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India-Gods's Abode


IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP

A child, whatever his activities, should have a sufficient number of hours of sleep. The number will vary according to his age. In the cradle, the baby should sleep longer than he remains awake. The number of hours of sleep will diminish as the child grows. But until maturity it should not be less than eight hours, in a quiet, well-ventilated place. The child should never be made to stay up late, r no reason. The hours before midnight are the best for resting the nerves. Even during the waking hours, relaxation is indispensable for all who want to maintain their nervous balance. To know how to relax the muscles and the nerves is an art which should be taught to children when they are very young. There are many parents who, on the contrary, push their child to constant activity. When the child remains quiet, they imagine that he is ill. There are even parents who have the bad habit of making their child do household work at the expense of his rest and relaxation. Nothing is worse for a developing nervous system, which cannot stand the strain of too continuous an effort or of an activity that is imposed upon it and not freely chosen. At the risk of going against many current ideas and ruffling many prejudices, I hold that it is not fair to demand service from a child, as if it were his duty to serve his parents. The contrary would be more true, and certainly it is natural that parents should serve their child or at least take great care of him. It is only if a child chooses freely to work for his family and does this work as play that the thing is admissible. And even then, one must be careful that it in no way diminishes the hours of rest that are absolutely indispensable for his body to function properly.

-The Mother
(Ibid. Vol. 12, pp. 15-16)

Q: Sometimes, Mother, when children are interested in something, they donít want to go to bed, then what should be done? Just a few minutes earlier they said they were sleepy, and then they start playing and say they donít want to go to bed.

They shouldnít be allowed to play when they are sleepy This is exactly the intrusion of vital movements. A child who doesnít live much with older people (it is bad for children to live much among older people), a child left to itself will sleep spontaneously whatever it may be doing the moment it needs to sleep. Only, when children are used to living with older people, well, they catch all the habits of the grown-ups. Specially when they are told: "Oh! you canít do this because you are young! When you are older, you can do it. You canít eat this because you are small, when you are bigger you will be able to eat it. At this particular time you must go to bed because you are young... ."So, naturally, they have that idea that they must grow up at any cost or at least look grown-up!

-The Mother
(Ibid. Vol. 5, p. 295)