parent by design:

day 12: read it and sleep

Part 2 of our night-time routine is simple but important.

night-time routine

Our night-time routine consists of three parts, two of which we detail here.

It's pretty simple, but no less important for it's simplicity:

  • 1
    READ: the kids read a book, preferably fiction, for 15 minutes.
  • 2
    SLEEP: the kids get to sleep as early as possible.

reading

Reading fiction is such a brilliant activity, but it can get lost in the noise of after school activities, homework, and the attraction of screens; which is why we schedule it each day.

The benefits to reading fiction are numerous, here are some of our favourite reasons:

  • It helps fuel your child's imagination, mental agility and vocabulary.
  • It helps your child to be more empathetic, they get to experience what it's like to be in someone else's shoes, empathy is an important attribute, it helps you have better relationships and is a skill that technology can't easily replicate.
  • Research has shown that reading for just 6 minutes can reduce stress levels and relax the mind- especially important to switch off mentally from a busy day and/or screen overload.

how we do it

Mostly our kids get in bed and read a book, but we also like to mix it up a little.

Research shows that audio books can actually be more beneficial as they free the visual part of the mind used for reading and allow it to to dedicate itself purely to imagining what is happening in the story.

There are some great free audio resources out there, which we list below:

  • Loyal Books: Free public domain audiobooks and ebooks.
  • Archive.org: a non-profit library of millions of free books and other stuff like old radio shows and plays.
  • Audiobook treasury: lots of free and paid audiobooks to choose from.

sleeping

Kids hate going to be early but, on a school night we send our little treasures to bed as early as we can without having a mutiny on our hands.

We do this because:

  • Research shows that adequate sleep is the most important contributory factor in the mental health and wellbeing of teenagers, it also improves attention, behaviour, learning, and memory- so kids do better in school too.
  • Studies have also shown that students who sleep more get better grades than those who sleep less. 
  • Sleep is also important for brain health. Sleep helps the brain to clean itself of certain toxins that build up whilst we are awake. These toxins are found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, so not only are you helping your child be sharper during the day in the short-term, you are potentially helping them in later life too. 

In short, put them to bed as early as you can, the moans and groans are worth it!