I love summer, but what a relief when daylight saving actually finishes. A relief because I don’t like the dark mornings and struggle to wake up. Seems I am not alone. One of the most common greetings in the morning over the past couple of weeks was about the dark and also about how tired people were feeling. We certainly noticed more children appearing to be tired.
Sleep; too much, not enough, rarely just the right amount. So why are conversations about sleep so prevalent? That’s because a lack of sleep affects our lives.
Oh no, not another column about sleep. All very well to read about it, but how does that help? That is certainly my attitude. I know all about relaxing before going to bed, no heavy meals or caffeine, no TV in the bedroom. I laugh out loud at warm baths with scented candles, as if I have time for that. Reading about what to do about lack of sleep doesn’t make the slightest difference. I just carry on regardless.
However, when it comes to children’s lack of sleep, I have a completely different attitude. It is well researched and well documented that lack of sleep has enormous implication for children’s learning.
The guidelines for adequate sleep for children generally are as follows:
3 – 6 years 10 – 12 hours
7 – 10 years 10 – 11 hours
10 – 14 years 9 – 10 hours
14 – 18 years 8 – 9 hours
For a child, the risks of sleep deprivation are much more serious than simply waking up in a grumpy mood. Poor sleep makes life unpleasant. More worrying, however, are long-term behavioural, cognitive, and health problems.
Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioural problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school. Sleep restriction is associated with impaired memory (Hairston et al 2005), poor academic performance (Fallone et al 2005), and obesity (Lumeng et al 2007; Bell and Zimmerman 2010).
Usually it is easy to identify children with sleep problems. But parents may have trouble recognizing the signs of sleep deprivation in their children, and it appears that many children go undiagnosed.
An experimental study of school-aged children has shown that even children who had no reported sleep difficulties performed better on neurobehavioral tests after they were given an extra hour of sleep (Sadeh et al 2003).
For this reason, it makes sense to examine your child’s sleep schedule, even if they don’t show obvious signs of sleep deprivation. Good sleep practices will help ensure that your child gets the sleep they need.
I can tell you that sleep has a huge impact on academic performance and behaviour but I can’t tell you how you can get your children to bed earlier; that’s your problem!
Parents are not allowed to use the teachers’ carpark as a drop off / pick up zone. This week a parent snuck in behind a teacher and dropped his son off in the carpark. The carpark is always full and staff cars are parked everywhere. As the father did a turn he hit one of the parked cars and damaged it. Cue one unhappy teacher and one parent who has to pay for the damage. An expensive drop off! Please, even if you know the code, do not come into the carpark before or after school.
Teachers’ Carpark Driveway
Following on from the reminder about the carpark, please do not bring your children to school via the carpark driveway. You may think you are looking after them as you walk down, but having had a child, who was walking down with a parent, jump out in front of my car last year, parents need to realise that the carpark is potentially dangerous for children. We have large red signs written in English and Chinese which say that children are prohibited from using the driveway but we still have people ignoring the signs and walking down anyway. It is about safety!
A group of parents met last week to continue the discussion around the structure of the PTS. The results from the survey we sent parents was very useful and the feedback informed the discussion, so thank you to all who responded. I think we are very close to letting the school community know about the new way of getting people involved.
Family Fun Night
I am looking forward to seeing many of you this evening. Bring a picnic tea, some ‘refreshments’ and enjoy the atmosphere. Highlight for the children will be the water slide!