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Life is full of distractions. Whether it is just a busy schedule or extracurricular activities, electronics, family time, or even a favorite television show, these activities can keep students from getting the rest they need to be successful at school. Sleep deprivation is a serious yet often overlooked problem for today’s students. By following a few simple suggestions, parents can help their children get the sleep they need to be successful students.
Beginning at an early age, parents can help their child create healthy sleeping habits and routines that will continue throughout his/her lifetime. Making sure that a child has a consistent sleep schedule is extremely important. A child’s bedtime and wake up time should be around the same time whether or not it is a school night. Having a consistent wake up time allows the body to build up adequate sleep pressure by the evening to help a child fall asleep quickly and at an appropriate time at night.
Another way to create a healthy sleeping habit is to create an atmosphere conducive to sleeping. A child’s bedroom should be a place of relaxation and quiet. His or her bedroom should also be a place of positive feelings. It is strongly encouraged not to use the bedroom as a place of punishment or confinement but rather a place of encouragement, positive feelings, and security. The child may need a small nightlight or even a blanket or a stuffed animal to give him/her that sense of security, but a television should never be in a child’s bedroom. Additionally, the use of such simple elements as color choices, the temperature, or comfortable bedding can create a relaxing atmosphere.
There are several signs that children may exhibit if they are not getting an efficient amount of sleep. Parents need to be aware of their child’s mood; sleep deprivation can cause a child to be irritable, moody, and even cranky. Because the child is not getting enough sleep, he or she may not be able to control his/her mood, leading to frustration or becoming upset more quickly and easily. Other behavior, such as noncompliance and hyperactivity may also be an indicator of sleep deprivation. Not only will a child’s mood and behavior be affected by inefficient sleep, but his cognitive ability will also be affected. A child who is sleep deprived will have increased difficulty with his attention, memory, and creativity; all of which are important aspects of being successful at school.
Being a child is truly a fun and exciting time; it is also a time of learning and creating life-long habits. Parents have the ability to help their child develop healthy sleeping habits that will aid them during their school and professional careers. By being aware of their child’s sleeping atmosphere and the behaviors their child is exhibiting, parents can help their children avoid sleep deprivation and be successful students.
Could teaching our children courtesy, manners, consideration, and respect help to alleviate bullying?
In these days of “road rage,” vicious mud-slinging political campaigning all over the media, pervasive violence in media and other “entertainment,” what can we do to foster compassion, empathy, and consideration in our children?
First of all, we can keep in mind that “actions speak louder than words.” Parents modeling considerate, courteous behavior at all times to all people is probably the most powerful influence on our children’s behavior. Do you make disparaging remarks about or use disrespectful names for certain groups of people or gossip about individuals in front of your children? Be mindful of what you say, even unintentional utterances.
It may sound old-fashioned, but actively teaching your children about courtesy and manners is perhaps the best way to encourage them to become compassionate, empathetic, and considerate human beings.
From a practical standpoint, teaching your children manners, says Rudebusters.com, “gives them ‘lifelong survival skills’ according to one etiquette expert. In fact, kids who don’t have social graces are likely to have a more difficult time with friends, family, and teachers." Anything you can do to help your child learn essential social skills like peaceful conflict-resolution and relationship-building, will help them to become more successful, productive, and happy in the long run.
I’m sure many of us remember growing up being constantly “reminded” by our parents to “say please and thank you,” “shake hands with Uncle John,” “hold the door open for Grandma,” etc. Is it possible to encourage good manners without having to nag our children constantly? Well, fortunately there are many helpful online resources to show us the way. A Google search for “teaching manners to children” will reveal a wealth of useful links including fun games and songs to make learning manners enjoyable for you and your kids. Here are few to get you started: