Are naps really necessary for kids?
“But I don’t want to take a nap!” It’s the phrase nearly every child cries when they hear that it’s naptime.
While most parents find naptime to be beneficial to their children, a recent study finds that the kids may have been right all along.
According to a recent study published in the Archive of Disease in Childhood, napping after the age of two was linked to needing more time to fall asleep at night, poor sleep quality and spending less time sleeping through the night.
“The most significant finding from our study is that there is not support in the current body of research for enforcing naps in preschool children to improve their health and well-being,” said the study authors in a statement. “Napping in early childhood is often assumed to have universal benefit and this assumption hasn’t really been questioned by research before now.”
However, the authors caution parents that there is not a certain age when napping should end.
“The age of two years should not be seen as a definitive point from which napping should be discouraged,” they said. “Rather, parents of young children should respond to their child’s individual sleep need.”
- Naps should be continued as long as it works for your child and family. For example, if your preschooler takes a great nap and does just fine with bedtime, then go ahead and continue that routine.
- If naptime causes an emotional and physical struggle, then it may be time to re-evaluate and focus on independent quiet time away from technology and TV screens.
“It is generally our experience that good nappers are usually good nighttime sleepers as well because they understand the routine and expectation when it is time to sleep,” Dr. Traeger says.
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