Reflections from Katie: May 2018

As the days are getting longer, the warm weather, blooming flowers, bright green leaves on trees, baseball, bike rides all lure us out of our homes to enjoy. The increased physical activity that all of us seem to get at this time of year is excellent for both our physical and emotional well-being. There is one downside to these longer days and beautiful weather, though. It is much harder to get our children to sleep. By the time the sun goes down, the final inning has been played or the BBQs last embers have died out, it is late! And it’s not very many hours until the sun is up again, and school is beckoning. Despite these challenges, it is incredibly important that our children continue to get solid amounts of sleep every night.

It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I began to see how much harm a lack of sleep can do. My own kids… they don’t act tired in a traditional way. It’s not the yawning or the sluggish movements that are the problem. Sometimes they are quick to cry when they are overtired. Other times they can’t stop moving! They may become more impulsive and have a harder time staying in control of her body. While it is challenging, I know that it is so important for my children to get the sleep their bodies need. I pay for it in other ways when they don’t.

I encourage you to watch your children when they haven’t gotten enough sleep. What do you notice about their behavior? The ways in which they manage their emotions? It may shock you to know that “enough” sleep is actually more than 8 hours. Somewhere we got in our heads that 8 hours of sleep is what we need. In fact, children need between 10-12 hours of sleep per night! The amount needed does not reduce until a child is about 12 years old. So for example, this means that if you are waking your child up at 7:00, to be at school by 8:10, then they should be in bed by about 8:00 pm!

So… please DO enjoy the weather and longer days, please DO use the opportunity to spend more time outside, AND please make sure your children get enough sleep every night.

I look forward to seeing all of you at Spring Fling this weekend! It promises to be an exciting event. And just to stay in keeping with the theme of this newsletter, the event will be over by 7:30 so that your children can still get to bed at a decent hour!
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