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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.


Muminneedofzzz Thu 14-Mar-13 11:59:56

I think you should do a nicely worded letter to all the parents saying you have had several parents worried about tiredness. Explain it is normal behaviour at this age, that you do have quiet times and quiet activities in the day and are not making them run around all day! Advise parents if their child is struggling that a healthy snack as soon as they come out of school may help as well as an earlier dinner/bathtime and to make sure they are not being tired out by after school activities which normally are not advisable until at least year 1.

At least you have put your point across to everyone, informed them of your daily activities with them and made it clear the responsibility of tiredness lays with them the parents too to ensure their child is rested when at home. smile

Goingdownthegarden Tue 12-Mar-13 21:13:37

I live in a country where they don´t start school until they´re 6. When I see how dd has to work now to learn to read and with her numeracy, I am just relieved we didn´t have to go through all that when she was 4. I guess they do learn faster starting aged 6 (this seems to be the finding of most research - and it makes sense: German and French 22 year olds don´t seem to have a lower reading age than 22 year old Brits!), so they are probably under more pressure now aged 7 than British 7 year olds. Even still, I´m glad dd spent her time as a four and five year old able to decide for herself how she was going to spend her time at nursery. I don´t mean she determined the programme, but "teacher-led" activities were nature walks or music or at most baking. The rest of the time, she could decide herself if she would do some painting, make something (cutting and sticking etc.), build something, imaginative play. I could imagine that having to sit down when the teacher says and work on a particular activity is really hard for a minority of four/five year olds.

My request though even now to my child´s teachers is that they make sure they have snacks in the afternoons (my dd is unfortunately not at a school which goes until 1pm and then all afternoon is family time). We have to send food for mid-morning, but I notice a huge difference between dd when they have been allowed to eat up the snack mid-afternoon and dd when the teacher has not made sure that the kids have eaten something in the afternoon.
A snack in the afternoon means she is still human at pick-up time!

nailak Tue 12-Mar-13 18:24:05

I haven't said anything about that!

MrsMushroom Tue 12-Mar-13 14:45:01

Nail have you said anything about that? I wouldn't consider that Golden. I'm not a weirdo and of course my DC watch the odd movie....but it should be a once a term treat imo.

School is for learning...not for sucking up Disney shite. I'd feel more positively about it if the films were at least educational! But my DD...she hates sitting through a whole me, she often gets bored halfway and wants to DO something.

nailak Tue 12-Mar-13 14:32:32

on friday afternoons they have golden time at my dds school, it seems this means they sit and watch disney movies

Andro Tue 12-Mar-13 14:27:18

Your idea make a lot of sense MrsMushroom.

ZZZenAgain Tue 12-Mar-13 13:49:47

IMO the school day is far too long for 4 year olds.

MrsMushroom Tue 12-Mar-13 13:39:47

Then the 5th day of non compulsory play...comapany of her peers...and creative, play based activities would suit her wouldn't they? But for others, who may be more tired...or having more of a hard time settling in, the 4 day week would be ideal.

One day of full play and outdoor activities would probably reduce the problem of obesity as well.

Andro Tue 12-Mar-13 12:56:18

I take your point MrsMushroom, I really do. I have no doubt that many children you benefit from what you suggest, I'm just having a bit of trouble 'visualising' it because my DD adapted to full time reception so easily (and a full day of 'play based' activities would have bored her senseless).

MrsMushroom Tue 12-Mar-13 11:03:30

Andro I wouldn't advocate a 7.30 start...but I WOULD advocate a 4 day week for infants.

Those with 2 working parents could benefit from a fully play based day...more like nursery, on the Friday....the others, could stay at home or attend as their parents chose.

Andro Tue 12-Mar-13 10:20:30

I think nailak that we do now prioritise 2 WOH parents (at least to a certain extent), mainly because so many families can no longer afford to live on one income. The answer is a complete culture change, but I'm not sure the kind of overhaul required is even possible.

anonymosity Tue 12-Mar-13 03:00:48

I think its normal - its not that they are physically over-tired, but that the stimulation is needing time thereafter to be processed.

