Dear Naptime, Sorry I was so mean as a kid.
Most adults wish they could go back to childhood and savor the nap times and early bedtimes. Most parents understand the importance of plenty of sleep for their children. There’s more than enough in-your-face evidence that a lack of sleep leads to negative behaviors.
As described by NPR’s Shots blog, New research indicates that it’s not just enough sleep that makes the difference. The consistency of bedtime is seen as a major factor for children. When children can maintain their circadian rhythms with regular bedtimes, they get more of the benefits of sleep. Consistent night-nights also helped kids escape the negative impacts of too little or irregular sleep, such as behavior problems and poor school performance.
An inconsistent bedtime actually resulted in worse behavior than insufficient sleep did.
As with many facets of childhood and parenting, consistency proves key. When children are given enough appropriate structure, clear expectations and predictable schedules they can flourish in the freedom and independence they need to do their work: play!