Getting The Kids Back On A Sleep Schedule After Summer

o-STUDENTS-SLEEP-facebookMy kids are back in school, yes freedom at last. I do not have to worry about the classic line. “Dad, I’m bored.”  Let’s get to bed early because the bus comes pretty early and that means they have to get up earlier. After a summer of late nights watching movies, playing video games and hanging with friends, the honeymoon is over kids! Time for back to school and concentrating on grades and after school activities.

Sounded good but then a whole other set of problems arose that I tend to put in the back of my mind. School projects, football practice and games, art club and the dreaded “My boyfriend and I want to go to the movies” tugging at the remaining hours of the day.

Okay, “But it’s Wednesday night, this is a school night”, and so the fight goes on.

The homework comes rushing in and the extracurricular activities delay the inevitable task of homework and studying, dinner and any sensible conversation from either party. My worries grow exponentially. I want a well-rounded child but managing the whole sleep thing just got way to complicated.

The reality is pretty straightforward –  no one wants my child to sleep except me. Neither my daughter nor my son wants to go to sleep. Video games are very exciting and stimulating and the weaning process is flat out exhausting (curses to you Xbox!). There are to many ways to “talk” to your friends. Twitter, Facebook, Skype, texting and of course the “Dad will never know” phone conversation at 1 AM. The coaches need to put in that extra practice time because the team needs a little extra after last week’s loss. The monumental task of integrating homework between teachers is never going to happen so on any one given day it becomes paramount to a college “all-nighter” to get the homework done.

Sluggish and struggling from the transition of a summer of long days and endless nights, we all struggle with the issue of sleep for our children. As parents we really don’t change much in the way of sleep patterns. And for those of us that struggle or have those situational changes we resort to a good cup of java! Well, so do our kids. I don’t mean it is necessarily coffee but they reach for some sort of sleep deprived stimulant. Monster, AMP, Full Throttle, 5 Hour Energy and all types of teas help the lethargy that is school induced “zombie” children.

Years ago I was told that if you gave 4o hours of effort into school work you’d be a straight “A” student. If you added in classroom work and homework with study time for a combined 40 hours you’d be able to get really good grades. I believed it and I still do. I preach it. So how do I get the buy in from my kids? Rules and discipline are the only way unless you have the rare child that is driven to excel. We fight an uphill battle with technology and the “Jones Complex” of everyone else is doing it. I don’t care Xbox –  you aren’t pulling my child from me. And last time I looked, 5 Hour Energy drink isn’t sponsoring my car let alone my child.

Where do we start?

  • It’s 9 PM, technology, you get your fanny straight to the kitchen counter and don’t get off that counter until I tell you it’s okay like when my kids leave to get on the bus.
  • Mr. Xbox it’s weekends only for you unless you start to erode my child’s brain and then it’s summer, vacations or not at all.
  • Monster (perfectly named) you can forget it. You and your buddies have no place in my house or the bubble that is my parental force field enveloping my child throughout the day. Ever hear of glycemic control? Of course not! Monsters don’t have rules.
  • Coach I appreciate your desire to make my child an NFL superstar but I really need him to make the grades. Based on my iPhone calculator I have figured that the odds of being in the NFL are approximately .009976%. I see a lottery ticket in my future.

Diet, exercise and sleep are the backbone of quality health. Kids are rarely disciplined enough to comply. As we look around the influences today they are staggering! It’s difficult to monitor and control everything our children are involved in or influenced by. It’s pretty exciting to fight an Alien at 11:30 at night sipping on a Rockstar eating Reece’s pieces with another kid from Japan on the other side of the planet. Thing is, I get to pull the plug!