Or at least make sure your kids do.
Kids not Getting Enough Sleep
Meanwhile, Experts Move to Improve Awareness for Adults
“The general public does not know that it’s not normal to be sleepy during the day,” says Mark W. Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis.
I can’t say I’m terribly surprised, as I’ve seen more and more kids in the last 20 years who have no set schedules and consume lots of caffeine and far more sugar than was normal when I was a kid. School schedules are created around the need to share buses and other transportation resources rather than what’s healthy for the children. It really feels like the school day is much longer than it was when I was a child, too—I’m not sure of how many actual hours I spent in school. I know that I had lots of free time, though. Of course, that was before the days of mandatory homework (makework) at all grade levels in an attempt to make the school’s curriculum seem more academically rigorous.
It’s one thing when adults aren’t getting enough sleep, but kids are way overscheduled and overstressed, too.
I didn’t have outside activities scheduled during elementary and middle school—just school, church, chores, and by middle school, work. Okay, I was in Girl Scouts and 4H, but neither lasted all that long. In 7th or 8th grade I started having band practice before school a few days a week, but that was it. By high school, I had lots of extracurricular activities, though not anything more out of school (just more hours of work, chores, and church). And I still had free time!
Most kids I know have sports or similar activities from kindergarten on (yes, Katie did, too). Dance, music lessons, tutoring (even for those who aren’t having trouble at school, just to “get ahead”). They are up before dawn, go to school and don’t get home ’til 4 or later, then go on to all those other things. Families grab whatever food they can on their way hither and yon. Kids get home and in bed late—well after the 9 pm bedtimes I remember until my early teens or so.
Um, I really just meant to share the link, not rant.
I’m reminded again of how much I wish shadowkatt‘s dance and martial arts classes could be scheduled during the day instead of the evenings. It’s very difficult for her to get to sleep after all that activity!