Wellness for Better Learning

October 20, 2017


Okay, I am ready. I am finally ready. Even though I am not a dietician or a doctor, I am ready to talk about children’s diets and sleep! I have always hesitated to discuss this topic because I do not want people to feel like they are being judged. I have taught for twenty years, have observed countless children, and have taken many professional development courses in these areas and am feeling confident to share my opinion and observations.

I have children and know that food and bedtimes can have issues surrounding them that are not easy to deal with. However, it is evident to me that controlling diet and having a strong nighttime routine that includes a good night’s sleep is important to a child’s growth, development, behaviour, and ability to learn.


In my home, bedtimes have always been followed and are a necessary element for my children to function. However, I have colleagues that have trouble getting their children to sleep and have struggled with bedtimes for years. We as as educators and as parents know the struggles that these two areas can create in a household, but also believe strongly that we need to keep trying to solidify these important routines.

Food is very challenging with one of my children. He is very particular and will often refuse to eat anything at all! This causes endless anxiety for me at school (I am his teacher!) because I know how quickly he can lose control of his emotions and his ability to concentrate because of low blood sugar. Therefore, I pack things in his lunch that I know he will eat. I admit that good nutrition is sometimes the secondary, because I just want him to eat.


Diet is far more complicated than just eating healthy and I will leave it to dieticians to inform us with the full details about what is necessary in our children’s diets. What I do know is that well balanced meals with all the food groups is important, and that minimizing sugar and “treats” is best. Food can directly affect the way our children learn and function throughout the day. It can affect a person’s mood, their ability to maintain self-control, and the ability to concentrate and retain information. I can give you an example from my own experience with my son and his rapidly fluctuating moods. Upon getting advice from a naturopathatic doctor, I learned how important fat can be in a child’s diet and how lack of it can turn a child into a “demon” (sorry, perhaps an exaggeration…). I saw that getting my son to eat more fat saw these mood fluctuations stop. I thought he was eating very healthily at the time, as he mostly wanted only fruit and vegetables, but in hindsight I realized that the natural sugars in the fruit and vegetables were causing his blood sugar to spike up and down like a roller coaster. I now try my best to ensure he has more protein and fats in his diet when he does feel like eating.

We all know how important a good night sleep is to how well we function in a day. The same is true for our children, and more so actually. Our children require more sleep than we do, and a lack of it is can become very apparent in their moods, self-control, and their ability to concentrate. We have very high expectations of children in our North American culture. They must go to school all day and learn, while maintaining a good mood and and remain focused and concentrated on their tasks. We should make it a priority to help them prepare for their day with a good night sleep. Yes, I know this not always easy and sometimes near impossible. Some children seem to need less sleep, some children have problems falling asleep, some children just fight the idea of going to bed! But, if we persist and keep up with providing a daily routine that does not fluctuate your child will benefit, and so will you!

terry-fox-2016-4169 2

While we all understand the struggles that can take place around eating and sleeping, I am mentioning it in hopes that parents keep up with the struggle and support each other with ideas. I know I could use some help sometimes for sure! It is of utmost importance to our children’s learning and overall well-being. Dialogue between parents about these struggles is important to help each other so that we can educate our children with appropriate knowledge about food and rest for their own futures. This way we can make an effort to ensure our children are getting what they need to become effective learners and people.

Do you have any success stories when it comes to your child’s diet and sleep?  Share in the comments below!

– Ms. Pam

Leave a reply

Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in Touch – Get News on WMA Events and Deadlines
Past Posts
Have a Question?

Call Us!

Our office hours are 8:30am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.

Send An Email