The importance of sleep...
Sleep is essential for children to grow and develop. This is something as parents that we need to encourage our children to follow as early as possible to enable them to get the best out of a good night sleep.
Sleep is a “learnt skill” and for our children the main benefit is to release growth hormones which encourage normal growth and body development. It also contributes to repair of wear and tear and recharges our batteries.
Secondly, sleep benefits the brain through helping the process of concentration enabling children to make sense of the day’s events, the things they learn and the skills they are developing as they grow.
Research has found that children (young adults) who get less sleep than they need has been linked to weight gain to depression, poor concentration, reduced creative ability and lower immunity to illness. (Pressures of modern world leading to decreased sleep times)
Younger children (most) respond well to a bedtime routine. This is normally along the lines of teatime, followed by quiet play, bath, story and then bed. Bedtime should be around the same time each evening, although on non-school nights, older children already established in a good sleep pattern may be allowed to stay up a little later.
Parents shouldn’t expect children to go to sleep immediately they are in bed - after all, most adults don’t - and they should be allowed to play quietly or read for a little while until they drop off.
Extracted from "The Good Night Guide" by Kathleen McGrath
Communicating with our pre-teens and teenagers…
Parents today feel that their children are becoming teenagers even before reaching their 13th year, with mood swings and attitudes starting around the age of 10. For the "adolescent" (pre-teen) this time is challenging, emotional and confusing but exciting all at the same time.
However, the most challenging aspect parents said, is when it comes to communicating with their child. But communicating is one of the most important skills that as parents we must keep doing. We need to keep talking, but more importantly we need to take the time to listen, "really listen."
As parents we feel it's our job to try and "fix" everything, but this is an impossible task and most of the time our teens don't want that. They just need us to listen, understand how they are feeling and what they are trying to communicate; especially when their communication consists of huffing, puffing, shouting, stomping and of course the slamming of doors. All of which are ways in which our teens express their wants, feelings and needs.
Yes, it's going to be hard as being a parent it is our job to try and fix things it’s our way of protecting our children; and as for the "teenage talk" we need to try to act not react, make time to talk without interrupting or wanting to give advice.
We as parents need to encourage our teens to share with us and make them realise, we do understand and that we're here for them. After all we were all teenagers once.