NBH Nursery & Pre-Prep host specialist talks on child health and wellbeing

Parenting, much like many things in life today, seems harder than ever and increasing numbers of parents feel daunted by the task – particularly if your child doesn’t sleep well, only seems happy in front of a screen, or picks up on the equally glorified and shamed body types in the media. It’s only natural for parents to worry but to ease the growing levels of parent anxiety and inform our mums and dads, North Bridge House Nursery and Pre-Prep hosted a series of expert talks on children’s health and wellbeing.

Throughout May and June, we welcomed Andrea Grace, Harley Street’s child sleep specialist, and Dr Aric Sigman, child psychologist, author and health education campaigner as part of our ‘Worried about…’ series.

Andrea Grace on Child Sleep

With over 25 years’ experience in the field, during which time she set up an NHS sleep service, Andrea’s talk drew on her extensive knowledge as one of the UK’s first independent child sleep experts, exploring sleeping patterns in young children and debunking child sleep myths.

Andrea revealed that day time napping after the age of four may be a sign/cause of night time sleep problems. The average amount of sleep for a three to five year-old is 11.5 – 12 hours a night, and it’s essential that your child learns to fall asleep alone in order to get a good night’s rest.

She encouraged parents to be loving but firm, establishing a set bedtime routine which ends with kissing your child goodnight and then leaving them, only returning at brief intervals to reassure them that you’re always around. This sense of security is deeper rooted by ensuring the bedroom is a safe haven; Andrea advised that we should never send our children to their room as a punishment.

Dr Aric Sigman on Child Screen Time and Body Image

Dr Sigman joined us twice to empower parents in managing children’s screen time and perception of body image. He first discussed the importance of parents capping their child’s recreational screen time, exploring the effects that screen time can have on children’s cognitive skills, including their attention span, brain development and academic progress.

Further to his work with medical organisations including The International Child Neurology Association and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, his exploration of child screen time revealed chemical changes that can occur in the brain and that too much TV can in fact cause development and health problems.

In his second talk, Dr Sigman focused on the growing feelings of body dissatisfaction among young children and the need to discuss body image before puberty, as children are now becoming self-conscious earlier and earlier. He called upon one study in particular, revealing that about 50% of little girls between three and six years old thought they were overweight.

Dr Sigman warned parents that we can unintentionally transmit insecurities about our bodies onto our children and suggested various ways to avoid this, such as not complaining about our body hang ups in front of them. He advised us to weigh ourselves away from our children and to avoid too much apparent obsession over dieting: “In other words, please hate yourself in private.”

Future Talks

We are delighted with the positive feedback we have received from the expert parent talks and thank parents for your continued support in helping us to help you. We look forward to revisiting ‘Worried about…’ in the new 2017 academic year and hope many of you will join us to pick up more useful tips from our experts.

 

Next event

Tuesday 17 October, 6pm
Dr Aric Sigman: Managing the Demanding Generation

 

North Bridge House Nursery and Pre-Prep parents can book their priority tickets via preprep@northbridgehouse.com.


Parent at series of 'Worried about...' talks

Thank you so much for putting on this wonderful series of talks – I have been to all three and have many important take-aways. Dr Aric Sigman is a great speaker and his talk was immensely interesting.

Parent at Dr Sigman's Body Image talk

Such a great experience to listen to so many wonderful ideas when it comes to helping our children with their body image. Thank you – very much appreciated.