Earlier to bed

April 21, 1993|By Boston Globe

If you have a feeling your child needs more sleep but haven't done anything about it, psychologist Arnold L. Stolberg suggests figuring out why not.

"Is it that you're so involved in a family activity or is it an increased laxness?" he asks. If it's the latter, parents need to examine their motives for keeping a child up late and make sure they aren't selfish. For instance, a single parent may need companionship, he says.

Instead of extending the evening, Dr. Stolberg suggests devising other ways to meet the family's needs:

* Get everyone to bed earlier and get them up earlier, so there's family time in the morning. Create some morning rituals.

* Structure the afternoon so that homework is not left until the evening. It's better to eliminate an extracurricular activity rather than playtime with friends.

* Alternate late nights with early nights -- 8:30 three nights a week, 9 p.m. for two nights.

* Cut back or drop extracurricular activities that take place in the evening.

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