School Start-up Woes: From Sleep Habits to Vision Problems
Q. How do I know if my school-age children are getting enough sleep? They always want to stay up past their bedtime.
A. All children do not need the same amount of sleep. Most studies show that children between the ages of 6 and 9 require about 10 hours of sleep. Preteens and teens need a little more than nine hours. Teens can be sleep deprived because their body clocks are telling them to stay up late, and schools often start so early.
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, your children may not be getting enough sleep:
* Do they usually fall asleep in the car?
* Do you have to get them out of bed every morning?
* Do they seem overtired during the day?
Be mindful of how much sleep your children are getting, especially during the school year when they need to be alert for class work.
Keep an eye out for vision problems
School vision-screening tests don’t always catch problems. The vision assessments given by schools are not comprehensive eye exams. Follow professional recommendations for eye exams and be alert for warning signs of potential vision disorders in your children including: squinting, closing both or one eye, constantly holding materials close to the face, tilting the head to one side, rubbing eyes repeatedly, having one or both eyes turn in or out, and experiencing redness or tearing in the eyes.
Keep in mind that risk factors for poor vision include premature birth, developmental delays, a family history of “lazy eye,” and diseases that affect the whole body, such as diabetes, sickle cell anemia or HIV.
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