Why parents really do feel burnout by Friday revealed in new study

  •  A new study looked at how children aged 3 to 6 behaved during the week
  • Children became more impulsive and inattentive as the week progressed
  •

By the time it gets to Friday, some parents might be ready to pull their hair out.

Now, experts have discovered that children really do become more impulsive and inattentive as the week goes on.

As part of a study, 60 children aged between three and six wore accelerometers to detect how much they were moving around while at school.

Using this data, combined with teacher reports, researchers could work out when children were likely not paying attention and had less control over their behavior.

Experts have discovered that children really do become more impulsive and inattentive as the week goes on

Analysis revealed that children’s ability to regulate their behavior declined across the week, indicating that self-regulation is a resource that can be depleted through repeated use in everyday settings like school.

They also discovered that children with better self-regulation showed greater consistency in applying it across days.

Andrew Koepp, the study’s lead author from the University of Pennsylvania, said: ‘When a child has difficulty sustaining attention or sitting still, it disrupts their learning and can disrupt the classroom.

‘Research has consistently found that difficulties controlling attention and behavior predict more difficulties later in life, such as lower educational attainment and more financial problems.’

The researchers said it may be useful for teachers to understand that young children may be most calm and ready to learn earlier in the school week.

Writing in the journal Child Development, they said: ‘Why does a child struggle to sit through a story one day, but not the next?

‘Why do they rush impulsively into one activity but not another?

‘Controlling one’s behavior takes effort, so we hypothesized that children’s self-regulation might tire across the school week.

‘We found that children’s daily forward-motion increased across the school week, indicating that they displayed more uncontrolled behavior as the week progressed.’

They added: ‘To engage in a lesson, children must first be able to calm their bodies, sustain attention and resist the impulse to do something else.

‘The notion that there may be an ideal time for learning is powerful for educational practice.’

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