The Value Of Bedtime Rituals For Children

By Linda Ruiz

Few people know - and fewer practice - one of the secrets to successful child rearing: children thrive when their lives are run on a schedule. Childhood experts say that a regular routine lowers stress in kids and families in general. Kids feel more secure, and their needs are met to a greater degree. Bedtime rituals for children have long been a cherished part of family life, even for those who fail to establish a routine for other activities.

Religion usually has ritualistic components, but all ritual is not religious. Any repetitive action given importance in life may be a ritual. This concept of established actions performed on a regular basis fits well with a child's need for routine.

Sleep deprivation is a health hazard, and many children suffer from this because they don't go to bed early enough or sleep soundly through the night. This puts a strain on all members of the family. An established time for bed can help children settle at night, and it gives parents a much-needed break in the evening. Scheduling this time - if no other - can improve the quality of family life.

There should be a time before bed that helps children relax. This is preparation for sleep, so rough housing or noisy activity should be discouraged. Researchers say that the blue light of television and computer screens sends a 'wake up' signal to our brain, so all electronic devices should be turned off at least one hour before bed. Soft yellow light promotes relaxation, and dark rooms make for better sleep.

Getting the kids away from computer games and television is easier if you have quiet activities they like and can look forward to. A time-honored way to do this is to send - or help - the kids to get into their pajamas, brush their teeth, maybe take a warm bath. Then you can read them a story, tell them one you make up yourself, or let them play quietly in their room with favorite toys.

Reading a bedtime story is one of the best evening ritual strategies, since parent and child interact. This habit has made authors and publishers of childrens' books prosperous. Younger kids may fall asleep to the sound of their mom's or dad's voice reading a story they probably have memorized. If not, they will be soothed enough to fall asleep when story time is over.

Anything relaxing can be included, like singing (lullabies, hymns, or songs parents remember from their childhood), saying prayers, listening to music, watching fireflies out the window, or listening to night sounds. As kids get older, reading a chapter of an interesting book each night can be fun. Kids can even read to themselves for a while before its time for a goodnight kiss and lights out.

Only very well-disciplined people can run their families on a schedule. Fortunately, the bedtime routine is easier than others to establish. The fond memories that most of us have of these times attest to their importance for young and old. It's like having family meals together; this sort of scheduled quality time is more beneficial than many of us realize.

About the Author:

No comments:

Post a Comment