As I reflect back on the past month, and think about our progress as a family towards living a healthy lifestyle, with our first commitment to healthy hydration (which I wrote about HERE), I think we’ve done well. While there’s still progress to be made, we’re making daily strides to drink more water. That has allowed me to focus on our next goal which is all about SLEEP, and more of it!
As parents, we’re all told about the importance of schedules. Stick your kids to a schedule and you’ll have an easier time parenting or at the very least, it will help alleviate some parenting challenges. Because truly, nothing can remove all parenting challenges. But I digress…
Several of my friends swear by sleep schedules for their kids. In fact, I believe that most of my mom friends had a very strict routine when it came to their kids and it typically revolved around naps and bed time. Specifically, my friends had to be home for naps and bed time! Sure they might have missed out on some fun or get-togethers, but they had a well rested, alert child who didn’t fuss (as much), so it was worth it.
Some of my friends adhered to this strict schedule with their first kid but couldn’t keep it up once they had their second because their first kid was now older and had their own schedule of activities.
I, on the other hand, threw schedules out of the window immediately. To be fair, my oldest son Kyle wasn’t much of a napper so we didn’t have a schedule or a routine. By the time he did start napping regularly (at a year and a half), he refused to nap in his crib and would only fall asleep in the car. It got exhausting going for drives every day (especially in the winter) even though I was able to successfully transfer him from the car into a stroller. While we did keep to a fairly regular bedtime, we didn’t mind if on the odd occasion (typically every Friday night), he would go to sleep much later than his regular bedtime.
Regardless of our differences in parenting, my friends and I didn’t try to convince one another of the benefits to each scenario. We just realized that each parent has to choose what will make them happy and what worked best for their family. However, I do see the benefits of having a consistent schedule for napping and bed time.
In fact, this past month we all got really sick with the stomach flu. If I hadn’t been as strict or adamant about some of the routines, including drinking lots of water and going to bed early, the kids would have only felt worse.
So after six years and three kids and doing it all in a variety of different ways I realized that sleep schedules are key but so is flexibility. I had Nate, my youngest, on a strict napping-in-his-crib schedule, but he gave it up the earliest compared to my other two kids. That’s why I try to keep to an early bed time to compensate. I know that if he doesn’t get the full 12 hours, he will just be a mess the next day. Adhering to a sleeping schedule, along with eating healthier and drinking more water, is definitely one of my priorities this year as I focus on my family’s healthy life-style.
At the same time, on occasion, we will make exceptions to the sleep schedule. We want to continue to live our life to the fullest, and if it means going to bed late once in a while, or even once a week, so be it! At least that’s how we have decided to parent.
What about you? Do you have a strict nap / sleep schedule and are you willing to make exceptions? Share your own story with the hashag #DrinkBetterLiveBetter and head to Today’s Parent for more healthy hydration tips!
Disclosure: I received compensation for participating in the Nestlé Pure Life program. All opinions are my own!