Later school start times for teens? Parents split on the issue

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February 25, 2015
Teen asleep on stack of books

Teenagers are chronically sleep-deprived and lack of sleep can lead to health problems and poor academic performance. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. But parents of teenagers are split on the issue.

In our latest NPCH Report, parents of teens ages 13-17 shared their perspectives on later school start times. The majority of parents (88%) said their teens currently start school earlier than 8:30 a.m. Among these parents, 27% would support a school start time after 8:30 a.m. only if it didn’t impact the school budget and 24% would support a later start time regardless. But about half of parents (49%) said they did not want their teens’ schools to start later. Read the full report: Parents conflicted about later school start times for teens.

Parents were asked to weigh the benefits and challenges of later school start times for their teens. 40% of parents said their teens would get more sleep and 22% said their teens’ school performance would improve if school started later. But 22% said later school start times wouldn’t leave time for after-school activities and 14% said starting school later would negatively impact transportation for their family.

Figure 1. Parents' Perceptions of Impact of Later School Start Times for Teens
View full size image | See other health infographics

In this short video, NPCH Director and pediatrician Matt Davis, MD, MAPP discusses these results:

What do you think?:
Do teens start school too early? How would a later school start time impact your family? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!

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