Kids Need Sleep
MORE Than Homework
"Put Down That Homework
and GO TO SLEEP!"
Do you remember how much cred (credit) you got back in college when you pulled an all-nighter? You got mad respect as a serious, die-hard student. Staying up all night was
impressive, but hey, you were young, and you could do it. There were, however, a few things you had to remember about all-nighters:
They Happened Infrequently. If you stayed up every night, you were considered a freak, and probably on your way to being kicked out of school. All-nighters were so awesome and impressive because they were rare.
They Were Saved for Serious, Special Occasions. Nobody pulled an all-nighter to read that night's assignment! You pulled an all-nighter to finish (uh, start?) a term paper or cram three months' worth of information into your head for a final exam.
You Had to Crash the Next Day. Right after you turned in your paper and bragged about how you cool you were, it was time to fall into your bed (usually with your jeans on) and hibernate for the next two days. Crumpled clothes, bed head and a ripe smell helped create that all-nighter aura.
Enough reminiscing about the Good Ole Days. The point is that all-nighters are for college students,18 to 22 year-old young adults. Younger students- we call them kids- are supposed to be living at home with parents that MAKE THEM GO TO BED!
What Our Common Sense &
Medical Studies Tell Us
Kids need lots of sleep. They need consistent bedtimes with regular hours. It's easy to convince parents of all this when their kids have stayed up really, really late one night. The next day those little angels are cranky, miserable, and unreasonable.
Did you know that teachers hate when the day after Halloween falls on a school day? Students are sleep-deprived, exhausted and coming down from a massive sugar-high. They can't think, they don't listen, they won't cooperate and play nicely-it's horrible. For teachers, the day after Halloween is definitely trick, never treat.
But, that's just one day.
Parents need to be more concerned about chronic sleepiness, the result of staying up too late night after night. These children don't grow, don't learn, don't get along with others. As an elementary school teacher, I know that tired students are my number one problem.
It only get worse as they get older. I recently read in Reader's Digest that "teens that don't get enough sleep are at an increased risk for depression, rage, use of stimulants and alcohol, low grades and car accidents." Sheesh.
How many hours do our children need?
Age 3-6: 10 to 12 hours a night
Age 10-12: 10 to 11 hours a night
Age 12-18: 8 to 9 hours a night
Bedtime is sacred, and you cannot allow homework to interfere with it. Remember, humans (children and adults) cannot "make up" sleep. Our kids must go to bed! And, I'm talking about every night, not just once in awhile when a project is due.
Regular homework is not an excuse. If your kids are staying up late to do homework, then they need to get started on it earlier- or do less of it.
Let them save the all-nighters for college.
Here's an article to print and share with your kids to convince them that they really do need sleep more than homework!
Worried about your child's homework due tomorrow? Here's how to write a note to the teacher...