How much sleep do children need?

From the NHS website:

Below are the approximate hours of sleep needed by children of different ages, as recommended by the Millpond Children's Sleep Clinic, but see the useful chart that follows.

1 week
• daytime: 8 hours
• night-time: 8 hours 30 minutes
4 weeks
• daytime: 6 to 7 hours
• night-time: 8 to 9 hours
3 months
• daytime: 4 to 5 hours
• night-time: 10 to 11 hours
6 months
• daytime: 3 hours
• night-time: 11 hours
9 months
• daytime: 2 hours 30 minutes
• night-time: 11 hours
12 months
• daytime: 2 hours 30 minutes
• night-time: 11 hours
2 years
• daytime: 1 hour 30 minutes
• night-time: 11 hours 30 minutes
3 years
• daytime: 0 to 45 minutes
• night-time: 11 hours 30 minutes to 12 hours
4 years
• night-time: 11 hours 30 minutes
5 years
• night-time: 11 hours
6 years
• night-time: 10 hours 45 minutes
7 years
• night-time: 10 hours 30 minutes
8 years
• night-time: 10 hours 15 minutes
9 years
• night-time: 10 hours
10 years
• night-time: 9 hours 45 minutes
11 years
• night-time: 9 hours 30 minutes
12 years
• night-time: 9 hours 15 minutes
13 years
• night-time: 9 hours 15 minutes
14 years
• night-time: 9 hours
15 years
• night-time: 9 hoursAs ballpark recommendations this chart posted on Facebook by Wilson Elementary School of Kenosha, WI is useful.
16 years
• night-time: 9 hours
As ball-park recommendations this chart, which was posted on Facebook by Wilson Elementary School of Kenosha, WI. is handy.

time to bed.jpg

Try as one might!

Gambling "e-pidemic"

Available evidence indicates that exposure to gambling at a young age increases the risk that a person will become addicted in later life and figures from the Gambling Commission estimate that 55,000 children in the UK could have a gambling problem.
Now, newly published research by Demos and the Department of Management at Bristol University - which looked at more than 800,000 tweets relating to traditional gambling, as well as betting on e-sports (computer games tournaments played competitively ) - revealed that 28% of those retweeting or replying to esports betting tweets in the UK were children under 16.
Analysis shows 74 per cent of esports tweets and 68 per cent of traditional sports tweets appeared not to comply with advertising regulations in some way - for example, presenting gambling as an income source or encouraging gambling at unsociable times.
Showing a person under 25 in a gambling advert is against regulations – but as most professional esports players are in this age bracket the rules are flouted again and again.
Parents and teachers are likely to be completely unaware of gambling advertising on social media as, through the use of cryptocurrencies, children may be able to place bets without access to a bank account.
Professor Agnes Nairn, from the University of Bristol's Department of Management and co-author of Biddable Youth, said: "We were really surprised at the number of children actively engaging with esports gambling accounts. Yet with the massive growth in the esports industry, unless action is taken, we can only expect this figure to rise as sports and gambling seem to be inextricably linked.
In order to tackle these problems, the report is calling for technology companies to make better use of age verification tools and adtech to screen out children from gambling ads, and for regulators to both continue to pursue those breaking the rules and consider tightening regulations.

Regulators must regulate

Children's Sleep

Professor Russell Viner, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health co-authored a report, whose findings suggested that sleep is a more important factor than online activity in children’s mental health.
The researchers made the point that parents should worry less about the amount of time their children spend on social media during the day and instead make sure their offspring get enough sleep.
One approach that parents can take is to keep phones out of children’s bedrooms, adding that teenagers need up to 10 hours’ sleep a night.
On a similar note, but in a different context, Wendy M. Troxel, PhD, internationally recognized for her work on sleep and a senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation* and an adjunct faculty member in psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, worries about sleep deprivation due to how early school starts, especially in the U.S.A..
(*The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making through research and analysis.
For seven decades, RAND has used rigorous, fact-based research and analysis to help individuals, families, and communities throughout the world be safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. Its research spans the issues that matter most, such as energy, education, health care, justice, the environment, international affairs, and national security.
As a nonpartisan organization, RAND is widely respected for operating independent of political and commercial pressures. Quality and objectivity are its two core values).

