We know that many kids are going online or on their cellphones after they go to bed. In the morning they stumble out of bed bleary eyed and drag themselves to school. This doesn’t make for the ideal learning situation.
Sleep deprivation really does impact our kids ability to learn according to Dr. Paul Howard-Jones, an internationally recognized neuroscientist. We need sleep to learn, plain and simple. Dr. Jones says that sleep allows the brain to consolidate information that’s been received and encoded. Learning actually takes place while we sleep. When sleep is disturbed the ability to learn is reduced.
“There are literally millions of adolescents who feel despondent, get poor marks, or are too tired to join high-school teams all because they are getting too little sleep.” How can we as parents help? If you want to optimize your kids ability to learn in the classroom, take away and turn off those cellphones and computers at night. When the phone is left on, kids feel the need to answer. When their phones ring at night, most of them say they wake up to answer. “You gotta pick it up, you gotta pick it up. It could be something important.” Parents need to be parents and step in to make sure their children are getting adequate sleep and are not having their sleep interrupted by cellphones and computers.
Taking away cellphones and making sure computers are turned off can be a challenge. Establishing rules of use when kids are young helps. The best option is to have your children turn in their phones to an area in the parent’s bedroom at a certain time at night. Another option is to look at the parental controls that your phone carrier has available. Some phone carriers have parental controls that allow you to turn off your child’s phone at night. Or a more cumbersome approach is to check phone usage of your child to see if they are complying with your rules of turning off the phone at night.
If your child has a lap top, again it can be placed in the parent’s bedroom at a certain time at night. Or another option if you want to use the “trust but verify” approach is to see if your child is using it in the middle of the night by checking recorded activity with ScreenRetriever and then have a discussion about the importance of sleep and how sleep is necessary for learning. Most kids want to do well in school and on sports teams so if they understand the sleep process they might be more eager to get a good night’s ZZZZZs!
And don’t forget that you as the parent remain the biggest influence in your child’s life. They are listening even when you think they’re not!