Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Aren't they a little old for naptime?

Yes, it's 4:30 and both of the kids are fast asleep on their nap mats on the floor. Ok, they're 13 years old and maybe they are a bit too old for naps, but they both come home from school looking exhausted, and they need to recharge. I've had about a bazillion experts tell me not to let them sleep in the afternoon, but they need the extra sleep. It is the only way they'll be able to make it through homework and the rest of the evening until bedtime without a tantrum.

Why kids need naps at this advanced age seems to depend upon the kid. I know for the Boy, he spends all day at school stuffing down his simmering rage. He has such issues with other people and he needs an outlet to get him from his anger back to pleasantness. Today he got into a fight with another kid, a junior. That would make this kid 17ish, a good 4 years older than the Boy. They were playing football in the gym and the junior kept pushing into the Boy, trying to plow him out of the way. The Boy eventually lost it, as he does so often, and thru out a punch. The junior came back at him, and then it got broken up. The Boy came home in tears. You could see he'd been holding it in from the second he got on the bus, and as he walked in, the flood gates opened up. He needed hugs and a backrub, and then a nap. The nap will get him to put it all in persepective and he'll be able to deal with the whole situation tomorrow when the other kid apologizes to him (which is coming, as we heard from the program director already).

On the other hand, the Girl has non-verbal learning disabilities that make it very hard for her to pay attention and understand what is being said in school. She struggles all day long trying so hard to pay attention and take notes and get the gist of what's assigned. She's such a good diligent student and it's so hard for her that she comes home exhausted. Even when she does day camp in the summer, she's wiped by the time she gets home. She has to work about 5 times harder than anyone else just to understand basic conversations. That is tiring. So she naps, is that really wrong?

This is yet another one of those YMMV moments, where as a parent I made decisions that go against the grain of conventional wisdom because it's right for my family. Of course, this makes us eat dinner late, sometimes as late as 8 pm, which makes us very continental, I think. But we eat together as a family every single night, and that's a good thing. Ok, the kids fight thru dinner unless the TV is on in the next room, but even so, we sit down and talk every night around the dinner table. I'm doing OK with this raising teenagers thing, at least so far.

Yawn. I think I'll take a bit of a snoozy myself.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing wrong with naps. My 17 year old takes them,I take them.
Teenager circadian rhythms shift to a later sleep cycle just ehn they have to get up early for school. There is a movement to get high school to start at Nine am instead of Eight, because teenagers are chronically sleep deprived.

Naps are probably the only way to make up for the fact the kids can't sleep when they need to (in the am)

16/9/05 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

Our town actually changed the High School schedule to start at 8 instead of 7:20. The only problem is, they didn't change the bus schedule. So unless we want to drive him ourselves, he still has to get up very early to catch a 7:05 bus.

Margalit, maybe the late bedtime is a factor?? Mine is 15, and his weekday bedtime is 10:30, with weekends 11:00 unless there's something going on. He couldn't function going to bed at 2:30 ever.

16/9/05 6:39 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Yup, the schools start ridiculously early. Our high school starts at 7:40 but because we have door to door transportation, he doesn't have to be on the bus till 7:20. So that's not too bad. And the new middle school starts at a pleasant 8:30 for the Girl who gets up raring to go. I hate living with a morning person. Today I had to tell her to STFU because she was telling me stories at 7 am. I am not willing to listen to anything but emergency evacuation plans at 7 am.

16/9/05 8:35 PM  

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