Recently, this article has caused a little buzz amongst us parents of Primary school going kids. It talks about how the majority of our Primary school kids are not clocking enough hours of bedtime a day. What was more surprising to me was the activities the kids are allowed to do just before their bedtime; watching television was listed as the top activity.
I am not here to judge. Everyone has their way of doing things. For us, having enough sleep is of utmost importance. Ever since I became a mother, my schedule and routine revolves around the kids' nap. When Sonshine was a toddler, I used to rush home for his naps or declined any meet ups with friends whenever it clashes with his nap time. Even up till today, I go straight home (unless he has other classes) after picking him up from school so that he can have his noon naps. Sometimes his classmates would hang out for lunch after school, but I usually turn down because of, well yes, nap.
Before the article was published, I wondered if all this was worth the hassle. I looked at the other families' routine and they seem to be more flexible and carefree. Whereas, here I am running a military schedule all because I want to adhere to their nap time. In order for them to nap, I give up time for other things like playdates, unscheduled outings and even outdoor time. It also can be very tiring, rushing about & making sure everyone is keeping to the clock. Friends also seem to frown upon me when they see me rushing home for their naps. Of course, I am not so rigid and sometimes would make exceptions but only on special occasions. But in general, I do my best to ensure that they don't skip naps and they take naps at home, not outside. I do this by making sure we follow the same old routine day in day out.
I did think to put the kids earlier to bed so that they can clock their 'zzz's. But that means they either won't get to see their father or have to compete with each other for his attention within that short 30 minutes or less. I thought that would be too stressful and frustrating for everyone. Also, I do think it is better to give their bodies and minds a break in mid day then to stretch them till bedtime.
I am also very strict about the activities they do before bedtime. Electronic devices prior to that is a big big no no for me. I know it messes up our minds and disturbs our sleep if we allow screen time before we sleep. I am a living example. I used to watch movies just before my bedtime and I usually end up with intense dreams on those very nights. Needless to say, it robbed me of a good sleep and I even ended up clenching my teeth in my sleep. I am an adult, so what more the kids? I don't even allow the television to be switched even though is on sports channel or what nots. It is a strict no no. Don't even talk about ipads which is not allowed on weekdays.
Therefore, this article came just about the right time. It assures me that my daily military routine is quite necessary and that I am doing the right thing. I also realised that the children don't always appear to be sleepy even though they really are very tired. Doll for instance, can still be upbeat and fresh looking despite being extremely tired. How do i know? Because the next moment when I put her to bed, she's straight off to La La Land. Same goes for Sonshine. Sometimes, we need to swoop in and take control rather than wait for signs to show.