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For Parents

Children and Sleep

By Icia Reid-Sandulak 

The need for sleep is very important for children's functionality. As parents you know that when your children do not get a good night's sleep, the whole family pays for it. Feeling irritable is just one of the side effects when children do not get enough sleep. Sleep can affect their cognitive ability, and may alter how well they can pay attention and problem solve. Missing out on sleep may also affect their mood; they will have a more difficult time managing their emotions, which leads to aggravation and frustration amoung these youngsters. 

There are other factors that may impact children's life style when they are deprived. They may feel drowsy and lack energy throughout the day. Their school performance such as their ability to focus on the material that is being taught may also suffer as a consequence of their sleep deprivation. Sleep can affect their cognitive ability and may alter how well they can pay attention and problem solve. 

There are a few things to keep in mind that may help with sleep patterns in children. Some children may be anxious about an event or they may have something on their mind that they spend hours thinking about once they go to bed. Watch for overload of extracurricular activities. While extra activities can be healthy and productive, you as a parent still need to monitor your children's functional abilities. You can help your children to be successful in their activities by setting a routine at bedtime. Have them wind down before bedtime and set bedtime based on age. 


As parents you talk, you lecture, and you expect to be heard by your children. At the same time, you
need not forget that your children are also talking. You hear the sounds that they are making, but are
you attentively listening to the words that they are saying? It is imperative that you listen to them and
make special time for them. You can choose breakfast time, or dinner time to allow them to express
themselves. They will feel like they can come to you with anything, because you value their words.

Spend Time
Spend quality time with your children. Take them on a picnic, have a family game night, watch one of
their favorite shows with them, take them for a walk, have them help with dinner and eat meals
together. They will feel validated by you.

Be consistent with your children and follow through on discipline. This creates stability for the child, but
keep in mind that one type of discipline does not fit all children. The age of the child, the maturity level,
and possible disability, determines what type of discipline should apply. Pick your battles, do not nitpick
at your children. Be loving, be flexible, be firm. Use reward systems when necessary. Acknowledge
your children when they are following directions, and let your children know when they are doing a
good job.

Open Communication
Maintaining open communication is your children’s lifeline. As we know, communication is the key to
building a solid relationship. Open communication allows your children to discuss their feelings,
concerns, hopes and desires. You will definitely get to know your children better if you make room for
continuous communication with them.

Parents Are Role Models

by Icia Reid-Sandulak

 Your children model your behaviors in many ways. Whatever you do, your children are watching. You know the old saying "do as I say, not as I do". As parents you know that this is not a realistic goal for your children. Your children are more likely to do as you do , since you are the first and most important teacher in their life. You want your children to model your good behaviors, and only the good ones, right? Your children look up to you as their parent, their guide, their hero,  and their mentor. Your children are watching when you think they are not!

Take comfort in knowing you are teaching positive behaviors. Don't forget that you serve as role models not only through direct interaction with you children, but also through example shown with your attitude and behavior when you interact with others. There are no perfect parents; therefore, as parents you will have shortcomings in your parenting roles. It is up to you to take a personal time out when necessary, to avoid negative interaction. Your children will admire this behavior. It is okay to make mistakes as long as you do not keep making the same mistakes. Your children are like sponges, they will soak up all the good behaviors, and the bad behaviors too. 
Be sure to set good examples. It will be healthier for you and your children. Don't forget, you are the most important person in your children's lives.