Should Kids Have A Bedtime?

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        I strongly believe that children should not have bedtimes. Kids should not have a bedtime because they are capable of listening to their bodies. Children learn from birth to trust their own bodies and the way they feel. If you broke a bone you could tell it doesn’t feel right, it hurts. There was a girl who couldn’t feel pain but she still knew she broke her back because something didn’t feel right and she trusted her body. Kids also shouldn’t have a bedtime because it’s counterproductive, it creates unhelpful sleep associations, and children have the right to decide when they should sleep.

        One reason, children shouldn’t be given bedtimes includes the fact that human beings are capable of listening to their own bodies. Newborn babies go to sleep whenever they feel that they need a rest because they are tired and that shouldn’t change as you grow older. As stated in the article, “8 Reasons to NOT Give Kids a Bedtime,” “When we try to control a child’s sleep and force them to bed at set times we interrupt their learning about their own bodies. They may begin to distrust themselves, believing that others know their body better than they do and that what they feel is unimportant. Eventually, they may lose the ability to hear their body’s tiredness signals, having had that opportunity regularly taken away from them. Children without control are very capable of knowing when they need to sleep, and less likely to resist meeting their own needs.” This means that if you give a child a bedtime they may not know when they are tired anymore because you are telling them that you know their body better than they do. Children should not have a bedtime because they have the ability to listen to their body and bedtimes can ruin this ability.

        Another reason, children should not have betimes is because it is counterproductive. Our bodies have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm. This rhythm is when our bodies tell us when to go to sleep and other daily things like eat. The same article states, “there is no need to dictate to anyone when they should feel sleepy, their body has that covered. In fact, it’s counterproductive! Trying to put a child to bed who is not sleepy is fighting a losing battle. Instead of the rest you are after, all you end up causing is more stress for everyone.” The author means that you shouldn’t tell people when to go to sleep because it is counterproductive and it causes stress for the whole family. Your child could be coming into your room in the middle of the night crying because they can’t sleep. This disturbs you and anyone else in the house who is trying to sleep.

        Also, kids shouldn’t have a bedtime because it creates unhelpful sleep associations. If your bedtime is earlier than your body is tired, it wont go to sleep. You will be lying their worrying and stressing about things that wouldn’t happen if you just went to sleep when you are ready. The article states, “Have you ever laid in bed unable to get to sleep? Your mind incapable of switching off, and the longer you lay there the harder it gets to find sleep? Do you know what advice they give people suffering from insomnia in those situations? Get up out of bed and go back when you feel sleepy. Lying in bed thinking, worrying, upset, or busy doing other things is not good sleep hygiene. After many hours spent lying in bed fighting bedtime, children who are forced to bed unwillingly are likely to associate sleep with negative feelings. In the pursuit of ensuring children get enough sleep, we may actually be setting them up to dislike and resist it.” This means that by forcing a child to go to sleep at a certain time they may learn to not want to go to sleep because it makes them connect sleeping to stress.

        Kids have the right to decide when to go to sleep therefore, they shouldn’t have a set time. Magda Gerber states, “I wish children could grow according to their natural pace: sleep when sleepy, wake up when rested, eat when hungry, cry when upset, play and explore without being unnecessarily interrupted; in other words, be allowed to grow and blossom as each was meant to.” What she means by this is kids should be able to do what their bodies tell them when they need to. You don’t tell your child when to cry so why would you tell them when to sleep? Everyone’s body is different and everyone should go to sleep, eat, cry, and grow when their body is ready. Also, people have the right to bodily autonomy meaning their body, their choices and kids are people to.

        As you may see, children should not have a bedtime for many reasons. Including, kids can read their bodies, it’s counterproductive, it creates unhelpful sleep associations, and children have the right to decide when they should sleep.I strongly believe that children should not have a bedtime for these reasons.

8 Reasons Not to Give Kids a Bedtime.

1 Comment

  • True, but kids would stay up all night if there wasn’t a bedtime. Not all kids listen to their bodies. If they make bad choices with food, etc, then they won’t make good decisions with bedtimes. Most often the things kids want the most are the things that are not good for you. (For example, video games or junk food.) The only positive part of letting them stay up really late is that it will let them see how that can impact their day negatively. But then, I’m just sharing my opinion. If you are reading this, thank you for taking the time to read this really, really long comment.

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