with Talyaa Liera
I'm Talyaa, the poster child for the concept that there's no one right way to be a parent. I went from stay-at-home attachment-parenting mom of four to being the non-custodial parent, working as a professional writer and channel-psychic. Let's talk about throwing away the parenting manual and exploding the myths and mystique of motherhood!
Check out my personal blog at Juxtapositioning.
New evidence suggests what we parents have long suspected — kids are not actually human. They are robots programmed to look and act human. BUT THEY DO NOT SLEEP. Dead giveaway. Robots don’t sleep. How else can we explain 112 years of sleep studies, all saying that kids don’t get enough sleep?
Oh, sure. We can decry societal ills and the hectic pace of modern living all day long. We can blame technogeeks for creating the Xbox, so kids are forced to play video games into the wee hours. We can blame schools for assigning ceiling-high piles of homework every night so kids have to stay up memorizing facts about the Punic Wars. We can — as our forebears did 100 years ago — blame dear Mr. Edison for inventing the light bulb so that we not only burn candles at both ends but also scoff at the power of the Greek god Helios, who nightly drives a chariot pulling the sun into the ocean (what? you haven’t seen this dude?).
But all that blame simply shifts attention away from the sad fact that CHILDREN ARE ROBOTS.
Or…wait. It could mean that we don’t really know how much sleep kids should get. We guess but we’re not sure. In fact, here’s something interesting — suggested sleep needs for kids varies by country. Which tells me that it’s really one huge guessing game, flavored by social expectations (Japanese kids, for instance, are expected to fall asleep in class because they’ve stayed up late studying the night before — how do you like that?).
So here’s my suggestion. Throw sleep studies out the window. Track your kid (or robot, whatever, who am I to judge robots?). Does he/she fall asleep in school? Does he/she wake up easily in the morning? What about bedtime — easy or hard to fall asleep? Are you a Napping Family? My guess is that no two kids have exactly the same needs. Trying to cram them into one big Sleep Needs box seems ridiculous.
How to find out if your kid needs more sleep? Start with the suggested rule of thumb. According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies between the ages of 3 to 11 months should sleep for a total of 14 to 15 hours. Toddlers between 1 to 3 years old should get 12 to 14 hours. Preschoolers need 11 to 13 hours, and elementary schoolers should sleep between 10 to 11 hours. Older children and teens need a minimum of 8½ hours. So they say. (Actual robots need less.)
And then track. Gauge whininess and tantrums. Ask your kid. Notice if he/she does a dinnertime faceplant into his/her mashed potatoes. Experiment with earlier and later bedtimes. And do your best to harness the piles of homework and Xbox abuse into manageable pre-bedtime bits.
And try not to think about your kid being a robot.
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