Tired children after school...

(54 Posts)
FSTeacher Fri 08-Mar-13 20:10:38

Dear all,

I am not a parent, but an Early Years trained teacher. I am currently teaching a class of 26 Reception aged children (between 4 and 5 years old), the class will go up to 30 after Easter.

In recent discussions with parents, some are concerned about how tired their children are after school.

I ensure the children have time to relax in the afternoon as a whole class and then create the opportunity to continue this relaxation until home time if they seek it. We talk a lot about listening to our bodies and knowing when our bodies need a rest and when they need to use up energy. I certainly have no problems within the classroom as the children show no signs of being too tired in school. However, parents suggest that by not insisting ALL children relax I am not fulfilling my duty of care and therefore disregarding children's well-being.

I would welcome suggestions on how other parents manage their child's tiredness after school as well as advice on how I might run the day slightly differently to alleviate some of this stress. I will not insist that all children rest all afternoon as not all children need it.

I believe that children do learn to make decisions regarding their basic needs at this young age.

Thanks!

girliefriend Fri 08-Mar-13 20:14:21

Well kids are tired after school but I am not sure I understand the concern confused that is fairly normal and to be expected in reception age kids.

Just tell the parents to ensure their children are going to bed on time and I minimised after school activities at that age.

N0tinmylife Fri 08-Mar-13 20:18:08

I don't think there is anything you can do to stop children being tired when they go home from school. My DS is currently in Reception, and comes home from school shattered and grumpy. I tend to think it is par for the course.

I have seen him at school, and he spends all day being well behaved and cheerful, which is a huge effort when you are 5 years old. At the end of the day there is a lot of pent up moaning and winging to come out, and that happens when they get home, where they feel safe, and are able to relax.

bubbles1231 Fri 08-Mar-13 20:18:51

DS1 fell asleep on the bus sometimes when he first started school!
His P1 teacher said if some children seemed really tired in the afternoon she let them have a little nap on the beanbags. It certainly wasn't all of the children, just the ones who felt they needed it.
She also said it didn't matter if they didn't manage to get homework in on time if they were too tired to do it at the end of the day.
Parents appreciated the fact that each child was treated as an individual, and no one complained as far as I know.

LynetteScavo Fri 08-Mar-13 20:22:02

I'm going to name change and come back, but firstly, are you in the UK? What type of area is this? ie, are the parents taking their DC to lots of after school activities?

FSTeacher Fri 08-Mar-13 20:25:08

I totally agree that this is a normal part of starting school.

I certainly treat all children as individuals, hence why I will not insist they all rest as I know the majority do not need it.

Parents are quite upset by the fact their children are too tired to have quality family time after school...any comforting words I can offer them?

girliefriend Fri 08-Mar-13 20:27:26

Tell them to get a grip its normal <unhelpful> grin

jazzandh Fri 08-Mar-13 20:31:37

What are parents expecting that their children should be doing after school?

At DS1's school (independent) they had no official after school clubs available until the summer term, as they thought that would be too much for the little ones.

To be honest mine would come home and I expected them to crash out in front of the TV until teatime. With an early bedtime to follow. Par for the course.

Other than a bit of reading I wouldn't set any homework for little ones.

bubbles1231 Fri 08-Mar-13 20:34:14

Tell parents they may need to scale back on after school activities and not to worry, the tiredness is normal and will pass. Some parents get very anxious, don't they? :-)

RedPencils Fri 08-Mar-13 20:41:06

Parents are complaining you're tiring their kids out too much? Please come and be my DTs teacher.

PointlessCow Fri 08-Mar-13 20:45:29

DD started Reception in September and despite being one of the oldest in her class was exhausted by 3pm every day. Waaailing hysteria on the school run, or monosyllabic weeping. Tantrums or general grumping around. The autumn term was pretty unpleasant.

