Wake-up call - early start to the day is for the birds
If anybody's taken notice of me recently, they may have seen a more rested demeanour. A friendlier face. A later start to my work day and longer lunches.
My days have been happier and, despite spending less time at my desk, I've been more productive.
It is school holidays. There is time to lie in for a little longer - no mad rush at the crack of cold dawn, shouting to get three small bodies out into the world before they've had the chance to recover from the shock of their parents' mean wake-up call.
During every holiday , I wonder why school has to start so early. Are we at our best at 7.45am? Does our morning craziness set my children up for a day of learning? Wouldn't a later, easier and more relaxed start be more constructive?
Our days end quite late. There is supper, reading and winding down with a game or two. Getting up at 6am seems unnatural, counterproductive and cruel.
It can't be good for anybody. I understand there are issues like getting children to school before the work day starts. But surely parents can start their work days later? A later start, with a longer lunch and a siesta before fetching children from school and putting in a little more work, would be my idea of a civilised schedule.
But we have late nights, early mornings, little time for lunch, clashing schedules and stressed bodies - a breeding ground for dreaded diseases .
It has been proven, maybe not for my children's age group, but for pre-teens and teenagers, that early bell-ringing at school is depriving children of sleep.
Over time, it is said, sleep deprivation leads to serious consequences for academic achievement, social behaviour and the health and safety of the children.
It's not only for these reasons I feel school shouldn't be treated like an early morning education factory. Short-lived, precious childhoods need to be enjoyed. We need more playfulness, little of which is displayed in mad school mornings.
Playfulness, states the UK's new Save Childhood Movement, is "a vital characteristic of childhood and an essential factor in the development of risk-taking and creativity. The role of free play needs to be acknowledged and its centrality in children's lives protected".
Actually, never mind their childhoods. It's my adulthood that needs protecting.
I see a later wake-up as an essential need for maintaining my sanity.