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Your 8-year-old now
Eight-year-olds tend to be sound sleepers. As long as they have plenty of opportunities for physical play, they should be sleepy at bedtime and awaken only rarely with nightmares or other needs.
Your child should get about ten hours of sleep a night. Protect this time – it's when your child grows and when the brain consolidates and organizes the vast amounts of new material it absorbs each day.
Make sure that your child's bedtime is early enough. If mornings begin at 6 in your household, your child should be in bed no later than 8 p.m. Start the bedtime routine early enough that you can have your child down in time.
You already know this about babies, but it's also true for an older child: A routine helps signal that it's time to wind down for sleep. A typical routine: a snack, a shower, pajamas, tooth-brushing, and time to read together.
Your child is old enough to shower by herself, so long as you remain within earshot. Although she's also old enough to read by herself, many eights still love to be read to, and bedtime is a cozy opportunity. A child who's reluctant to cuddle by day may be more receptive at night.
Your life now
What's good for the goslings is good for the goose and gander. You may have heard the discipline idea that it helps to frame your comments about your child's behavior as "I" or "me" statements rather than "you" statements. ("It hurts my feelings when you say the dinner I made you is gross" rather than "You're rude.")
Well, the same approach is recommended by marriage counselors when discussing spousal behaviors you dislike. Saying "Finding dirty clothes on the floor makes me feel like we're living in chaos" puts your partner less on the defensive than "You always leave dirty clothes lying around, you pig!"
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