Are French children calmer than other kids? Honestly, I have no idea. But I do hear a lot of North American Moms saying how well-behaved French kids seem to be. “How do you get them to sit still like that for an entire  family meal?” they ask. Well, childrearing in France is certainly more laid back than when I was a kid, but it’s still pretty strict about lots of things, and that includes bedtime rules. Preschoolers, for instance, are supposed to be in bed by 8pm at the latest (earlier if they’re sleepy), and too bad if Mom or Dad (or both) aren’t home from work yet. Like all children, after a long tiring day at school, French kids may be cranky, anxious, or rambunctious. How do you get them to sleep under those circumstances?

According to a study by SRI International, preschool children should get a minimum of 11 hours of sleep each night, otherwise there may be negative consequences for their development and school achievement. TV and video games can also make it harder for some kids to fall asleep. 

Bedtime shouldn’t be a battle, so what’s a mother to do?

Try a “rational” conversation. “Sleeping’s important”.  “You need your rest”  “It’s not a punishment; it’s good for you”.  “It’s important for your body rhythm”. Maybe the little guy or gal will begin to nod off ‘round about midnight ” and his/her folks can finally have the evening to themselves.

Use relaxation exercises. Simple and fun. A playful way for a child to wind down and drop off more easily. Relaxation exercises relieve the child’s muscular and mental stress..

Pretend to be a tree Explain in a deep voice: “Plant your roots in the ground.”  (Plant your feet). “Raise your branches (arms) to the sky. Swing gently in the wind”. A sweet game to calm down an overexcited child.

Aim at an imaginary target “Close your eyes and imagine a target. Inhale deeply and raise your right arm, take aim, and shoot all your anger at the target. Now do the same thing with your left arm.” A good way to let off steam after a bad day at school or a fight with your rotten little kid brother.

Breathe through an imaginary straw “Breathe all the way in. Nice and Easy. “Now breathe all the way out. Let your chin go. Release your shoulders and your tummy. Imagine you’re breathing through a straw.” A fun way to make a child aware of breathing as a way to relieve stress.

Nighty night, y’all. Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite!

Bonne chance! Chantal

© Pictures: front page Istock

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Chantal - Children

Bonjour, my name is Chantal. I’m often told that I’m “so French”. This is, in part, due to my traditional upbringing in Versailles, one of the most conservative cities in France, famous for its chateau, good schools and large families. I have three daughters. They’re model children, cheerful, nice and really fashionable. I’m in Paris almost every afternoon for my charity work and I still work part-time as a dance teacher. When the occasion presents itself, I teach etiquette to children at school. I’ll try and explain why my children get so many compliments.    

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Edizione Italiana

Edita da RIZZOLI, Sophie la Parigina è una guida di stile moderna su PARIGI. Illustrata dai disegni di Alessandra Ceriani, completata da un elenco degli indirizzi preferiti dalla parigina e arricchita di ricette gastronomiche.


English Edition

Published by RIZZOLI New York, Sophie the Parisian'sis a modern life style guide about PARIS. Illustrated with color drawings, complemented by a list of Parisians' favorite locations and enriched with gastronomic recipes.

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