- Kids Health
Kids don't sleep on sugar
I just had to write this hub for parents of preschoolers out there who might be thinking - why don't my kids go to bed and why are they still running around the house so late into the night?
The culprit we thought we found was SUGAR but studies say we are wrong!
Despite what the studies say, there is a popular belief that it is sugar that accompanies changes in behaviour.
We were convinced we noticed a change in the energy of our kids if we cut back on sweets at night!
What happens in our house at evening mealtime?
The general principle in our house is that if you eat the nutritious part of the evening meal, you can look forward to pudding and treats afterwards.
The rule is: no pudding or treats if you don't.
This has worked for our family (does it for others? - please let us know), but we are in a quandry over whether the pudding and treat side of the evening meal also requires rethinking or tweaking.
As mentioned, we have found if the kids are going to wind down for the evening we need to keep the level of sugar intake down.
As a quick aside, might I add also that we have used the mealtime rule to gauge if our kids have a tummy upset. If the 'sick one' says she doesn't want to eat dinner and you offer her sweets and chocolates instead and her face lights up! You know she is not really sick!
But studies have shown sugar actually DOESN'T change behaviour in children - one minute your kids could be calm and behaving normally - the next they are running wild and out of control but it is NOT the sugar so the studies tell us.
Are they authoritative or should we still rely on our intuition as the authority here?
Or is this a question of semantics? If studies say it does not change behaviour, does it change energy though?
But I thought in writing this hub that there was a case to look into this further and the real culprit might actually be chocolate that is turning the house into a circus!
But, strangely again, a on study had this to say about chocolate and preschoolers:
[Our] findings raise questions about the popular perception that chocolate promotes poor attention and increased activity in preschool children.
The study took 26 children, read them a story and rated their behaviour by observation before and 30 minutes after consuming chocolate OR dried fruit. The observers were blind raters which is to say they had no idea which children had eaten fruit or chocolate as they watched a videotape of the group.
Does this mean it is not sugar or chocolate that is to blame for kids not sleeping?
Where is the answer here? Get a babysitter?
We have observed that our children will behave well for others but not for us!
Other parents have also observed this one!
as parents lets give ourselves a pat on the back for assuring our children they can happily live in defiance of us! Our houses are democracies with healthy debate and rights not dictatorships! Our children believe and act as if they are FREE to question our authority and opinions and we wouldn't want it any other way, would we?
Well sometimes it is nice to know they will follow our beliefs about what should happen at bedtime!
So we plead rather than instruct and they bond with us better.
So, if you are a parent of preschoolers accept you are doing well...
But if you thought it was something else, studies show otherwise. You can't blame the sugar, you can't blame the chocolate.....
you will just have to take a look in the mirror, not squirm, but face it - you want your kids to be self-assertive, have fun, not necessarily listen to you but it turns your household into a night circus!
What to do?
Parenting trick Numero Uno...now this is a good one and I think it just might be the answer for those irreverent preschoolers!
Run them ragged! on the street, on the see saw on their bikes, up hills, down dales their having fun and getting plenty of EXERCISE and FRESH AIR and without even knowing your plan they are getting ready for bed!
Parenting trick Number Two:
(My sister taught me this one)
DON'T LET THEM HAVE A SLEEP during the day. That's a real no no - my sister can take a lot of credit for this one - I'm grateful to her.
So there you are...
Now all you have to do is find the time! Easy, eh?