She also fell asleep in class a couple of weeks ago. However, as someone mentioned above, her behaviour in class was fine. I would never expect the teacher to ensure that she had time to rest at school, nor do I think DD would want to actually. Making sure she gets enough rest is my job as her mother: very chilled weekday evenings and early bedtimes. The parents of your class are being a bit unreasonable IMO.

poshme Fri 08-Mar-13 20:46:19

I would suggest 2 things to them- 1) their children will need a snack immediately after school - in the playground sometimes! And 2) their children will be tired- it's normal- and they may need to go to bed earlier.
Forcing all the children to rest at school when they don't all need it is not helpful IMO.
(I'm a parent of 3, and was a primary school teacher)

poshme Fri 08-Mar-13 20:47:39

And whatpointlesscow said- I didn't let any of my kids do after school activities in the autumn or spring terms of reception.

FSTeacher Fri 08-Mar-13 20:53:47

My impression from parents is that they feel it is not acceptable for children to be so tired after school and that there is something fundamentally wrong with the education system...and that it is my (teachers/schools) job to ensure this is avoided at all costs...I am trying to work out whether it is at all possible for me to do that.

Whatsdoneisdoneisdone Fri 08-Mar-13 22:31:42

I feel that there is something wrong with an education system that makes children who are as young as just four attend full time education. If they are so tired they can't have family time, are wailing and hysterical or falling asleep in the classroom then is it really doing them any good? Really?
My ds will be just 4 when he starts this December and I'm hoping the school will allow him to go part time for the first term. I cannot for the life of me see what benefit there is to forcing them in so early. We don't achieve any better as a nation. In fact we come off worse than the countries that start them at 6 or 7.

It is not of course the teacher's fault. It is just how it is. But it seems crazy to me.

Andro Sat 09-Mar-13 12:35:46

May I just say that you sound like a very good and caring reception class teacher!
I don't see what else you can really do, other than mention snacks and tell parents that tiredness is pretty normal. I certainly wouldn't have thanked any teacher for 'making' my DD rest, it took her about 3 weeks to acclimate to reception (the first week she was asleep in the car on the way home!), but by half term she was bouncing out and full of energy...more rest was the last thing she needed!

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 12:40:08

I used to keep my dd home the occasional Friday- with the full approval of her reception teacher. And I wasn't the only one. And I sometimes used to collect her in the car rather than walking. But being tired isn't a bad thing!

PolterGoose Sat 09-Mar-13 19:25:50

Find out what time they are going to bed, if they are tired in the afternoon it is highly likely that need more sleep at night.

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 22:29:34

I wish they could do less hours at this age. Or maybe do 4 days out of 5. They're very small imo for such a long week.

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 22:30:46

Your desire to work out how to help is admirable. But I honestly think it is all down to too many hours in school per week.

These are tiny children being made to do a full time week....they need time at home too. Then we'd have less illness too I think.

jkklpu Sun 10-Mar-13 22:33:00

I don't see how it's your fault. Parents need to give their kids snacks and drinks and let them relax, as well as making sure they get enough sleep at night and eat reasonably.

wrongsideoftheroad Sun 10-Mar-13 22:33:31

Gawd, my summer born reception aged DD is ALWAYS tired after school.

That's my problem, though, not yours! They sound like a bunch of silly sods.

Honestly - we try to avoid after school activities, get reading/homework done as soon as we get in, tea at 4, bed at 6 and I wait for my quality time with her at the weekends.

You sound like you do a great job smile

wrongsideoftheroad Sun 10-Mar-13 22:34:01

I meant the moaning parents were silly sods, btw, not the children!

snice Sun 10-Mar-13 22:38:43

when the parents talk about 'quality family time' is this meaning 'having dinner at 6/6.30pm round the dining table once both parents are home from work with a discussion about everyones day?' 'cos if it is then the parents are going to be disappointed for some time.
IME some reception children need feeding immediately after school with a large snack (then a smaller tea later) whilst lying on the sofa watching TV-quality time it ain't

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 22:42:00

snice that's not true of ALL children that age. My Dd has a snack when she gets home and then tea with her Dad, sister and me at 6.00.

She does graze a bit after her snack but it doesn't stop her eating her tea. She's a healthy weight.

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