For most students semester breaks are romantacised. They are the promised land of all the sleep they can handle. From ticking off each day left until they're finally free from early mornings and having their alarm break into their dreams. As they grow older they tend to use semester breaks as the finish line that indicates that the uphill battle that was exam time is over. Constantly reminding themselves that they'll get to sleep more and relax once the school term is over. But is sleeping more during semester break a good idea? More importantly, how does it affect your usual sleep schedule?
Staunch routine lovers would say that the best thing to do is keep your child's sleep routine and I agree with them to an extent. It's important for parents to make sure that children keep as close to their bedtime and wake up time as possible be it exam time, a regular school week or holidays while they're young. Young children thrive on routine and structure; sticking to their daily routine is beneficial. But the older they get the more they need flexibility.
Teens work hard at school. From staying up late working on projects to having to be up early to get in practice when a sporting/ cultural club showcase tournament is looming. This essentially ensures that by the time term ends they are very tired pandas.
A sleep expert was once quoted in an article saying that "the only way we know if we have had enough sleep is if we wake up naturally, without an alarm, and that is what teenagers usually do during school holidays." I agree fully with this. Sleeping in is an important luxury and children (especially teens) can benefit from it. I recommend trying it each term, even if it's just for the first few days of break.
But when happens when the semester break is over?
You deal with this when it comes by taking it one day at a time. Kids and parents maybe rushed in the mornings for a couple of mornings when a new term starts but you'll get back into your groove soon enough. That's the funny thing about sleep/wake rhythm -- after a while your body learns and even begins to anticipate your alarm clock.
Do you allow your school age children to sleep in during the holidays?