Wake up!

Friday, March 14, 2014

This is our morning: When his alarm goes off at 6:30, my 11-year-old jumps in the shower, dresses, comes downstairs to make his lunch and eat his breakfast, and is out the door at 7:10 for a 7:50 start time. Clearly, he has yet to enter his teenage years.

Meanwhile, at 6:45, I knock on my 14-year-old's door until I hear her say she's up. At 7:00, I call up the stairs until she calls back down that yes, she's up. At 7:20, I walk upstairs to confirm she's out of bed and in the bathroom. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. At 7:35, if we're lucky, she flies down the stairs, grabs her backpack, runs back upstairs for whatever she's forgotten, and is out the door by 7:40 for the same 7:50 start time. No breakfast, no teeth brushing, a still half-asleep 14-year-old.

And then there's my 9-year-old, who has the luxury of sleeping until 7:45, eating a leisurely breakfast, and walking to school for an 8:30 start time.

Three different scenarios based largely on age (and a little on temperament).

So I was fascinated by this article in The New York Times about the shift in some high schools - finally! - to later start times. Why, I've always wondered, is a first-grader starting school at 8:30 while a Sophmore has to be there an hour earlier? According to the Times, researchers have found that teens who get eight to nine hours of sleep a night learn better, are less likely to be late, get in fights, or be injured while playing sports. Another variable? Fewer car crashes in schools that start later. And for those who say, "Get these kids to bed earlier," (and that would be me), the research also shows that teens tend not to be drowsy until around 11 at night (and of course their pinging screens don't help).

A later start date may not happen for my older daughter when she's in high school, but it certainly seems logical. Imagine the calm that could be our morning. I'm even going to pretend for the moment that the bedroom in the photo above is hers :).

(Photograph from countryliving.com).


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