Child Psychology: Effects of Sleep on School Performance
One of the biggest concerns of parents and families in terms of children’s development is their ability to learn and do well in school. There are a lot of factors that contribute to academic excellence: the instruction, curriculum, and the school itself. Home environment and family routines can also affect school performance. According to child psychology experts, sleep does a lot more for your child’s academics than you might think.
When a child does not do well in school, there are certain assessments made to find out the causes. Often, child psychology professionals will conduct IQ tests and other modes of assessing the child’s expected level of achievement.
Our licensed child therapists are also trained and skilled in administering these assessments. If you feel like your child needs additional help or counseling, do not shy away from seeking professional help. The earlier the problems are addressed, the sooner you can find the appropriate solutions for them. There are many causes of these academic problems, and it may be possible that an inadequate amount or poor quality of sleep is one of the culprits.
Studying the Child Psychology of Sleep and Academic Performance
There is a recent study that tested the relationship between sleep and school achievement in children. 280 10-year old kids from varying levels of intelligence were examined. Over seven nights, their sleep was evaluated objectively to gauge duration and quality. The Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Intelligence and state tests for reading and math were administered. All participants had no documented sleep disorder or intellectual disability.
At the end of the study, the overall results showed a significant correlation with achievement. Children with higher intelligence showed a smaller magnitude of this correlation with sleep quality measures. Children with lower intelligence did not show any differences in the correspondence between achievement and intelligence based on sleep measures. The experiment needs to be further replicated and improved, but its results show clearly that higher IQ kids will almost always do better than lower IQ kids – however, poor sleep may affect their chances at maximizing their academic potential.
The implications of this study can prove to be substantial, especially in children living in lower economic standards. Poverty may equate to either poor quality or quantity of sleep, which can hinder a child’s ability to reach his full potential at school, whether he has low or high IQ. Can lower class kids do better at school if their sleeping arrangements were to be improved?
Joseph A. Buckhalt Ph.D. talks more about this study and its implications on his Psychology Today post. (Buckhalt is currently teaching Psychology and has been a previous director at Auburn University’s School Psychology Program.)
Seeking Child Psychology and Sleep Counseling
Positive Kids Canada provides the necessary assessments and testing that your child may need. If you feel that he isn’t meeting his full potential at school, we can help you find out what the cause of the problem is. By realizing the root of the situation, we can guide you and your child in properly coming up with a healthy solution.
Feel free to contact us for more information about your child’s school performance, different external factors that may affect his academic achievements, and child psychology concerns in general.