Being the parent of a young child requires a lot of energy; it can be exhausting!  Consequently, most parents look forward to their young children’s bedtimes because it means that they can rest, too!  In addition to giving parents some welcome rest and helping him grow properly, new research shows that having regular bed times has another very important benefit for your child.  According to an article on the Science Daily website, researchers have found that “going to be at different times every night throughout early childhood seems to curb children’s brain power.”

The researchers looked at the effects of children aged 3, 5, and 7 to learn the impact of family routines, including bedtimes.  They wanted to know if a child’s bedtime affected a child’s intellectual performance on reading, math, and spatial tests.  They also wanted to learn if any particular time in early childhood were more critical than others.  They learned that even though three-year olds were more likely to have irregular bedtimes, by age 7, most of the subjects went to bed regularly between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

The outcomes differed by gender.  Seven-year-old girls with irregular bedtimes tended to score lower on all measures of the intellectual tests, but this was not true for boys.  It seems that irregular bedtimes at 3 years old seems to affect all children whose test scores were lower.  The authors surmised, “…around the age of 3 could be a sensitive period for cognitive development.”  Girls who never had regular betimes score significantly lower in al three testing areas, but boys who did not have regular bedtimes during any two of the three ages scored just as poorly as the girls who never had regular bedtimes.

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