By Heather Marcoux
Sometimes the bedtime battle can make a mama feel like it would be easier to just let the kids fall asleep whenever they want, but there are huge benefits to a consistent bedtime routine, and one big drawback to letting kids head to bed whenever.
A study out of the UK looked at the bedtime habits of 10,000 kids when they were between 3 and 7 years old and found that kids with non-regular bedtimes had more behavioral difficulties than those with a predictable bedtime routine.
The study was published in 2013 in the journal Pediatrics, and found that about 20% of parents said their 3-year-old did not have a consistent bedtime. The researchers found that kids who did not have a set bedtime scored higher when it comes to things like unhappiness, being inconsiderate and fighting. Those scores came not only from parent reports, but also from teachers of school-age kids, who rated the behavior of kids without regular bedtimes as more problematic.
According to the study’s lead researcher, Yvonne Kelly, putting kids to bed at 8 o’clock one night and 10 o’clock the next results in a kind of “social jet lag,” even if they’re getting the same hours of sleep