One Way to Have Happier Holidays…Sleep

Now that the kids are officially on winter break we usually have a more relaxed schedule. Lazy mornings spent in pajamas, breakfast and lunch blended into one, and casual evenings that seem to go on forever – void of homework, extracurricular activities, and the general mad rush toward bedtime. This sounds like a wonderful break from the craziness of our typical after-school-day schedule but there are consequences for making this temporary shift.

The first consequence is that the shift is temporary. Nobody, including mom and dad, really wants to return to the normal school day schedule when the time comes in January.

Second, the lazy evenings that go on until way past regular bedtimes ALWAYS results in behavior and attitude shifts (not for the better) the next day. Our tween is like a fire breathing dragon, every one of us does our best to stay out of the path of her scorching flames. My fourth grader walks around scowling all day and is satisfied by nothing and nobody. And my first grader is just plain crazy – doing things that she knows are risky, inappropriate, and basically annoying to everyone.

And I won’t even go into the effect that lack of sleep has on mom and dad, because I know you know (insert winking smiley emoticon here).

Sleep is truly glorious and worth its weight in gold. The impact that it has on our physical and mental capacities on a daily basis is absolutely amazing when you think about it. Parents should value a good nights sleep for the family the way that we value a nutritious diet. It should happen regularly, be consistent, and be a lifelong lifestyle expectation (with the necessary adjustments during adolescence–adolescent sleep blog post coming soon).

Check out the following podcasts for a scientific look why sleep deserves such high value in a child’s life. For tips on how adults can get a healthy night’s sleep, sans medication, check out this link.

So it looks like we’ll all have a rockin’ winter break if the entire family is not sleep deprived. Sounds good to me, I’m on it!