There’s no surprise, that most of us hate to wake up in the morning! Getting up, get ready, and get out the door! Starting off the day can be especially difficult for children and teens, who are required to meet there early morning classes. Yet, studies conducted recently are showing a later school start time is helping children better focus and excel in school.
- Newborns: 14-17 hours per day.
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours per day
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours per day.
- Preschoolers ( 3-5 years): 10-13 hours per day.
- School aged kids (6-12 years): 9-11 hours per day.
- Teenagers: 8-10 hours a day.
Does your child meet these recommendations? The majority of schools begin their educational day between the hours of 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning. This means students (and parents) need to be awake and preparing for the day at least an hour ahead of these times. Many doctors and experts argue that it is not healthy. Many school age and teen aged children are just at the peak of their bio-rhythm period of 5:30 – 6:30 AM. This means that their bodies are preset for SLEEP, SLEEP, and SLEEP during this time. Many parents would just assume that their children are just not morning people!
Several Boston area places of education tried setting a later start time to the day. What they discovered could set a model for school systems, children, and parents across the nation. When school start times were shifted to 8:30 AM or even as late as 9:30 AM, the test scores for students went up almost immediately! In addition, D and F grades given to students dropped by half! Rates of tardiness and absence also dropped.
I’m sure you’re probably asking, “Is a later school start time feasible?” Especially as school systems are already cutting recess and performance arts such as art, music, drama, and dance in favor of more time for the “heavy” educational subjects of math, English, and science. “Could losing an hour in the morning truly help?”
Well, we’ve learned that many parents say the later start times for schools may actually better their own work schedule. They’re able to drop their children off at school at 8:30 AM and still be at their own work places by their expected start time. Educators can also take advantage of that “extra” hour to get their own children ready for school or even take extra time for grading and planning before the students come in.
Once more, some parents love the idea of an “extended” school day. With their work schedules not ending until 4:00 or 5:00 PM, having their children in school means less child care costs. It also means less children home alone in that “danger” period of late afternoon before parents arrive home from work.
With the Boston schools’ findings, it appears a later school day is beneficial to parents, educators, and most of all, our children. With the push for our kids to do better in school, and to “up” their academic performance, this may be the simplest solution. Perhaps we should explore the later start time of our schools instead of “no child left behind” standards.
What do you think? Send us a comment and let us know your thoughts!