Positive Parenting: Naps are not just for toddlers anymore

 

Nearly 20 percent of all children are sometimes drowsy from a lack of sleep, which can have negative impacts on their physical and emotional health. Now new research from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Irvine found that getting some daytime sleep is not just for toddlers and preschoolers.

Studies have shown that a daytime nap for young toddlers can improve mood, behavior, and memory. But most kids give up this nap by age five. Now new research shows that these daytime naps may be beneficial to kids as old as 12. Researchers studied kids ages ten to 12 years old in China and found that those who had a midday nap were happier, had more self-control, fewer behavior problems, and a higher IQ. Sixth graders who napped at least three times a week increased their academic performance by seven percent.

Even though naps are not built into the school system for older kids, the study suggests that kids may benefit from midday naps during weekends or days that school is not in session. Helping your child get more ZZZ's may lead to them being more focused when awake.

In other parts of the world, naps are a daily part of life for all ages. In Spain, Italy, China, Greece, the Philippines and Mexico, it's customary to take a nap during the day that lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, or sometimes more.