Dr Troxel writes:
Without sufficient sleep, teens can’t function at their best. Research consistently finds inadequate sleep in teens is associated with increased risk of mental and physical health problems, including depression, suicide and obesity. It also creates problems with their concentration, memory and ability to learn.
She is especially attuned to how incompatible adolescent biology is with having to go to school early in the morning. Indeed, it’s led to an epidemic of sleep deprivation among American teens. In one study she worked on, nearly 2,000 teens from Los Angeles were tracked for four years finding that only 26% were getting the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night.
So what does she do to ameliorate the problem?
“At least two weeks before the first day of school, I start adjusting my kids’ sleep schedule, shifting them toward waking up when they need to during the school year. Our bodies adjust more easily if we make shifts in smaller increments, so I have my kids start setting their alarms about 15 minutes earlier each day and shift their bedtimes earlier by about the same amount. Depending on when you get started and how much of a shift your child needs to make, you may have to shift by larger increments.”
In addition to health problems, sleep deprivation also has measurable negative effects on teens’ behavior. In a recent RAND study, our team found that teens who did not catch up on sleep on the weekends were twice as likely to engage in risky sexual behavior — such as having sex without a condom or using drugs or alcohol before or during sex — than those who slept in. Our work and other studies have further shown that sleep problems are linked with an increased likelihood of teens using marijuana or alcohol or engaging in other dangerous behaviors such as reckless driving.
Even knowing all I do about sleep needs and patterns, there’s only so much I can do, frankly, when school starts at 7:35 a.m. — as it does in my kids’ case. There is a wave of individual school districts across the county that are delaying school start times to address the epidemic of teen sleep loss. The evidence shows when schools start later, teens get more sleep. They’re also more likely to show up for school, be on time, be ready to learn, and are more likely to graduate.
So, parents like me do what we can. We ease the transition for our kids. We let them catch up on sleep on the weekends — within reason. And we encourage our school districts to start heeding the science on teen sleep.”

In terms of worries concerning screentime activity see this report.

The advice is: make sure your children get enough sleep.

Climate Change

One of the major concerns adults have when considering the question “What are we doing to our children?” is the effect of climate change.

In a report entitled “Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming” issued in May 2019 by the Committee on Climate Change there are some very useful suggestions for the actions that people can take to reduce their carbon footprints, and contribute to the UK and global goal of reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Although, by now, many of these suggestions have become familiar to us (and, maybe, being observed), there may be others that we have not thought about, so I quote from the Report:

The way you travel:

Choose to walk and cycle or take public transport in preference to a car.

Make your next car an electric one, and then charge it 'smartly'.

Minimise flying, especially long-haul, where possible.

In your home:

Improve the energy efficiency of your home (or ask your landlord to) through draught-proofing, improved insulation, choosing LED light-bulbs and appliances with high efficiency ratings.

Set thermostats no higher than 19°C and the water temperature in heating systems no higher than 55°C.

Consider switching to a low-carbon heating system such as a heat pump, especially if you live off the gas grid; if you are on the gas grid consider a hybrid system.

What you eat and buy:

Eat a healthy diet, for example with less beef, lamb and dairy.

Eliminate food waste as far as possible and make sure that you use separate food waste collections if available. Reduce, reuse and recycle your other waste too.

Use only peat-free compost.
Choose good quality products that will last, use them for longer and try to repair before you replace.

Share rather than buy items like power tools that you don't use frequently. If you don't/won't use your car regularly then consider joining a car club instead.

Look for changes that you can make in your workplace or school to reduce emissions and support your colleagues to make changes too.

Talk about your experiences and help to raise awareness of the need to act. Consider the wider impacts of your actions (e.g. through your pension or ISA and via the companies you buy from).

I think these last two points are extremely important and are very much in line with what OORFC sets out to do.

