According to the UK Millennial Cohort Study (MCS), irregular bedtimes are associated with poor performance in reading, math and balance studies in both boys and girls. Some part of me says, "Really???? We have to have a study to tell us parents should put children to bed at the same time every night?" What used to be such common practice now has to be dissected, studied, put back together in flowery language and what do we get? Didn't we know all along that children between the ages of 3 and 7 should be in bed by 7:30- 8:30 every night? I guess we didn't (but I did).
So, in case you, or someone who takes care of children you love (read you are the grandparent,aunt, uncle, neighbor, teacher, etc) doesn't "get it", here it is.
Young children need sleep. Their sleep cycles should be orderly. That means they should go to bed at the same time every night. Waking up is a little different---this can be a time where they get needed extra sleep during times of stress, sickness and/or growth spurts. Naps can also help close those gaps when extra sleep is needed.
An orderly sleeping pattern. Couple that with healthy, home-cooked food, playing outside for extended periods of time and a mother and father in the same household and what do you have? Leave It to Beaver! The American idyllic childhood. And what do those childhoods produce? HEALTHY, WELL-ADJUSTED CHILDREN WHO THRIVE.
I don't mean to be so brash, but it is frustrating me to no end that young mothers (collectively, not individually) discard the wisdom of the previous generations and hang on every syllable published under the guise of "research". I talk to LOTS of new grandmothers and they unanimously tell me they aren't allowed to offer advice. Really? They have successfully raised children, but advice must come from pediatricians (who are in an office with children for 5 minutes at a time, not home raising them) and researchers (see previous parentheses)??
Consider, PLEASE CONSIDER, if you are a young mother, listening to the wisdom of someone who has actually raised children. Someone who has successfully completed the same task you are beginning should be considered a reliable source of information. PLEASE. Because if you don't, we're going to have to spend money researching and proving what every seasoned mother already knows.
And, by the way, it's 8 pm CDT----are your kids in bed?
You may read the study referenced here: http://www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/1858883/report-young-kids-brain-power-curbed-by-irregular-bed-times