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Better Sleep for Children

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“40% of children suffer with sleep problems”

This is according to research conducted by The Sleep Charity UK. In children and young people, poor sleep patterns adversely affect learning and cognitive ability which means they often fail to meet their full potential in school.

Sleepless Britain

“An hours’ less sleep over three nights can impair academic performance at school by 2 years”

This astonishing statistic came from a study of school aged children in 2017, which formed part of the Panorama documentary ‘Sleepless Britain’. It found that the children who were part of the experiment started to sleep for around an hour extra per night and the results were staggering. The results are as follows:

  • Results on the memory test increased by 57%
  • Attention and focus improved by 44%
  • Problem-solving ability increased by 66%.

As well as links to children’s attainment, sleep deprivation is also linked to obesity and other health issues as well as an increased risk of behavioral problems. This link has now started being recognised throughout the primary curriculum with the importance of good quality sleep being part of the  Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory Guidance. 

World Sleep Day

On March the 17th 2023, it is World Sleep Day. As part of this exciting awareness event, Little Dreams are launching a three part programme called ‘Better Sleep for Children’. This focusses on sleep needs for primary school and nursery children aged 3-10 years old. This programme will equip parents and teachers with the skills they need to enable them to support children.

Better Sleep for Children was launched in January 2023 after Headteacher, Alison Blackmore, from The Moorland Federation of Schools in Somerset, reached out to Little Dreams with a recognition that a lack of sleep was affecting learning in the classroom:

“Sleep is such a fundamental element of a child’s well-being and ability to concentrate and stay focused in their learning and play.  We wanted to offer parents support and advice from experts on how to help improve their child’s sleep routines and habits to ensure the children were fulfilling their potential in school”. 

Better Sleep for Children is a three-part programme, with the first two parts being offered for free to participating schools:

  • A 20 minute pre-recorded webinar for parents on the importance of sleep, sleep needs for school aged children and our top tips for getting better quality, longer and more restful sleep
  • A 30 minute pre-recorded webinar for teachers on sleep needs for school aged children and how they can support families who may be making changes to their little ones sleep in order to improve it.

As well as the sessions above, the third and final part of Better Sleep for Children is a 90-minute live webinar for parents. This is an opportunity to go into much more detail on how they can help their child to get better quality and more restful sleep It also includes practical advice on how to implement behavioral sleep approaches as well as plenty of time for asking questions about their little ones sleep. This final part of the Better Sleep for Children programme can be purchased by individual schools.  

This is what Naomi Philip, Executive Head of the Moorland Federation of schools had to say about the third element of the programme:

“Little Dreams have been absolutely brilliant to work with, they have been supremely professional throughout the creation of the courses bespoke to our needs; we would highly recommend them.  Their advice and support for our families and staff in the federation has been really well received.  Sleep is so undervalued in terms of adult wellbeing, but also in the development of young children, and getting it right isn’t always easy but is really important.  Parenting is both wonderful and challenging, and at times every parent feels a little lost as to what is the best thing to do.  What Jenna and Fay can do is target support, give strength and confidence to parents and help provide the right advice and guidance. We are really thankful for the work they have done with our Federation of first schools”.

Parent, Rosy Arch, who attended the 90 minute live webinar said:

“As a parent of two children aged 5 and 10, it was incredibly useful to learn more about how much sleep they really need and what positive steps we can put into place to enable better sleep for them (and us!). Fay and Jenna kept the information easy to understand and shared real life experiences to explain techniques for better sleep. We have already adapted out evening routine which has had a positive impact for all of our family”.

To find out more about how your school can get involved with the Better Sleep for Children programme, either as part of World Sleep Day or as part of the wider RSE curriculum, get in touch via the contact box,  I would love to tell you more and help your students and children achieve their potential.

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