I heard the first word about school starting up last week. One of my patients (9 yrs old) starts this week! Yes, she attends Northeast Magnet http://www.danville.k12.il.us/Schools/NEElem/index.htm. So, here are some tips to make the start of school the very best!

1. Re-establish a regular and earlier bedtime NOW.
Though children may get enough sleep during the summer times because they sleep later, this must be re-set to allow for the busyness of school day mornings. Getting a head start on re-establishing good bed times is important for health and learning. A survey commissioned by the National Sleep Foundation found that younger children ages 3-6 in the US get an average 10.4 hours/night. This is at least an 1 hour less than ideal 11-13 hours in this age group. For 1st thru 5th graders, the average is just 9.5 hours when then ideal is 10-11 hours. For 11- thru 14 year olds, studies have shown a direct correlation between sleep deprivation and depression, lower self-esteem, and lower grades. “The fewer hours of sleep that children got, the more depressed they were, the higher number of depressive symptoms [they had], and the lower their self-esteem and the lower their grades,” reports ScienceCentral. See related video here

The second largest growth spurt occurs during these years (usually 10-14 for girls; 11-16 for boys), so this is a time when a lot of sleep is needed. But it’s also a time when children become more capable and more independent; when they’re likely to start taking on a lot more activities, work harder and longer, and are monitored less by their parents and caregivers. So … it’s not surprising, when we stop and think about it, that a lot of these children are starting to pick up the bad habits of their parents — not getting enough sleep.

Keep tuned in for further tips.