Saturday, April 14, 2012

The magic duo of parenting


Sometimes my kid's needs become crystal clear.  Earlier this week (after a few late nights) I had one of those moments.  It isn't deep but it makes SUCH a difference to my children.

They need the magic duo - food and sleep.  After a few babies I worked out that most babies' issues are related to the magic duo.  What I hadn't reflected on until recently is that this doesn't stop when kids get older - I'm still pursuing the same goals!

They need good food that fills them up (actually, they need to eat the food that is given to them that fills them up - but my fussy eaters could take up another whole, long depressing post).

And they need a good amount of sleep.  My seven year old will not sleep in.  He always wakes early.  So if he goes to bed at 10 he will only get 8 hours sleep when he needs at least 10 hours to be civilised.   The amount of crying in a given day is directly related to the amount of sleep that my children have had.  It makes us a little obsessive about bedtimes.  It is our sanity at stake.

When people have asked what we did to get our son into a selective school I laugh and just say that we fed him good food and made him go to bed on time.  I always make a joke of it, but I actually think there is a truth to it.  There is so much evidence of a relationship between poor concentration and learning for kids who are eating the wrong types of food.

And I teach so many yawning kids each day at school that I know they can't be able to concentrate on what they are learning.  I had six kindy kids sound asleep in school assembly a few weeks ago - admittedly it was the end of the school day, but even still, on other days the teacher might be attempting to teach them something (we do get a lot of classes in the library last thing in the school day - when the teachers are all a bit over it).

Food and sleep.  Seems easy, but wow - does it not fill up a lot of our time?

7 comments:

michael and karen said...

Thanks Jen - so true - I have just picked up number 2 son early from a party - he only lasted 20 mins before feeling sick and overwhelmed. I have just realised that in holidays I become more flexible with bedtimes and hence he hasn't had enough sleep to cope. Early to bed for everyone tonight!

Rodney Olsen said...

It's amazing how many parents look for the secret formula for parenting when a lot of it comes down to the basics.

Kath said...

yes and yes. wise words Jenny. :)

Anonymous said...

So true! That's all I can say. Can't agree more.

Petrina said...

Oh yeah. We're sleep training the almost-4-month-old and what a difference it's making! Now tomorrow's battle will be the 2 year old who had 15 mins sleep in the car at 3pm and then wouldn't sleep for an hour at bedtime...

Karen said...

Yep. Totally agree.

Sandra said...

It is interesting the same patterns persist into teenage years (and probably beyond). The child that used to just get more and more manic as she got tired as a toddler is still completely unable to recognise her tiredness as a teenager. Similarly the one that would just announce mid dinner as a child 'I need to go to bed' (at which we would drop everything and guide her in the right direction) will still suddenly disappear and you will find she has taken herself off to bed.