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This content is taken from the University of Wollongong's online course, Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds When children don’t get enough sleep, it affects everything overall to that child. So they’re tired, obviously. They’re irritable. It affects their metabolism as well. Their behavior becomes very, very much more challenging. So getting enough sleep is really important, especially for children zero to five, in setting that healthy sleep patterns for the future. If the kids don’t get regular sleep, they’re little buggers the next day. Not in terms of being naughty. But they don’t want to do things. They’re lacking energy. You see that a lot where you’ll say, come on, let’s go. We’re going to go for a walk down the beach. I don’t want to go. You know? And you get that response.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds If they’ve had sleep, yes, let’s go, where’s my hat. You know? And they’re more excited to do things. So sleep really affects their behavior, but also I affects their learning. So they don’t learn as much, because they don’t want to participate in the day if they don’t have enough sleep. So just in terms of sleep, I can guarantee probably 80% of the children that I’ve taught have got either a television in their room, or an iPad in their room. And there’s no parent control over that. So they’re up all hours, either watching the television or playing on the iPad. And then when they get to school, they’re so tired.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds And so that’s not really conducive to their learning because their tired and their grumpy, and they don’t want to be there. There’s lots of things we’ve tried. One of the things we definitely do is we don’t have televisions in the room. We don’t have iPads in their room. So they literally go get tucked into bed, and then they’re told to just start to rest. Sometimes I sing songs, so sing with the kids. You know, my daughter joins in, or tries to. Using technology probably an hour before bed or within that hour before they go to sleep really affects a child’s sleep. Not having enough food, if they haven’t eaten.

Skip to 2 minutes and 12 seconds They usually wake up hungry or be hungry when you want them to go to sleep. And that can affect how they wake up during the night as well, so– It’s easier to get my kids to sleep if they’ve been out all day doing things. If they’ve been running around, you know, and just being silly, you know, but just constantly moving and active, they fall asleep really easily. Getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important to re-energise the body and be able to function positively the next day.

What do parents and teachers have to say about sleep?

We asked parents and teachers what they think about sleep and its role in childhood health and well being.

In this video parents and teachers discuss many challenges facing children getting adequate sleep.

Conversation starter

  • Can you relate to any of the issues raised?
  • Do you agree or disagree with their opinions?
  • Have you had similar experiences or tried similar strategies?

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This video is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong