Playing video games before bedtime. Staying up REALLY late on a Saturday night. Drinking a caffeinated soda with dinner. Nope, this isn't a litany of my own bad habits -- they're some of the things I see negatively impacting students' ability to learn. But how can we help parents understand that a few small changes can improve the quality of their child's sleep and quality of life? I'm not just talking about academic success. Sleepy kids have behavior issues. They have difficulty listening, making good choices, making friends, and ultimately they struggle to learn.
In my school, we're using School Wide Activity Period (SWAP) on Friday afternoons to allow for multiage learning and community building. Every 4-6 weeks our school regroups to engage with learning and community building activities across all grades. Currently students in K-6 are working on creating skits to perform for parents at Open House later this week. The topics are sleep, exercise, and healthy eating.
My group has researched good sleep habits and we developed two skits and three Prezis to share sleep research with families.
You can find the Prezis here:
Our hope is that by having the students share this research with their parents, we can jumpstart a conversations about healthy sleep habits at home. The students have been REALLY engaged with this learning and much of the research has surprised them. The multiage conversations that have taken place on the topic of sleep are an added bonus. We have many parents who get it. Our big challenge is to get some parents to support changing the unhealthy habits (which is always the challenge -- we know what we need to do, but doing it is always the tricky part).
What have you or your school done to help students and parents to understand that good sleep habits are vital to student learning and behavior?
This is the first of a two-part series on healthy habits. Part one is on healthy eating habits.
This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we've preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer's own.