In order for children to perform at their best in school, experts agree that they need to have a good night’s sleep and a well-balanced diet. But getting kids to want to sleep or eat healthy meal choices can be a challenge. It’s often even more difficult to get back to normal routines with sleep and nutrition after an extended break, such as summer and winter breaks. Here are tips you can use to help get your children back on a regular sleep schedule after this winter break.
All parents have probably been there at one point or another – the bed time negotiation. It looks something like this:
Parent: “Ok, you have 5 more minutes until bed time.”
Child: [Grooooaaaan.] Why can’t I just stay up later???”
Parent: “Because you need sleep to feel good and do well in school. I’ll let you have 10 extra minutes, but that’s it.”
Child: “But Johnny’s mom lets him stay up late, even on school nights.”
Parent: “Well I’m not Johnny’s mom – I’m your mom!”
Does this sound familiar? Even if your children balk at the idea, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that school-aged children get 9-11 hours of sleep per night, with a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. While some children may seem like they need more or less sleep, these are the recommended hours for optimal health for children ages 6-13.
For many students, the winter break offers a welcomed reprieve from school for anywhere from 2-4 weeks. This time is also often marked with busy travel schedules, vacation plans, and other activities that may wreck havoc on the normal sleep schedule. According to this article from Everyday Health, a few proven strategies for getting back on your normal sleep schedule include turning off electronics, avoiding caffeine, setting (and sticking!) to rules for sleep, and starting as early as possible.
These are just a few ideas to help get sleep back on track in your family. As always, do what works best for your children and consult your child’s pediatrician if you suspect he/she is suffering from any sleep disorders or other conditions that may make sleeping difficult. Take heart that your efforts now, no matter how challenging the bed time battles may be, will have long term payoff for your child – in the classroom and beyond!
No matter how you look at it, college is an expensive proposition these days. Both public and private colleges and universities have had to raise fees and tuition as costs have increased. As a result, college student debt has skyrocketed and many students end up with loan payments years, sometimes even decades, after graduation. But with some careful planning and creative thinking, there are lots of other ways to help pay for college and avoid being stuck with big loan payments after graduation. One final but important step in the college application process is to include an application for financial aid.
As parents, and grandparents for that matter, we consider it to be a bit of a rite of passage to tell our children just how easy they have it compared to what we went through at their age. File this under the “when I was your age, I had to walk 2 miles to school each day, uphill both ways” category.
For any parent of a college-bound student, SAT and ACT test scores are no doubt at the center of most dinner table discussions. While no one will argue that test scores alone are the deciding factor in college admissions, and many colleges are moving toward a test-optional admissions policy, strong scores on the SAT and or ACT can definitely help a student’s chance of gaining admission to his/her college of choice.