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Bedtime Brooding

Posted on 08-18-2016

We Americans are all fighting an obesity problem. What can we do? Well, for starters, we can get our children to bed on time. New research from The Ohio State University argues that “preschoolers who are regularly tucked into bed by 8 p.m. are far less likely to become obese teenagers than young children who go to sleep later in the evening.”

The researchers grouped children’s bedtimes into three groups: before 8 p.m., between 8 and 9, and after 9 p.m. The children were then studied ten years later, when the children were around 15 years old, on their health. The results? Children in the after 9 category were twice as likely to be obese.

Of course, there is much more going on in a child’s life than simply a bedtime routine, like the relationship that child has with her mother, for example. But even when the researchers measured the quality of that relationship through video-recorded playtime, the results were still the same.

Help, My Kids Are Defiant

“That’s easy for you to say,” you might think. Some children, as you know, are little angels at bedtime, spreading their tiny cherub wings gracefully down the hallway and flittering into their cozy, miniature beds, saying, just before drifting off into a blissful unconscious state, “I love you, mommy. Your work ethic and schedule-keeping abilities are truly astounding. I’m grateful to be your child.”

Other children rage at the mention of bedtime, as if they just stepped off their motorcycle, and while, flinging their leather jacket onto the couch, silently brood and think, “What’re you gonna do about it?”

We know. We’ve been there too.

Help Is Here

A few things from the American Academy of Pediatrics might be particularly helpful. They say the key to starting a bedtime routine is in the three Bs: brush, book, bed.

First, establish a healthy teeth-brushing schedule. Help your child understand why we brush our teeth.

Second, read to your child for a little while before bed. The benefits of reading, and reading aloud to your children, could never be overstated.

Third, getting to bed at a decent hour and on a consistent schedule helps your child establish healthy routines and will serve him or her later in life.

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