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Are Naps Necessary for Children?

Daytime naps are equally as important as nighttime sleep, contributing to a child’s good health and mood. Naps are necessary to ensure young kids accumulate sufficient hours of rest throughout their childhood years. Naps provide downtime, which not only gives parents a break during the day, but aids in early childhood physical and mental development. Their bodies and minds are given time to recharge. There’s also less chance of becoming overtired. If children become overtired, it’s actually more difficult for them to fall asleep at night.

Napping is Good for Children’s Wellbeing

A recent study of preschool children determined that napping resulted in the children performing better at a memory game. Research has also indicated that kids who don’t get enough sleep often have higher rates of obesity. This might have something to do with eating habits, since tired kids tend to eat more and typically choose unhealthy snacks. Additionally, when kids are overtired, they don’t have as much energy and aren’t as physically active as a result.

Every parent has probably experienced the tantrums, tears, and grumpiness of a napless day. Studies have shown that toddlers who skip naps are more anxious, less joyful, and have more severe reactions to aggravating situations.

How much sleep does my child need?

How much daytime sleep children need depends on their age, the particular child, and their cumulative sleep over a 24-hour period. The longer a child sleeps at night, the less time they will need to nap during the day. Sleep requirements decrease as children get older, with infants needing about 14-18 total hours of sleep per day and toddlers (age 1 to 3 years) needing 12 to fourteen hours, including a one to three hour afternoon nap. Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) average approximately 11-12 hours at night, including a daytime nap, while school-age kids (5 to 12 years) require around 10-11 hours at night.

Setting up a daily nap routine and sticking to it is the key to good napping. If your child acts sleepy during the day, gets irritable in the afternoon, has trouble getting up in the morning, has difficulty focusing on schoolwork, or shows signs of impatience or aggression, a lack of sleep may be the reason. Consider adjusting your child’s nap schedule if needed.