By Shannon Magsam, Ladybug’s guilt-ridden mama
Well, I just started the book “NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children” and those icy little fingers of fear started tickling my spine. It wasn’t the first chapter about over-praising. I know that new research says praise should be about something specific your kid did or how much effort they put into it – not just a general “You’re awesome.”
No, it was Chapter 2: The Lost Hour. It’s about how kids are getting about an hour less sleep than they did 30 years ago and that’s leading to problems with IQ, emotional well-being, ADHD and obesity. Apparently, just losing an hour’s sleep in just a few days can cause a sixth-grader to perform in class like a fourth-grader.
Yikes. Any experiments with second-graders specifically? That would put her back in kindergarten.
I think I’ve documented here in Life With Ladybug that my husband and I have a kid who fights sleep. She tosses, turns and begs for another drink of water for-EVER at night. I’ve tried everything. This year it’s really much easier. She’s more mature and will go to bed without much fuss. But that doesn’t mean she goes to sleep. I know I should be more demanding that she stay in bed, but it’s been easier to just let her play, look at books and hang out in the dim light of her bedroom until she’s “ready” to go to sleep.
Tonight, after reading this chapter, I feel differently. I know I need to make sure she’s going to bed earlier so she’s getting more sleep. That means much earlier so she can wind down and still be getting the right amount.
I thought this was an interesting paragraph: “A few scientists theorize that sleep problems during formative years can cause permanent changes in a child’s brain structure – damage that one can’t sleep off like a hangover. It’s even possible that many of the hallmark characteristics of being a tweener and teen – moodiness, depression, and even binge eating – are actually just symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation.”
I know I don’t function nearly as well – or bounce back from normal disappointments – as well when I’m tired. And my brain isn’t a work in progress like a kid’s is!
So I’m feeling guilty, but trying to let that go and just do something about it. Like right now. I’m going to quit typing and go put my kid to bed. Early.
And when I get time, I’ll read Chapter 3 of NurtureShock. If I’m brave enough.