This is self-imposed, of course. I am a (mostly) fully-functioning adult. And I also recognize that if I don't go to bed at that time, then I will be extra groggy at 5:15 when the cat/alarm/cat alarm wakes me the next morning.
So, off to bed I go.
It's logical to me then, that my son needs a fixed bedtime, too. Since we are always reading studies about how parents are not getting enough sleep, it should come as no surprise that children are not getting enough sleep either.
I've noticed this in our own household. When my son goes to bed on time, he is easy to get up in the morning: There's a bright smile for me, he shuffles off to get dressed without arguing and he is talkative about his crazy dreams. After his late nights, my son becomes a bear in the morning: There is a great amount of growling (sometimes from both of us).
So, how can I help him understand that bedtimes are important?
- Set a good example. My son knows that mommy has a bedtime and a wake up time, just like he does.
- Keep the lights low in the evenings and at a minimum in his bedroom. We've never put a nightlight in his room, and we are not starting anytime soon.
- Talk about sleep as a part of being healthy. My son knows that sleeping helps him grow big and tall and strong.
- Pay attention to his body signals. He is too little to recognize his body cues, but we are trying to point them out when we see them. We also show him our "my body is tired" signals.
- Keep him napping. My son is too young to give up his nap, so we are encouraging that practice for as long as possible.