Researchers have found that there are benefits to regular bedtimes for kids other than just parents’ sanity.
“British researchers interviewed mothers when their children were ages 3, 5 and 7, asking how often their children had a regular bedtime: always, usually, sometimes or never. The mothers and the children’s teachers also completed questionnaires about behavioral difficulties.
“Almost 20 percent of 3-year-olds had no regular bedtime, compared with 9.1 percent of 5-year-olds and 8.2 percent of 7-year-olds. After controlling for many social, economic and parental behavioral factors, the scientists found that children with a regular bedtime, whether early or late, had fewer behavioral problems. And the longer irregular bedtimes persisted, the more severe the difficulties were.
“The study, published Monday in Pediatrics, also found that children who had irregular bedtimes at ages 3 and 5 had significant improvements in behavior scores if their bedtime was regular by age 7.”
The lead study author, Yvonne Kelly, a professor of lifecourse epidemiology at University College London, adds a caveat through.
“Getting kids into a regular bedtime routine does appear to have important impacts on behavioral development,” she said. “But there are lots of things that have beneficial effects. Having a regular bedtime is only one of them.”
Our bedtime is posted so there can be no arguing, and they are off screens an hour and half before bedtime. (The backlighting on screens is supposed to keep them from falling asleep.) Sometimes there is still giggling and running back and forth between bedrooms so I just sit in the hall working on my computer for about 10 minutes until everyone is calm. I do think really enforcing the bedtime makes a big difference in attitude and behavior the next day.
Do you have a set bedtime? Has it helped with attitude and behavior? How do you enforce the time?