|Not so ugly ducklings|
We know as adults that mental stimulation is important to ward off diseases such as Alzheimer's. Having had a relative who suffered from this awful illness, I know it was also important that each day was structured and unvarying.
It seems that not only those effected by AD benefit following a set routine, but growing children do too. Researchers from University College London concluded that children's behaviours improved if routinely put to bed at a certain time each day. They studied 10,000 children in the UK between the ages of 3 and 7 years old and found that erratic bedtimes had the same effect on the kids as jet lag.
When I was a child, right through to my early teenage years I knew exactly what time was bedtime. Even if I stayed over at my grandmother's, or aunts, the rule set down by my parents was strictly adhered to. But, I didn't really have a problem with settling down at night because I looked forward to being read to by my parents, or the other adults within my family circle.
Whether it was an extract from Alice in Wonderland, Water Babies, or the fairy tale about the Ugly Duckling written by Hans Christian Anderson, I could hardly wait to hear the next chapter of one of the wonderful books that filled the bookcase in my bedroom. Going to bed was a rewarding time, not a time I dreaded.
A child going to bed shouldn't feel that's it on par with a trip to the orthodontist, it should be a time filled with happiness. We all function better as human beings if we're happy, so let's get into the routine of hushing a bye our babies with some bedtime reading.