At WCS, we regularly get healthy living updates from our Public Health Nurse. This month’s focus is on sleep habits for children. Sleep is essential for everyone, especially for children who are actively growing. When we sleep, the body has time to repair itself from the wear and tear of daily living. Getting good quality sleep each day is important for children because it helps improve their:
● attention, learning and memory
● mental and physical health
● overall well-being
● growth and development
Sleep needs differ for different ages and for different kids. Pay attention to what works best for your child. General recommendations for kids based on their age are:
● Preschoolers (3-4 years) need 10-13 hours of good quality sleep with consistent bedtimes and wake up times. This might include a nap.
● Elementary school kids (5-13 years) need 9-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep with consistent bedtimes and wake up times.
● Teens (14-17) need 8-10 hours
Telltale signs indicating lack of sleep include, complaining of being tired, irritability, increased forgetfulness, difficulty learning, and lack of interest in what is happening around them. Here are some tips for bedtime routines that can help with sleep:
● Set a specific bedtime.
● No screen time one hour before bedtime.
● Avoid heavy meals and energetic play prior to bedtime.
● Routines like the three B's - bath, brush and book - are great for kids.
● Bedroom should be quiet, cool and comfortable for sleeping.
● Make use of night lights.
● Set a specific wake up time.
For more information on sleep habits, plans, and needs, see sleepfoundation.org.
For students and parents alike, even the words “report cards” can evoke feelings. A child's report card can bring feelings of joy, excitement, and pride; it can also cause concern, frustration, and uncertainty. In either case, the reporting period marks a new beginning to set goals as well as reflect on past work habits, achievements, and hardships. (“Talking to Your Child about Report Cards.” Family Education, 15 May 2019, www.familyeducation.com)
This article continues in its advice to parents that when talking to your child, to focus on the positive aspects of the report card; a child’s strengths. Then, one should be asking the right questions. For example, “Is the pace of a class too fast or too slow?” “Does your child ask questions when they don’t understand?” “Are all of the assignments getting completed?” And lastly, create realistic and attainable goals for the next reporting period.
At Woodstock Christian School it is evident that parents, as a whole, are highly interested and engaged in their child’s learning. We, as educators, look forward to discussing your child and how, together, we can make a plan for future academic success and personal growth.
Honour & Remember
The Remembrance Day Ceremony has played a major role in Remembrance since 1931. Every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we gather in memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools and homes to stand in honour of all who have fallen. Together, we observe a moment of silence to mark the sacrifice of the many who have fallen in the service of their country, and to acknowledge the courage of those who still serve.
To promote Remembrance, The Royal Canadian Legion erects and maintains war memorials and cenotaphs across Canada, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The memorials and cenotaphs serve as gathering places for ceremonies on Remembrance Day, and for other Remembrance milestones throughout the year. They are important symbols of our commitment to honouring and remembering the sacrifices of our Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, peacekeepers, as well as their families and communities. War memorials help our communities to never forget.
The Legion is dedicated to ensuring Canadians have opportunities to remember Canada's Fallen Veterans. Legion members work tirelessly to advocate for, fundraise and coordinate the building and maintenance of memorials and cenotaphs to ensure their community has a place where people can gather to remember our Fallen heroes. We encourage all Canadians to visit their local war memorial or cenotaph and take a moment to pause, to reflect, to thank and to Remember.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. (Source: legion.ca)
Your Child’s Mental Health
One of the areas that is becoming a larger part of my role as Director of Student Support Services is supporting students with behaviour and mental health challenges. This is a growing area of need in all schools as it is now estimated that about one in five children and youth has a diagnosable mental health condition. Chances are, your family is currently dealing with mental health issues right now.
One of the greatest barriers facing those with mental health challenges is the stigma that continues to surround them, including amongst Christians. Many are embarrassed to disclose these weaknesses and as a result do not pursue support. My prayer is that we will feel safe to talk openly about mental health issues and that others will respond with compassion and love instead of judgement and rejection.
What are the signs that your child might be experiencing a mental health problem (such as anxiety, depression, or an eating disorder)? Be on the lookout for changes in the way your child is thinking, feeling, or behaving. According to Breanne Cousins-McGuire, a counsellor from the Counselling House, some indicators include:
- sleep disturbances (night mares, fear of going to sleep, waking up often, trouble falling asleep or sleeping more than usual)
- having ongoing negative thoughts and moods such as fear, guilt, sadness, shame, or confusion
- a loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyed and spending more time alone
- having trouble concentrating, feeling angry or irritable (or having temper tantrums)
- being easily startled or constantly on the look-out for danger
- development of new fears or crying easily
- seeming dependent or clingy
- depression or anxiety
- general misbehaviour, attention seeking behaviour, or doing things that might be risky or dangerous
- poor school performance and/or attendance
- unexplained aches and pains
If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, please talk to your child’s teacher or connect with me. You are also encouraged to make an appointment with your family doctor and seek out the support of a counsellor. We are blessed to have several wonderful Christian counsellors in the Woodstock area (e.g., The Counselling House and Tina J. Smith & Associates). Getting support is critical as early intervention helps improve academic performance and health outcomes. Let’s keep talking about mental health, and know that it’s okay to ask for help.