushion at least 3X as often after a weekend away. Our friends tend to think I am over the top with the bedtime, but the proof is in the pudding. My daughter is a happier more compliant and more studious child with a 6:30pm bedtime all week long. 

the4m... the4mutts

I have no trouble getting my kids in bed at the same time, every night. The only problem we have, is that our bedtime had gradually slid from 8pm to 9pm. But all this is about th change. Now that it's getting dark earlier again, bedtime is getting moved. 7:45, in bed. 8pm lights out.

luvbe... luvbeinamommy68

I have really no problem getting my kids in their room. It's the whole lay down and go to sleep. My kids are in bed at 7:30. They don't fall asleep closer to 10. Even if we have had a long busy day. I have to constantly go in their room and tell them to settle down and go to sleep.

ktobin2 ktobin2

When I was little my bedtime was 7:00 and once I turned ten it was 8:30. I stopped having a bedtime literally my 8th grade or freshman year. I just started going to bed when I felt tired. Children should definitely have a bed time. My crazy aunt has let her five year old stay up till 10:00 or 11:00 since she was a baby. It's just crazy.

Kikis... Kikismomma

I came to this conclusion on my own without research, when my ill behaved 3 year old (who is now 7) started half day pre k.  I lamented everyday on what to do about her behavior,  started looking around for a therapist and everything,  I  really and truly thought she was ADHD or something else of that  nature.  Then a week before school started I decided she needed a bed time,  so she wouldn't be as cranky in the morning.  Low and behold going from 9:30 pm to a 7 pm bedtime changed not only the morning crankies but her behavior completely had an overhaul. Now that she is 7 her bedtime is 7:30.  She has finally become a joy to be around and I no longer dread taking her places.  That may sound terrible, but boy was she a terror until a schedule.  Now with my younger 2 I keep to the same schedule and have half the behaior problems I did with my first.

Stama... Stamatina79

my kids go to bed around 10pm every night.  they are 5 and 2.5.  But we homeschool so they sleep till like 9 or 10 in the morning... we dont have behavioral problems here.


harym... harymarshman

My 21 month old started fighting sleep and going to bed later each night, the lastest was 10. The later she went to sleep, the more tantrums we had. So I started making her lay down for a nap at the same time each day and for bed the same time each night, between 8-8:30. Less tantrums, happier peanut and less stressed mom.

Mommy... Mommy_to_CTN

I get my kids to bed around the same time every week night (8-ish for my 3 and 5 year olds, 9 for my 9-year-old and 9:30 for my 13-year-old) and let them stay up an hour (an hour and a half for my oldest) later on the weekends and during the summer.

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