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Why It’s a Really Huge Problem If You Don’t Put Your Kids to Bed Earlier

Why It’s a Really Huge Problem If You Don’t Put Your Kids to Bed Earlier

One of the most difficult parts of parenthood can be getting your child to go to bed. The tantrums, pleading, and crying that kids can indulge in to be able to stay up a little later makes it a hard rule to enforce. However, if you are the kind of parent who is strict about making sure that your little bundle of joy goes to bed with the chickens, then take heart: research has shown that most kids do not go to bed at the proper time — and that this can lead to physical and mental/emotional health problems down the road. Writer Melinda Moyer, writing in Slate, discusses why sleep is so important to a child’s development.

The National Sleep Foundation Survey

The National Sleep Foundation is, as the name suggested, dedicated to the study of sleep — and to the health consequences of not getting enough of it. In a recent survey, the foundation discovered some disturbing news about the sleep habits of American children all over the country. What was found was that :

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  • 50 percent of preschoolers go to sleep after 9 p.m.
  • 64 percent of first through fifth grade children do not go to bed until after 9 p.m., either

This is considered by the foundation to be too late a time to go beddy-bye. And a variety of studies have found that getting enough sleep is an important part of raising healthy, happy children.

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What the Research Shows

So why is it so important to make sure that your child goes to bed early? A number of studies over the years have looked at different answers to this question and here’s what they found:

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  • The National Survey mentioned above found that factors like a child falling asleep on his/her own at an early time was associated with better quality of sleep; factors like a parent being present or a child drinking caffeinated beverages or having a television in their room was associated with poor sleep quality.
  • Children who have a later bedtime tend to wake up more during the night and are not able to sleep in late enough to make up for this sleep deficit; as a result, they are more likely to be sleep deprived.
  • Children who are sleep-deprived are more likely to be overweight or obese than children who get enough rest.
  • Teens who are getting enough sleep are less likely to have problems with depression and suicidal ideation.
  • School-aged children who had adequate rest as toddlers are less likely to have problems with attention span or aggressive behavior.

In short, sleep deprivation can bring a whole slew of physical and mental/emotional problems for children. That is why the Sleep Foundation recommends that a good sleep routine be as much a part of parenting as diet and exercise in order to promote a child’s health. But how does a parent go about achieving this?

Tips for Helping Your Kids to Sleep Well

If you understanding the importance of giving your child a good night’s sleep, but are not sure how to begin, here are some tips to get you started!

  • Make sure that you put your children to bed at the same time each night and get them up at the same time each morning. This will help their bodies to establish a sleep-wake routine.
  • Make sure that your child’s room is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature to make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
  • Don’t offer your child any beverages or other foods with caffeine or sugar.
  • Do not let your child have a television or other devices in their room; too much screen time has been associated with poor sleep in many studies.
  • Train your child to be able to fall asleep on their own, instead of being depending upon you in order to fall asleep.
  • Establish a “quiet time” before bed that can involve reading, taking a warm bath, or other relaxing activity in order to wind down.

So the next time your toddler starts to howl about a 7 p.m. bedtime, grit your teeth and enforce the rules you have established for a consistent bedtime. They probably won’t thank you for that right away, but in the long run, it is one of the best things you can do as a parent for the long-term health and wellness of your child.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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