Sleep hygiene at school
Not just at home: sleep hygiene at school is also important.
Did you know that sufficient sleep is crucial for the physical and mental well-being of students?
More happens at night than just counting sheep.
- While sleeping, children secrete a growth hormone.
- Sleeping makes children happier and mentally fitter.
- A child who sleeps well has a higher resistance and is less likely to get sick.
Six tips for school
With these tips you can encourage healthy sleeping habits at school.
Many parent associations do 'jobs' at school. They decorate the playground, paint the classrooms, renovate the school toilets, plant a vegetable garden...
Maybe you can also hire them to build a cozy relaxation area? The students can rest there during the lunch break.
Consider, for example, a reading class or corner, a sensory room or a film room.
A balanced diet promotes a good sleep pattern. This includes a hearty breakfast, healthy snacks, a nutritious lunch and a light dinner. This way, students feel fit during the day and relaxed in the evening.
Make sure that the nutritional policy at school encourages that pattern. Which snacks are allowed? Just fruit or also cake and sweets? Or does the school provide snacks itself? What about birthday treats?
More information can be found here.
Exercise is important at every age. By exercising a lot during the day, preferably in the open air, students can burn off their energy . This way they can end the day quietly in the evening.
In the classroom, students ideally acquire these skills on the topic of sleep. They know:
- that a good sleep pattern is important;
- what a good sleep routine is: brushing teeth, washing, wearing pajamas, going to sleep on time and at a fixed time...;
- that a good night's sleep means more than getting into bed on time: a balanced diet and exercise pattern during the day, a fixed structure in the evening, time for a pleasant closing moment ...;
- that everyone sometimes wakes up due to dreams or fears .
CM therefore developed ' Droomzacht ', an educational package for the second and third kindergarten classes on the theme of sleep.
During classroom activities or on the playground, students can give these signals:
- Direct: 'I'm tired.'
- Indirectly: eyes closing, yawning, absent gaze, crawling alone in a corner, reacting quickly to irritation, sensitive to overstimulation (for example noise or light), difficulty concentrating, etc.
As a teacher you see the changes in a student's behavior. Do not ignore these signals, but use them to talk to the student.
Are students tired in class, especially after the weekend? Parents also need to know the consequences of sleep deprivation. It affects their child's mood and their concentration in class. Their school results and social skills may suffer.
Therefore, organize an information evening at school about 'sleeping'. These themes may be discussed:
- How many hours of sleep does a child need?
- How do you notice that your child is tired?
- What do a sleep ritual and good sleep hygiene entail?
- How can you tackle sleeping difficulties and what can you do if your child doesn't want to go to bed?
Teacher Brigitte about 'Droomsoft'
Brigitte is a teacher in the second kindergarten class at the Sint-Leo Hemelsdaele Primary School De Lenaard in Bruges. She and her class worked for three weeks with the educational package ' Droomzacht '.
How did you start working with 'Droomzacht' in the classroom?
'Each theme revolves around a different animal. They have all been covered in the meantime, each with different activities. We played a game about sleep rituals, for example. The students had to put cards with the different steps of going to sleep in the correct order. Very nice.'
What did the children think of Arno the Monkey and his friends?
The students were enthusiastic about the beautiful story pictures. They knew the animals very well and were able to follow the lessons well.
Could you also involve the parents in the theme of 'sleep'?
I found the background information at the beginning of the package very interesting. I gave the parents two newsletters to inform them about good sleep hygiene.