It’s been weeks (possibly months) since I’ve posted here. Sorry ’bout that to those of you who were hoping for more frequent posts. I am thoroughly wrapped up in my current full-time job and all that comes with having two parents who work full-time and two kids who go to school, play dates, activities, after-care, etc. It’s chaos but, so far, we’re managing to hold it all together.
Right now, it’s exactly 4:11 am. Yup, four in the morning. It’s cold, it’s dark, the cat’s snuggled behind me and I, as per usual if I’m not snug in bed, am on the internet. My daughter woke me up about 50 minutes ago as she was sneaking into my bed after having a bad dream. There’s hardly a night that goes by without one of our children waking up, not being able to get to sleep, having a nightmare or waking up too early in the morning. Normal, I know. But, I’m curious as to how sleep – or lack thereof – affects kids’ mental health.
We all know that a good night’s sleep leads to a productive, happier day. The last thing I want for my kids is to have them tired, grumpy, and agitated – not good for mom and not good for them. I do my best to follow a routine with them – no sweets or loud music/TV after dinner; dimming the lights; getting into PJs as early as possible; lots of stories before bed, that type of thing. And, usually it works but very often (see above) something happens in the middle of the night.
I remember having nightmares as a child and being really terrified so I try to remain calm and reassuring – which can be exceptionally difficult when one has to get up early and be calm, productive, efficient and friendly at work the next day! If I don’t have to open my eyes or turn on the lights in the dark depths of night and can just mutter something reassuring and have everyone go back to sleep – great! But, more often than not, there’s a drink to be found, a teddy bear to be retrieved and, sometimes, the “stay with me until I fall asleep” card is pulled. That one’s a doozy because it leads to a very sleepy parent who sometimes has work or (gasp) something fun to do after said child gets back to sleep.
For us, it’s all a matter of routines, investigation, luck and “do what works for each child”. What is your experience with kids and sleep? Any tips to share?