HAVANA TIMES — “Let’s go, time to brush your teeth and go to bed,” I say to my children from the kitchen, while I prepare their school lunches and drink a cola I got for my birthday.
“Why do we always have to go to bed so early, mom?” one of them grumbles. “I’m not even tired, I didn’t have physical education at school today,” the other one complains.
It’s the same every day: every time I tell them to go to sleep they either want to read or watch something on television, or simply chat among themselves. “How do they have so much energy all the time?” I wonder, for, that late in the day, I manage to stand up by mere inertia.
Determined to put an end to the griping once and for all, I decided to sit with them a while and explain to them why it is important for children to go to bed early.
“I would say the same thing to my mom, that I didn’t want to go to sleep, that I wasn’t tired or anything like that, or that I wanted to read a bit. There were no computers or DVD players at the time,” I begin telling them, enthused.
“But there are many things to do that are better than sleeping now,” Tania interjects.
“My mom used to say to me that children who sleep well grow up quickly, and that people who don’t are always in a bad mood. I thought that was just a story to convince me to go to bed early, to put me to bed and be able to get some rest early, but, later, I found out she was very right, that sleeping is as important as having a balanced diet or exercising,” I said to them.
There were no other interruptions, and I continued:
“Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone, especially children. First, because the body needs rest to work well the next day. Even animals need that. Second, because the brain needs rest so that you can focus at school, learn music or practice a sport. Third, children who don’t get enough sleep grow less and get sick more often.”
I don’t how much of my explanation they actually understood, much less how much of it they actually listened to. When I was finished, the two were already asleep.