Yours, ours, and theirs. It’s a tool. It’s a lifelong skill. When things get rough with a child, go back and clean up bedrooms and everyone's sleep routine. This is a bit of a paradox because you can’t MAKE someone go to sleep AND you can do a lot around the whole sleep topic to make the bedtime/sleep time more effective, successful and pleasant. Take a quick look at Underused Parenting Tool: Sleep for specific recommendations and sleep requirements broken down by age.
If you want more detailed information on sleep and the brain, check out The Organized Mind. Daniel Levitin shares detailed scientific research about sleep and it’s truly fascinating. Here’s a good juicy quote: “Sleep is among the most critical factors for peak performance, memory, productivity, immune function and mood regulation". If you live with children, who couldn’t benefit from better MOOD REGULATION? He is pro nap! Check out what happens, for you and your young child when we nap: “Naps also allow for the recalibration of our emotional equilibrium-after being exposed to angry and frightening stimuli, a nap can turn around negative emotions and increase happiness." Think new power struggle de-escalation strategy – take a nap!
For the teen set, Michael Bradley has this sobering thought on sleep, ". . .some frighteningly large percentage of what we diagnose, therapies, and powerfully medicate as adolescent mental illness is actually sleep deprivation." Teens need nine hours a night, if they have to wake up at 6:30 am - that's a 9:30 pm bedtime with a DEVICE DOWN time of 8:30pm. Close to impossible in our culture of AP classes, full year sports, and time spent socializing online.
Never underestimate the power of sleep to increase family harmony and cooperation.