Balance: Key to Thrive

So this is the weekend that we say goodbye to Central Standard Time and say hello to Daylight Saving Time. At 2:00 AM on Sunday morning our clocks spring forward one hour.  Most of us will be deprived of one hour of sleep…which leads me into my blog topic: the importance of sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise in the life of an elementary school age child.

Many studies have demonstrated the importance of the right amount of sleep to overall successful academic performance of children and teens.  Primary school age children ideally would get 10 – 12 hours of sleep per night, intermediate grade levels 10 – 11 hours per night, and junior high 8 – 10 hours per night.  Sleep totals significantly less than this can lead to a variety of negatives including reduced ability to concentrate, impaired memory, increased irritability, increased anxiety, and increase in oppositional behaviors.  It is best if bedtimes are consistent each school night and that children are  not allowed to have electronic devices after bedtime.

Proper sleep hygiene is just one component of establishing a healthy lifestyle.  Nutrition, exercise, leisure and relaxation, social activities, study, spiritual activities, and family time are other components of our everyday lives.  Th key to an effective, productive student experience is a good BALANCE among these components.  Students run into trouble when the balance goes haywire.  Going to school without breakfast leads to fatigue…too much social media leads to problems…not enough sleep leads to problems…no exercise leads to physical and psychological vulnerability.  Every so often it is a good idea for parents to do an assesment regarding balance in their childrens’ lives and make changes when needed.


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