Sleep is a highly underestimated variable related to health, behavior, and learning. In fact, many students do not get enough sleep. According to the Center for Disease Control:
· 3-5 year olds need 11-13 hours
· 5-12 year olds need 10-11 hours
· Teenagers need 8.5 to 9.5 hours
· Lack of sleep can mimic symptoms of ADHD or worsen them and lead to behavior problems.
· Teenagers who are sleep-deprived account for more than half of the “asleep-at-the wheel” accidents.
The CDC recommends the following sleep habits:
· Go to bed at the same time each night, and rise at the same time each morning.
· Sleep in a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.
· Make your bed comfortable and use it only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music.
· Remove all TVs, computers, and other "gadgets" from the bedroom.
· Avoid physical activity within a few hours of bedtime.
· Avoid large meals before bedtime.
If you observe attention, memory, or learning problems take a close look at the child's sleep habits before jumping to other conclusions. If the child is getting adequate sleep and wakes seeming rested then other explanations might account for his/her difficulties. Parents, teachers, administrators, school psychologists, counselors, and medical personnel can all play a role in the problem-solving process.
1. Ask yourself how you feel when the child engages in the problem behavior. This information will help you to understand the child’s likely goal.
2. Refer to chart below and follow “Corrective Action”.
Protective Environmental Factors: (The more of these present in a child's life, the more success he/she enjoys)
Reduced family conflict is key to decreasing aggression in children. (Refer to local service providers, parenting info...)
Sports involvement decreases high risk behavior & increases positive feelings for boys and girls
Sleep >8 hours on a regular basis decreases likelihood of aggression, anxiety, depression...
Reading has been found to decrease behavior problems. (One study found after each Harry Potter book came out the number of accidents involving adolescents decreased.)
Mentoring others and contributing to a school or community builds students' sense of belonging.
Research strongly indicates recess improves student behavior.
- If a student has poor grades, consider assigning a tutor rather than taking away recess.
- If a student has poor behavior, teach/model/practice/give feedback regarding the expected behavior.
The brain is not "finished" until approximately 22 years old and skill "mastery" takes place at different stages.
9 years old - fine motor and math skills
13 years old - judgment, emotion, and logic (Important to use active ignoring during this stage)
15 years old - ability to specialize in skills; special talents emerge
17 years old - abstract thought and ability to ponder complicated questions
21 years old - females: planning, organization, impulse control and brain maturation
23-24 years old - males: planning, organization, impulse control and brain maturation
So many children "check out" of their daily experiences - school, interactions with peers, interactions with adults... If we can improve our ability to be in the moment as educators, we can model and teach the benefits:
Although it might seem "fluffy" and like a given, let's face it, many of us go through the motions and aren't fully present in the here-and-now either. This isn't just a student problem. By cultivating greater awareness of our senses, we will find that inner peace most of us seek. We don't have to wait until 8:00 at night when most of the day's tasks are done. By making a conscious effort to be "mindful" we can experience peace any time of day.
Examples of mindfulness practice include:
Taken from: http://www.mindfuleducation.org/resources.html
* Also see the Mental Health tab for more specific ideas on cultivating mindfulness.
Parent Resource - http://www.sdpirc.org/content/default.htm
Mindfulness Activities in the classroom -http://www.mindfuleducation.org/Betsy%20Rose%20Mindfulness%20Handouts.pdf
Intervention ideas - http://interventioncentral.org/index.php/behavorial-resources
Timers motivate some students. Computer timers (count up or down) - http://www.lefthandlogic.com/timers.php
Behavior charts motivate other students - http://interventioncentral.org/images/docs/points%20for%20grumpy%20reward%20chart.pdf
7 Reasons Children Need Recess - http://www.movingandlearning.com/Resources/Articles30.htm