5 Ways to Know Your Child is Ready for School
It’s just around the corner! A new school year. And a new school year means a new beginning. A variety of emotions fill students and parents as the long summer days come to an end. “The stakes have never been higher or more rewarding for those who recognize that “Sleep is a powerful medicine” says Dr. Rodney Willey, a diplomat in dental sleep medicine and the CEO of KoalaKIDZzz®, a division of Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends children ages 6 to 13 need 9-11 hours of sleep each night. However, more and more parents are recognizing just how difficult it is to ensure their student is getting the 9-11 hours. There is an increasing demand on student’s time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities. In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep. Nightmares and disruptions, mood swings, behavioral and cognitive problems add to making sleep related breathing disorder (SRBD) prevalent for school age children. SRBD impact their social life and their ability to learn in school, especially in math and science.
“Ready to Learn” became a national mantra in 1991, when the National Education Goals Panel adopted as its first goal that “by the year 2000, all children will enter school ready to learn.” This mantra is not outdated but is shared by educators and health care providers across the nation. At KoalaKIDZzz®, our ‘Back to School Readiness” protocols include the following:
- Sleep evaluation: One of the many reasons sleep is important for children/students is the fact that growth hormones are produced and regulated during adequate sleep that facilitates their growth. Sleep is essential for the growth of young children, which is why parents must ensure that their children sleep well during the night to maintain normal hormone balance.
- Dark Circles under the eyes is often a symptom SRBD. Approaches to learning, including enthusiasm, curiosity, temperament, behavior and values. When students are “Ready to Learn” the results are often demonstrated in the student’s attitude, eagerness to learn, cooperation, empathy, and the ability to express one’s own emotions are prominent.
- Symptoms of ADD/ADHD: Asking the right questions can lead to insights that were previously unknown. Did you know that 25-50% of children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also have sleep- related problems? Ongoing research findings show there is a correlation between SRBD and ADHD. Doctors and parents may be missing the sleep connection when having their child’s symptoms evaluated for ADHD, symptoms such as behavior issues, an inability to concentrate, and apparent hyperactivity. Left untreated, SRBD can lead to serious medical conditions.
- Bedwetting: Social and emotional development is another key factor to a successful school year. Bedwetting can destroy the self-esteem of a child. When a child is in deep sleep there are hormones which allows a child to produce less urine. If a child is not getting that deep sleep, then many times, the urine production continues through the night hours and the child will end up wetting the bed. Another cause for bedwetting is due to total exhaustion simply from a lack of quality sleep from the night before.
- Snoring/mouth breathing: If one or both parents have diagnosed or undiagnosed sleep apnea, chances are very likely their children will also suffer with SRBD. When parents observe snoring or mouth breathing, it is wise to have the child/youth evaluated and screened as soon as possible.
“Once we evaluate a child for SRBD, and treatment is needed, we can change their stars. We can begin non-invasive, non-prescription treatment immediately with a series of mouth appliances that are worn at night” says Dr. Willey. Whatever your role is in a child’s life, if you know they are struggling with any of the above symptoms, take the time to help them have their best successful school year! KoalaKIDZzz® is offering complimentary exams for students through the months of August and September. Visit us at www.koalasleepcenters.com and discover options your child can live with!