Back to School and the Over Tired Child
I recently provided a pamphlet of information to my son's Kindergarten class after his teacher remarked about how many of the children were going to bed at 9pm or later. Given the start time at our school, this is a bit too late for most 5-6 year old children. Many of these kids are getting an hour (or more) less sleep than the lowest average recommendation for 6-13 year old children (9-11 hours on average)...and don't think the teacher doesn't see the result. Over tired children tend to struggle with attention, behavior and socialization in school. Many parent's can support their children in getting more sleep by recognizing when their children have crossed from an optimal sleep window into the dreaded "over tired" phase. A phase frequently mistaken for "not ready for bed" because the child has been flooded with cortisol and is now running laps around the house. This routinely leads to what sleep consultants refer to as "the cycle of over tired" and often results in full blown sleep deprivation.
A very popular trend on the internet is photographing children, often toddlers, who have fallen asleep in bizarre or awkward places. While these photos are ADORABLE, they are actually a very good visual of a clear sign of sleep deprivation in a child. Why do I have to ruin this for you? Why can't you just look at these funny and cute pictures and laugh? Or furthermore, take them of your own children!? You can, don't worry about it, chill out...BUT be aware that if your toddler is falling asleep on her high chair tray or, I don't know, on top of a tv for some reason...she/he may very likely need more sleep.