We’re discussing NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children. We’re using the book NurtureShock as a jumping off point for discussing some interesting topics. Please join the conversation regardless of whether you’ve read the book or not – we’d love to hear what you think!
Read Karissa’s previous post here.
Karissa, you’re totally right about sleep. Since we have little ones, it’s a hot topic at our house. But the book makes a good point. We totally obsess about our babies’ sleep, but once they start falling and staying asleep on their own (a milestone we’ve hit with one of our kids), we really stop thinking about it much.
In fact, I really don’t think about enforcing bedtime in the same way I do about, say, making sure the kids get their vegetables, etc. In my head, good or bad, I enforce bedtimes mostly because I need the kids to sleep so I can get some work done. It’s hard to admit, but it’s more about my convenience than it has been about their health and wellness. The truth hurts.
I’m not the only one though. In reading the section about school start times and achievement, the research says that just moving the school start time back an hour significantly affected student performance, particularly with the best and brightest students. Other areas of well-being were affected as well: students reported higher levels of motivation, lower levels of depression, lower incidences of car crashes, etc.
School start times are also scheduled for adult convenience, much in the same way I was thinking about bedtimes. As a employed mama, I totally get this, by the way. It’s easier to send your kids to school when you are on your way to work and pick them up when you are coming home. But, if this is impeding their education in such a startling way, we need to make a change. Workplaces need to be more flexible to accommodate their employees who are parents. As a community, we need to recognize that our future depends on ensuring that the next generation is properly educated. If this means that we are slightly inconvenienced by an hour late start time in school, then so be it. It seems like a small sacrifice for such a big gain.
The big takeaway for me on this chapter was that even one hour of sleep missed makes a huge, measurable difference in our children’s ability to learn and retain information. Enforcing their bedtime is about more than just schedule predictability and the preservation of this mama’s sanity. Now if I could just get my two-year-old on board…