A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

Naps Make Nice!

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Preschool kids need a lot of sleep. On average, they need 11 to 14 hours every day, including a one- to three-hour afternoon nap. Naps are not only good for a child’s physical and mental health, but also for their emotional health.

It’s a small word, but it has a big impact on infants and toddlers. Naps are crucial in early childhood for a developing young mind. Studies have shown that when young children are deprived of a mid-day nap, it can lead to more negative behaviors. Now, a recent study at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst suggests that extra daytime sleep is also helping toddlers regulate emotions.

Researchers observed 43 children as they completed a task twice: once after taking a nap and then again after spending the equivalent time awake. They found that when the toddlers were nap-deprived, their ability to regulate emotions was impaired.

There are things parents can do to make sure their child is getting that much-needed afternoon nap. Make sure nap time is consistent and that he or she avoids caffeine and artificial lights like TVs and cellphones before sleep. Finally, read your child a book right before a nap, as if you were tucking him or her into bed at night.

If your child naps at preschool or daycare, try to keep the routines the same—that way, your toddler will have an easier time napping during the weekends.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/desc.12411/full)

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