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Question:

Dear Ms. Ally,

How can I support my child’s learning at home when I have a busy schedule?

Answer:

First things first: make sure you are busy with the things God would have you be busy with. Your worth is not tied to what you do but to who God is and what He’s done for us: exhaustion and fatigue are not badges of honor. It is okay to rest!

 

To answer your question, when we think of supporting our children’s learning, we often think about reading to them or helping them with their homework. While these are important and necessary, there is a lot more we can do to support them despite our busy schedules.

 

 

Supporting your child(ren)’s learning can also look like:

 

  • Enforcing consistent bedtime routines and promoting good sleep hygiene.

Rest is vital for everyone—especially our children. The body cannot heal, and the brain cannot store memories properly without deep, restorative sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can impair focus and social functioning, delay reaction time, and increase the risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

 

Recommended hours of sleep (by age)

  • Infant (4-12 months): 12-16 hours (including naps)

  • Toddler (1-2 years): 11-14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

  • Pre-school (3-5 years): 10-13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

  • School Age (6-12 years): 9-12 hours per 24 hours

  • Teen (3-18 years): 8-10 hours per 24 hours

 

“Sleep hygiene” is about your behavior and your environment. Good sleep hygiene includes (but is not limited to):

  • Having set bed- and wake-up times.

  • Limiting naps (if developmentally appropriate).

  • No electronics at least one hour before bed.

  • Ensure your bedroom or sleeping area is at a comfortable temperature.

  • Dim or turn off the lights.

  • Go outside when the sun is shining (Did you know? Sunlight helps regulate the hormones responsible for your circadian rhythm/sleep-wake schedule. God really thought of everything when He made us, sheesh!)

 

  • Participating in routine health exams (physical, dental, visual, emotional).

Unbeknownst to us, our kids might be struggling with their vision, hearing, dental, or other physical or emotional concerns. And because we are so fearfully and wonderfully made, our minds and bodies compensate so that we can move forward despite our limitations. If we need glasses but don’t have them, we squint; if we are hard of hearing, we learn to read lips; anxious? We might grind our teeth or crack our knuckles. Digestive issues? In/frequent trips to the restroom. These are seemingly little things, but these small occurrences can add up to big-time learning loss for our children. Why? Because at some point - but not all at once - sight, sound, stillness, and scent - are all crucial to learning; with ongoing interruptions or without appropriate accommodations, children miss out. This is why preventative care, and regular check-ups are critical to kids’ success in school.

 

To better understand what screenings your child should receive and when, check out this table: https://downloads.aap.org/AAP/PDF/periodicity_schedule.pdf. It includes a ton of information, but it’s worth it!

 

 

Next week, in part 2, I’ll provide even more tips about how you can support your child(ren)’s learning. But in the meantime, pray this prayer with me:

 

Heavenly Father, He who orders the clouds, waves, and seasons, please order my steps, too. Reveal to me when I prioritize busyness over purpose and show me how to be present for my child(ren). Please give me the wisdom to enforce a bedtime routine for my child(ren) and me, too. Cause me to remember that You never sleep nor slumber, but I can. Thank you for making us in your image; thank you that my child(ren) are fearfully and wonderfully made. Help me remember that Your plans for me, my children, and my family are good. Redeem my time and energy so that I may take my child(ren) to all necessary appointments. Create in them a desire to be holy and well and renew a right spirit within me. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

And Amen.

Ms. Ally

Submit a letter to Ms. Ally!

Every Friday, Ms. Ally will answer questions from Lighthouse parents about their parenting concerns, big and small, in the “Ask Ms. Ally” section of the newsletter. You can submit a question or concern of your own for Ms. Ally to consider by emailing her at amiller@lcsmadison.net.

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