Another quote describes challenges beyond individual efforts:

Industry must be largely decarbonised, heavy goods vehicles must also switch to low-carbon fuel sources, emissions from international aviation and shipping cannot be ignored, and a fifth of our agricultural land must shift to alternative uses that support emissions reduction: afforestation, biomass production and peatland restoration.

Where there are remaining emissions these must be fully offset by removing CO₂ from the atmosphere and permanently sequestering it, for example by using sustainable bioenergy in combination with carbon capture and storage.

Life will be different; and life must thrive - not merely survive.


What are we doing to our children?

According to a Sustainable Food Trust (SFT) article ( ) we could be leaving them, our children, enough soil, globally, for just 60 harvests or, in the U.K. just another 100 harvests. A pretty frightening thought.

The article does, however, go on to say: “This doesn’t necessarily mean that all soils will be completely exhausted within that time, but that at the current rate, the productivity of many soils will have declined so much that farmers will be unable to produce enough food for the global population, regardless of how much fertiliser they apply or the type of seeds they sow.”

But this is hardly very comforting.

A Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology postnote recalls how organic matter is vital for the physical, chemical and biological functioning of soils, going on to say:

Around 18% of the organic matter present in arable topsoils in 1980 had been lost by 1995. One of the reasons for this was that grasslands were ploughed for arable use. Some experts consider that the amount of organic matter in some soils may now be reaching such low levels that crop production may not be sustainable in the long term. As organic matter declines, so does the soil structure, so that the soil becomes more susceptible to physical erosion. Steps being taken to address loss of organic matter from soils include recycling farm manures, sewage sludge, and composted green wastes in soils. However, injudicious application of these organic materials may lead to diffuse water (nitrate and phosphate) pollution, and air pollution (odour and ammonia). The challenges in future are to maintain and where possible enhance soil organic matter while minimising the polluting effects of applying organic materials.

The SFT article also says: “The conversion of grassland to cropland inevitably results in a significant loss of organic matter, with carbon and nitrogen from the soil transferred to the atmosphere in the form of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Although clay soils are more resilient than lighter soils to the loss of organic matter, where the land is used for growing crops year after year and not periodically returned to grass, organic matter losses also result in loss of soil structure. This makes the soil more vulnerable to erosion, which becomes a particular problem if cropland is left bare over winter. Some 3 million tonnes of topsoil are lost in the UK each year. Globally, 24 billion tonnes are lost annually, 3.4 tonnes for every adult and child on the planet”.

Clearly there is a lot farmers must do to address this situation.

At the same time as this is happening we also have a situation whereby an estimated 3,415,000 tonnes of waste are disposed of in the U.K. food sector each year.

Much of this could be used for composting - the process of letting bacteria, fungi, worms or other organisms break down organic material to form the partially decayed organic matter called humus, which is a vital component of healthy topsoil.

And yet the amount of food waste sent for composting (including anaerobic digestion) in the U.K. in 2017 was just 386,000 tonnes.

In England, food waste collection amounts to about 10% of the waste being recycled. The Local Government Association’s paper on ‘Meeting EU recycling targets’, published in May 2015, stated that only about half of the councils in England offered food waste collection together with garden waste, and it also stressed that “given reducing local authority budgets it is unlikely that enough councils will either be able to maintain or add collection of food waste - unless it becomes more cost effective to do so”.

But note, in Scotland, local authorities are required to provide separate food waste collections in non-rural areas. And in Wales, there are mandatory local authority targets for recycling, re-using and composting household waste (including food waste). 99% of households were provided with separate food waste collection services in 2015. Indeed “In Wales, pretty much every single household can recycle food and they probably recycle twice as much food as England

Of course, many households could have their own composters, and may do already. It is estimated that home composting already diverts more than 500,000 tonnes per annum of garden and kitchen waste from the municipal waste stream, thereby also avoiding the costs of waste collection and disposal. (see video below or at

Worldwide, vast quantities of compost could be produced at home. For example in 2014, three out of four Americans didn’t compost. In 2015 alone, roughly one-third of the material that Americans threw in the waste bin could have been composted. A whopping 50 million tons of waste that could have gone to composting!

It behoves us to leave our children healthy soil – a necessity, not a nice-to-have.