on Friday I gave a presentation to our parents at our weekly Friday morning parent coffee on the importance of making sure children get enough sleep. this is something we try to constantly tell our parents- that their children will do better in school if they go to bed early- early as in before 11pm. it's a topic that is a constant struggle. parents all have different reasons- either cultural or practical- to keep their children up late. for some they don't pick their child up from the babysitter until 10, others would never see their child if their spouse put him to bed at 10. some put their children to sleep on the couch in the living room they share with three other families so even if they put their child to sleep on time they can't control the people coming and going from the apartment they are so grateful to have.
during parent conferences I'd made a brochure about the importance of sleep so that we could share it with parents whose children we were the most concerned about. we decided to follow it up with a parent coffee.
friday was one of the coldest days we've had all year a d I was amazed that parents still came out in the cold (considering most of them walk to our school). still they came out to once again remind me how much I love the parents at my school.
they shared their bedtime routines, their struggles, gave each other tips, and told jokes. the room was filled with parents from all over- two Muslim women from an African country sat up front, mothers from Korea, Vietnam, china, south America, a father from Ghana who shared his thoughts in his calming accent (I love the Ghana-accent) while the women shook their heads and laughed at the idea of their own husbands sharing the load.
in many ways I think it was productive. we shared facts about how much sleep children need which was met with gasps. we shared resources the parents could use, strategies to help inforce an earlier bed time. but I was struck the most by the power of the weekly parent coffee. I've presented at them before but it's been awhile and I'd forgotten how amazing it is that my school provides parents with a place to go to share ideas, concerns, and laugh about parenting. I love our parents- their dedication even in the cold, their perspectives, their struggles for their children.