One of the frequent questions asked of teachers by parents is “How can I help my child be successful at school?” As a teacher, there are several suggestions I would give parents. Part 1 of this, considers the importance of sleep as an important part of learning and being successful at school.
Being part of the full-day Kindergarten program is a challenging and demanding experience for young children. Most are ready for the academic, social and emotional aspects of the day, and one way to help prepare students is to ensure they have a good night of sleep before coming to school. According to the Mindset Works, LLC, sleep is the time when a child’s brain rests and restores its brain chemicals it uses during the day. Sleep allows the brain to recharge. It is also thought that sleep improves learning, by increasing concentration and helping one’s memory. Young children especially, undertake healing and growth during their sleeping hours, and at this young age, some children may need 10-12 hours of sleep at night.
Children who are well rested are better prepared to learn, by listening and focusing during instructional times as well as at self-selected tasks. Rest increases the chances of positive social interactions with peers and instructors, and it improves a child’s patience when resolving social issues that arise during play.
Developing consistent routines around bedtime will help with going to sleep. Having students refrain from exposure to technology (e.g., T.V., computers, video games) at least 1 hour before bedtime will help the brain wind down, and the body relax. Giving prompts before sleep, such as, “In five minutes we’re going to get on our p.j.s and brush our teeth,” will help students mentally prepare for bedtime. Reading a book or two before going to sleep will also help relax your child and offer the comfort of a new or familiar story.
Students that are better rested come prepared for learning and are less likely to be irritable, uncooperative or unfocused during the learning day. After all, who would want to miss out on the fun of the Kindergarten day because they were tired?