Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sleep Issues & Real Life

 For years, I've let my children sleep however late, and go to bed at whatever hour. It worked well for our homeschooling lifestyle. We got up early when we needed to be somewhere. We went to bed when we were done with our day. But I would frequently be accosted by people saying,  "How will they be able to hold down a job - follow a schedule - adhere to expectations -- if I never impose any on them as children?" Well, it's a non-issue. It's like practicing the act of waiting in line. Or working on eating. Honestly, when they were younger, I'd think, "well, they just won't choose a job that conflicts with their natural rhythm." They seemed to be night owls and there are plenty of jobs that "start late."

But that's not what happened.

What actually happened is that they found a job they wanted, and they made their own rhythm cooperate. They are not late to work. I sometimes don't even get up with them! They have alarm clocks. They shower. They manage just fine thank-you-very- much (I don't mean that snappy tone for you all - just my long ago naysayers!) Katie proved this to me when she went to stay with her grandma in Dallas so she could attend a month-long intensive drama program. She got herself up at 5 a.m., checked her email, fixed her breakfast, showered, dressed, and caught the city bus to go downtown. She was 15. She's nearly 19 now, and if she needs to be at work or go to an audition or take a class, she gets herself there on time. She is aware that she needs to go to bed earlier than usual, and just goes.

Michael and Katie's first jobs were at Barnes and Noble. They had a lot of 7 a.m. shifts.  They were never late because they wanted to sleep in.  At 13, Alyssa started going to cheerleading competition on weekends. We frequently stayed in hotels and had to be at the competition by 7 a.m. That meant she usually needed to start getting ready around 5:45. She jumped right up and started getting ready. Now she's in school and has to be up by 7:30 every weekday.  She has no problem with it. Sure, she sleeps until noon on the weekends when she can, but she stays up late then too. And it's not because she had to practice to do this.

So, that's my real life experience with kids and sleep schedules. No one needed to rehearse getting up early. They did/do it when they need to.

Just an interesting little fact... at least to me.

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