Peakhurst Public School

Promoting Excellence in a Caring Environment

Telephone02 9153 9157

Emailpeakhurst-p.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Parenting Information

Every parent needs to read this!

Sleep

Sleep can be a vexatious issue for some parents: the amount of time spent trying to get kids to sleep, worrying about kids not sleeping, being woken up by kids who should be sleeping…it goes on and on!

It's an important issue for parents of teens too. The sleep-wake cycle for teenagers is delayed by up to two hours. That is, they are sleepy later and awake later than when they were children. Many teenagers today are sleep deprived because they don't get enough sleep. They need between nine and 10 hours sleep each night, yet most get about seven or eight hours sleep.

Sleep experts have noted that children who develop good sleep patterns tend to carry these into adolescence.

So here are 5 tips for good sleep habits, and 5 extra tips for teens to help manage their changing sleep cycle.

Good sleep habits include:

  • Regular bed-times Kids may fight this, but be regular during the week and let kids stay up a little later on weekends.
  • Have a wind-down time of up to 45 minutes prior to bed. This includes, removing TV and other stimuli, calming children down, and limiting food intake (and caffeine for teens).
  • An established bedtime routine that makes the brain associate behaviour such as cleaning your teeth and reading in bed with sleep.
  • Keeping bedrooms for sleep and not for TV. Bedrooms that resemble caves seem to be recommended.
  • Maximising the three sleep cues of: darkness (cave-like bedroom), lowering body temperature (baths can be good for this) and melatonin (work within their cycle).

Sleep tips for teens:

  • Allow them to catch up on lost sleep during the weekends.
  • Help your young person schedule their after school activities to free up more time for rest.
  • Discuss ways to limit stimulating activities such as television and computer around bedtime. Encourage restful activities such as reading.
  • Afternoon naps are good ways to recharge their batteries.
  • Make sure they go to bed early each Sunday night to prepare for the coming week.

Bullying

"What is bullying? Do we mix it up with teasing and other forms of mean behaviour?"

It's an important topic that needs clarification.

Bullying is a term that's wrapped in emotion. For many people it's associated with bad childhood memories. It's been estimated that around 40 per cent of people have experienced bullying in the past. It's something that we don't want to happen to our kids.

But I fear it's being overused at the moment and can be confused with teasing.

Teasing refers to annoying, hurtful behaviour that is used to get a reaction from someone else. Teasing can be persistent in nature, but not always. It's generally an attempt to get under a person's skin. It can involve name-calling; it can be personal and hurtful in nature. It can also infringe on another person's rights. But generally teasing doesn't have the key ingredients that make up bullying.

Bullying is the selective, uninvited, repetitive oppression of one person or group by another. It involves three elements – intent to hurt or harm; power imbalance; and repetition over time. It takes many forms and guises including physical aggression; verbal abuse; emotional aggression (or blackmail); intimidation; harassment and exclusion.

The new cyber-dimension to bullying has moved the goalpost for many kids. In the past children and young people could escape bullying behaviours by being at home. Cyber-bullying means that children can't escape bullies like they once could.

Why the distinction?

I hear the term bullying misused a great deal in the media and when talking with parents. We run the risk of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" Syndrome where we become so desensitised to the term that we (or teachers) ignore it when children really are the victims of bullying. We also run the risk of failing to skill our kids up to manage rudeness and teasing if we categorise every awful behaviour that kids experience as bullying.

Our ability to be discerning about bullying is as important as the action we take when we are sure that our child is on the receiving end of bullying behaviour. These actions include: dealing with feelings; providing emotional coping skills, getting others involved; building up a child's support networks; and building self-confidence that can take a battering.

Bullying needs to be taken seriously. But we also need to be discerning about bullying behaviours.

Skill your kids up to manage teasing and bullying behaviours in my next online course....

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Here's to raising happy, confident kids (and happy, confident parents),

Michael Grose

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