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A Late School Start to Accommodate the Adolescent Brain?

Here at Think:Kids, as you likely know, we are in the business of helping adults and kids problem-solve about unmet expectations that can lead to behavioral challenges and relational conflict.  One perennial issue that gets brought to us involves getting a kid awake early enough to get out the door to school on time.  For our population of kids, significant Executive Functioning deficits can gum up this process, leading to quite stressful and contentious interactions.  When it comes to even more typical teenagers, however—whose brains are of course far from finished products—it would appear that much of the problem has very much to do with brain and other biological changes that are part of adolescent development.  An article in this week’s New York Times: “To Keep Teenagers Alert, Schools Let Them Sleep In” tells about a growing movement—and in the case described, one admirably spearheaded by a high school student herself—to have school start later.  The benefits for learning and other important outcomes discussed are notable and impressive.  How much more important might it be for the kids we see?  Quite a bit.  Here’s to hoping that this movement spreads, and maybe there’s something you (and your own teen) can do to help it along!


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