Difficult Topics, Easy Action Items, Great for All Ages, Self-Advocacy, The Happy Student Podcast

#92: A Resolution that’s Actually Good for You

Resolutions are not always good for you. Sometimes they can lead to burnout and feelings of inadequacy. Let’s resolve this year to do stuff that is good for us and for our kids – like get more sleep! A lack of sleep is currently leading to a public health crisis. Let’s help our kids lead happy, healthy, productive lives by helping them (and us) prioritize sleep!

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…

The Every Mom: “8 Doable New Year’s Resolutions for Moms” suggests resolutions we need. The resolutions are:

  1. “I resolve to put myself on the [to do] list”
  2. “I resolve to put down my phone”
  3. “I resolve to accept the mess”
  4. “I resolve to lean in to fun”
  5. “I resolve to let go of perfect”
  6. “I resolve to treat my body with kindness”
  7. “I resolve to leave space on my calendar”
  8. “Above all, I resolve to give myself grace

The thing about the “hustle” is that it’s not being shown to make people’s lives better. It’s leading to burnout. Do we want our kids to grow up and hustle and burn out? Or do we want them to grow up and have a great work-life balance in which they feel like they are really living a good life? I vote for the good life. Especially because, as I’ve argued before, that good life actually makes you more productive and is better for your career in the long run. And if we want our kids to behave in ways that will promote the good life, we have to too because they will do as we do.

The Washington Post just published an article “Go to Bed! Brain researchers warn that lack of sleep is a public health crisis”. The article says, “The growing consensus is that casual disregard for sleep is wrongheaded – even downright dangerous”.

Researchers are showing that:

  • Preschoolers, so kids ages about 3-5, who skip naps have worse memory than those who take naps. The kids who get more sleep overnight, but who missed naps, still have a worse memory.
  • Poor sleep may be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
  • And bad sleep habits, like those all-nighters, can increase anxiety and feelings of loneliness.
  • As the article says, “’It used to be popular for people to say, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’ The ironic thing is, not sleeping may get you there sooner.’”

How do you get more sleep for your kids?

Prioritize sleep for yourself. Your kids will hear what you say about sleep being important, but if they see that you skip sleep, they will realize that in theory it’s nice to get sleep, but if you have something to do, you should skip it. They will do what you do.

  • How do you prioritize sleep for yourself? Remind yourself what you value. I value a happy, healthy, long life. So when it’s getting close to bedtime and I haven’t put away the laundry or responded to Fireborn’s Instagram comments, I think, yes, those things are important. But deep down what I value is that happy, healthy, long life. So it is time to go to bed. Those things can wait. As The Every Mom says, “I resolve to accept the mess” because what is important is my sleep. I’m also following another of The Every Mom’s resolutions – to put myself on the to do list. I’m sleeping because I am worth it.

Reduce the number of after-school activities your kids participate in so they can take naps or get their homework done earlier so they can go to sleep.

Establish bedtime routines to help your kids calm down and fall asleep easily so that they have good sleep habits for the rest of their lives.

Institute a no-smartphone policy for after a certain hour so that you kids can get uninterrupted sleep. This one is hard with older kids and will require a serious conversation with your kids about the reasoning behind it so that they really understand. They may not like it, but if they understand it they will be more likely to comply.

Let your teens sleep as late as they want on the weekends. It’s a natural part of their development that they want to sleep late. So don’t wake them up early because they are “wasting the day away”. That sleep is not a waste. They need it. Their bodies crave it. Let them have it.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

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