For over 50 years I have resented sleep. It is so demanding. It interrupts my plans. It is such a waste of my time when there are so many things I would rather be doing. Many children feel the same way. Many do not want to go to bed, ever. I understand.
As a toddler my parents had difficulty getting me to sleep every night. Long after my older sister was asleep and my parents wished that I was asleep I was still awake. Of course, they were wiser than I was and knew that I needed my sleep and they required theirs. Every night they eventually won the battle.
Certainly, children need their sleep at night. Babies and toddlers also need naps. Parents need their children to take naps. It is beneficial for all parties. Whining, rubbing eyes, and unexplainable emotional meltdowns are signs of a child necessitating a nap. I am thankful all my children napped everyday through age three and a few beyond that. It seems once they reached age four naps became the exception and not the routine. Occasionally I would find a four or five year old in a heap asleep in some random location.
Young children who don’t require naps still profit from a quiet time. For many years I had a scheduled quiet hour after lunch for myself and my children who were no longer napping. It was during the nap time of younger siblings. Each child could play quietly alone on their bed. No talking and if I were doing this today I would add no electronics. I also did something quiet in my room such as reading or handwork. I did not allow myself to do housework. This routine helped us all get along better. Quiet time rarely existed in the summer because the children played outside whenever possible.
Because I don’t like to go to bed I also don’t like to wake up. Most babies, toddlers and young children love to wake up Early. In the spring as the days were lengthening in both directions and the clocks had not yet “sprung ahead” was always the roughest time for me. Undoubtedly whenever I managed to wake up early thinking I would have a few minutes of quiet to myself the children in their sleep seemed to sense I was up and also awoke early. Around age six I taught them to read a clock and gave them a clock with the instructions that they were not to get up until after 7 a.m. Knowing how to tell time is a useful skill. Check out the following creative clock use idea: www.mamawise.org/sleeping/kids-waking-up-too-early
A few years ago my friend, Don, gently scolded me when I explained to him that I felt sleep was a waste of my time. He reminded me that sleep was God’s design for us. Sleep rejuvenates us and keeps us healthy. God gave us an example when he rested (you know he wasn’t tired) on the seventh day of creation week. Later he gave us a command to also rest one day a week from our work. I suspect this logical reasoning will not help any parent get their child to bed at night, but it has helped me gain a new perspective on sleep. I really try to get to bed each night by midnight. But not tonight.