Be Strict About Bedtime, Even If You're Not There for It
A study published in 2013 in the journal Pediatrics found that seven-year-olds who had irregular bedtimes had more behavioral problems than did those with consistent bedtimes. And the longer the lack of a strict bedtime went on, the worse the problems became. If you work outside the home, it's hard to come through the door and immediately tuck the kids into bed. Who wouldn't want to spend an extra hour playing when you haven't seen them all day? But sticking to bedtime is better for your family. "We all make sacrifices," says Heather Taylor, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Morrissey-Compton Educational Center, in Palo Alto, California. "If a parent can't be there, call or video-chat to say good night. Just be part of the routine."