By Christiaan Kriel – Father to Mia and Andrew Kriel & Husband of Sleep Consultant Carla Kriel
On 16th June we celebrate Fathers’ Day and this has me thinking… What is my primary responsibility as a father? What contributes to my ability to perform in this role? I’m am blessed with two beautiful rug-rats, Mia is five and Andrew is almost one year old. I count being a father as the greatest privilege and blessing in my life.
As a father, my primary responsibility is to provide. The most important thing to provide for my kids is not expensive toys, the latest clothes or expensive private schools but rather a healthy, stable home filled with love; and the foundation for this is a healthy marriage. A healthy marriage requires two full people, two 100% people. When it comes to marriage, two halves do not make a whole. Marriage requires that my wife and I firstly look after ourselves because you can only give what you have. Marriage requires work and a good marriage requires much work, which is why 100% people are required. No-one can argue that enough quality sleep is vital to replenishing one’s mind and soul… quality sleep is required to be a 100% person.
Therefore, our children require good sleeping habits to protect the sanctity of our marriage. Our children sleep in their own beds, in their own rooms… always. Neither of our children have ever spent a night (at home) in our bed or even in our room, and I believe the whole family is better off because of this. The kids have their space and we have ours. It is so important for us to have space and time for “us”. Time to be and work on both ourselves and on our marriage.
A solid bedtime routine allows us the ability to spend time with the kids but also to have time to connect with each other daily before we go to bed.
In our home, our children are in bed by 19:30 and we can connect and catch-up on one another’s day. I might be a night owl and normally only go to bed after 22:30 but my wife isn’t as she prefers early nights. If our children did not get to bed by 19:30, we would really struggle to find time to connect with each other. We would live past each other.
Considering the above, I count myself lucky that my wife is a sleep consultant. This didn’t automatically mean that our kids would have good sleep habits but rather that we knew the building blocks involved to cultivate good habits. We applied a specific routine and rhythm to our lives, and it’s meant that being a well-(sleep)-trained family is a major contributor to my ability to be a 100% person, husband, father, and provider.
Happy Father’s Day!