Charisse Tierney's first-grader intuitively knows what time-management experts teach about good sleep habits.
I have a 6-year-old daughter who is adamant about keeping a strict bedtime. I know this seems like every parent’s dream, but it can create some stressful moments in our household.
I have to remember to prepare her for the occasional evening we might be out past her bedtime doing something outside of our usual routine. And if we are out past her bedtime, or we have friends visiting past her bedtime, or I get caught up with a project and put off helping her through her bedtime routine, a mild panic attack can ensue.
I try to calm her down and explain to her that it’s okay to be up a bit later on occasion, or that bedtime doesn’t have to be enforced to the minute every single night … but maybe she has a point.
In Laura Vanderkam's book Tranquility by Tuesday, the first rule to “calm the chaos and make time for what matters” is to give yourself a bedtime.
Getting enough sleep allows me to feel my best, function at my best, and contribute positively to the world around me. Going to bed early allows me to rise early and enjoy some quiet moments with God and a hot cup of coffee before my household starts to stir.15 minutes of work time in the morning after a good night’s sleep is far more productive than one hour of attempted work after the wear and tear of the day has dulled my brain.
I am usually terrible at going to bed. I either have work I want to try to finish, or I want to just have a few more minutes to myself before going to sleep and starting our joyful but hectic daily life all over again.
Most of all, going to bed forces me to admit my limitations.
Another to-do list unfinished, another moment of admitting that I do, indeed, get tired and can’t work late into the night without paying dearly for it the next day. Another night when I come to the point where I have to admit that I can’t do it all.
But my 6-year-old doesn’t see it that way. She worked hard, played hard, and loved hard, and now it is time to surrender the day and rest. There is much more that she could have done, but she gets in her bed at her designated bedtime and is content with what she has done, knowing she will have the energy to give the next day all that she has again.
Copyright 2023 Charisse Tierney
Images: (top, bottom) Canva; (center) copyright 2023 Charisse Tierney, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Charisse Tierney lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Rob and seven children. Charisse is a stay-at-home mom, musician, NFP teacher, and a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist. She is also a contributing author to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion and Family Foundations magazine. Charisse blogs at Paving the Path to Purity and can be found on Facebook.