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baby’s bedtime

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on children’s bedtime. It included the results of a scientific study and some very unscientific conclusions. I’ll help you distinguish between the two.

First the study results:

“Researchers at the University of London found that children with steady bedtimes are less likely to misbehave.”

“Children with inconsistent bedtimes are more likely to have behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, problems with peers and emotional difficulties.”

” If erratic bedtimes were not tackled parents could expect their child’s behaviour to progressively deteriorate.”

Now where the Chronicle writers veer off from the scientific method:

… entirely logical that you should put your kids to bed at the same time—yet accomplishing consistency isn’t easy.

… These children suffer from sleep deprivation and act similarly to someone suffering from jet lag.

…countless things get in the way of a regular bed hour.

…in other words, well-rested kids are sitting quietly on the carpet in kindergarten.

Real scientists avoid conclusions that could have other explanations. They use controls, blinds, double-blinds and other tools. But that is not taught at the Chronicle, journalism classes or, unfortunately, many modern science classes.

Anyone with much experience around parents and children know that families where [one or] two adults are actually in charge are far calmer, more peaceful and better organized than those so-called “permissive” households … the ones where the children are in charge.

Those adult-run ones are the same households with consistent bedtimes. Ya’see, adults understand this stuff.

Adults also know the difference between pretty-colored, well-marketed junk food and a healthy diet … preferring and actually insisting on the former rather than the latter. When little kids are in charge, their diets include sugar, chemicals and food dye in dosages that are well known to cause behaior problems.

When parents are in control, bullying and fighting are minimized. There again removing sources of trauma and behaiour problems.

Parents notice problems with children whose television viewing is excessive. Children don’t know when to walk away from the flashing lights, pretty colors and enticing sounds.

There are certainly more, but I’ll leave you to that. I just want to mention in parting the last of their conclusions I featured above about the “well-rested kids sitting quietly on the carpet”.

I vehemently object to THAT being either desirable or a measure of behaior superiority. While having THE ABILITY to sit quietly and peacefully is a good thing, so are active engagement in life, curiosity, energy and exuberance.

Modern prescription psychotropics can and does give us all we can want of doped-down kids regardless of whatever else is going on in their heads and world. We most certainly don’t need more of that.