With my own Dcs at that age they would definitely have a rest after school and some food, a bit of quiet time before the inevitable surge of late day energy.

Snazzynewyear Tue 12-Mar-13 01:41:51

You sound like a lovely teacher OP. I too suspect that quite a few of these kids aren't getting enough sleep and need earlier bedtimes.

nailak Tue 12-Mar-13 00:55:15

my kids regularly fall asleep when coming home from nursery school (youngest is 2 middle 4 and oldest 6) I also remember coming home from 6th form/year 11 and falling asleep on the sofa most days. This has the knock on effect that they are up in the evening!

nailak Tue 12-Mar-13 00:53:36

so basically andro as a society we prioritise having two woh parents, over time that could be spent in family activities?

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 23:52:32

I wish, DF said my 8pm bedtime since a toddler DD1 would be tired when she started school. Her DCs went to bed at 6.30 envy

Was she tired, of course she wasn't.

As for DD2, she both happily did longer than school at nursery and followed DD1s bad example.

In truth I'm not convinced DCs are half as tired as their parents like to think they are.

But some of them are grumpy and badly behaved. DD2 I'm looking at you. DD2 is an absolute angel at school and takes out all her pent up irritations on me as she walks out the gate.

Andro Mon 11-Mar-13 23:39:42

That's true MrsMushroom, but it could also be argued that it could disadvantage children with 2 WOH parents...especially if the earlier start means an earlier bedtime (thus meaning even less time with their parents).

MrsMushroom Mon 11-Mar-13 23:21:16

Andro but it WOULD make a difference to the children who have a parent on shifts or part time.

nailak Mon 11-Mar-13 23:15:42

yes I agree, I think our system is more geared up to benefit a working lifestyle then a lifestyle geared towards family time and extra curricular activities.

This is not to say WOHP dont have quality time with their kids, this is not the point of what i am saying.

A lot of people work, but a lot of people also work shifts, nights, evenings etc.

Andro Mon 11-Mar-13 23:05:41

I think systems where kids go to school from 7.30-1 then are home for lunch and can then rest and have whole afternoon to spend with family, are better for family life and following different interests.

Except not every family has a SAHP, so children would be in childcare until a parent finished work - it wouldn't make a difference without an entire cultural shift to having a SAHP being the norm.

MrsMushroom Mon 11-Mar-13 23:05:11

Nail I think our system is too ridgid in the early years and with far too much emphasis on early reading etc.

I would like less push on academics and a 4 day week for the little ones. Although your idea of school ending early sounds nice, there would be a LOT of kids with child minders in the afternoons and not with family at all...people work.

nailak Mon 11-Mar-13 22:52:44

Doesn't anyone think it is an issue that the education system in this country means we do not get quality time with kids?

kids finish at 3.30, come home by four, tea, a bit of rest and tv, then is time for homework, supper bath and bed.

I think systems where kids go to school from 7.30-1 then are home for lunch and can then rest and have whole afternoon to spend with family, are better for family life and following different interests.

frecklemum Mon 11-Mar-13 22:32:26

My dd2 used to come home from school and put her pj's straight on. She has a summer birthday- so one of the youngest in her year and completely shattered by around 6pm. She would have an early tea (4.30pm) and never go to after school activities until at least after Easter, We used to give her a bath in the morning as she wouldn't have coped even lasting till 7pm.

pudding25 Mon 11-Mar-13 22:10:55

I am also a primary teacher with a child in reception. Kids are tired after school. Nicely, tell them to get a grip! Also, tell them to make sure their DC are going to bed by 7pm so they get a decent sleep if they are really tired. Limit playdates and clubs.

helsbels03 Mon 11-Mar-13 22:04:32

Wow what a caring teacher. I assume for the complaining parents this is their first child going to school?? I have 3 dc and am a teacher myself and most children are tired after school- they come to learn and that is tiring, you are not a babysitter. I definitely find giving mine a snack as soon as they come out helps, and an early bedtime. It's tough on days I work as I only have an hour- maybe this is the case with your parents? Perhaps they resent having to put them to bed so early and miss their time with them?

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