Preschoolers Healthy Sleep Habits Amount and Hours
Preschoolers Healthy Sleep Habits Amount and Hours
In view of the general recognition of the importance of sleep, especially during the early years of life when the growth rate is at a maximum and the physical demands of the organism are correspondingly great, it is surprising to find so little experimental evidence available as to the actual amount of sleep needed by very young children.
Standards that have been published by different authorities on child guidance vary widely, and appear to have based their recommendations as to the amount of sleep needed by children of various ages on a study of a very small number of children.
Blanton and Seham believe 15 hours to be a minimum requirement for children who are two years of age, and 14 hours for children who are three years of age.
Langdon quotes 14 to 16 hours as the requirement for two year old children, and 11 to 14 hours for three and four-year olds.
Arlitt gives 13 to 15 hours as the necessary amount of sleep for two year old children and 12 to I4 hours for three and four year olds.
In recent years studies made by research groups have shown uniformity in their results, and the standards quoted from the literature are more than children really sleep.
Interesting and quite reliable data is furnished on the hours of sleep by Faegre and Anderson’s analysis of home reports made by the Institute of Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota, in cooperation with over a thousand mothers in all sections of the state.
The mothers four times during the year, filled out a report giving details of the child’s sleep for a period of one week. The average amount of total sleep taken by two year old children was found to be 12 hours 43 minutes out of the 24 hours.
The average amount of total sleep taken by three year olds was 12 hours, 7 minutes, and the amount taken by four year olds 11 hours 43 minutes.
This shows that the mean amount of total sleep decreases with advancing age, this decrease tending to be the result of the amount of time spent in napping and sleeping during the day.
These figures are within a few minutes of the amount found by Gardner in her analysis of home reports made by a large number of Merrill-Palmer parents and by Blatz and Bott in their study.The mean amount of night sleep shows but little change within the ages considered.
It should be remembered always there is considerable variation in individual children and that even within the same family one child may consistently sleep more or less than another. Children at all ages between one and
seven years sleep very close to eleven hours per night, it was found There is general agreement among authorities in the field of child care that the mid-day nap of the young child is very important.
“There seems to be no reason for discontinuing the afternoon nap and many good reasons for keeping it a part of the regular routine.”
“One cannot overemphasize the importance of this habit and the obligation of parents to see that it is carried out. The afternoon nap is a very necessary part of the child’s schedule. This break in the day’s activities is of great importance to the well-being of all children, although not all require it to the same extent.”
The child is busy and active, almost every minute of his waking time, so that fatigue and strain will surely result unless periods of activity alternate with periods of rest and relaxation.
Dr. Thom states: “The nap should be considered an important part of the child’s regimen up to 5 years of age and longer if it can be continued without too much friction, as fatigue is one of the most important elements in causing neurotic traits in children.The tired child is very apt to be irritable, fault finding, selfish, finicky about his food, and generally discontented.”Advertisement
The nap should be scheduled soon after the midday meal.
Three things need to be taken into consideration.
The nap should not prevent the child from getting his out-of-door play during the sunny part of the day, especially in winter; sleep in the late afternoon is very apt to interfere with night sleep in a child of over three years; and it is not advisable to let a child play immediately after a large dinner, at which time he is apt to feel relaxed and most ready for his nap.
“Rest aids digestion whereas under play conditions emotion is likely to be aroused which will interfere with the digestive function.”
Having had his dinner at midday, the child should go to bed very soon afterwards. Whatever time is chosen, the child should be put to bed with unfailing regularity.
How long the nap should be depends on the needs of the individual child. Faegre and Anderson state that it was found in the extensive study of the sleep of young children carried on at the University of Minnesota that there is a gradual decrease in the amount of time spent in napping as the child grows older. The Children’s Bureau says,
“It is not wise to let a child over three years old sleep more than two hours in the daytime unless he is underweight and unless he sleeps 11 to 12 hours at night besides.”
That the afternoon sleep is largely under the control of the parent,whose responsibility it is to control the conditions of
sleep, is shown clearly when certain children are first brought to a nursery school. Often the parent assures the teacher, in the presence of the child usually, that her child never sleeps in the afternoon any more. Such children almost always sleep after a short period at the school. Interruptions in the home routine which suggest to the child that it is a matter of choice whether he rests or not are undesirable and tend to make for difficulty.
In the home a calm firm attitude on the part of the parent is very helpful in getting the child to take a nap every day. It is an attitude that can be acquired to some extent by every parent, I believe. Certainly the regularity of nap time after the midday meal is possible for every child.
Dr. Blanton says, “One of the most common causes of failure of the nap is irregularity.” When this is a routine measure the child accepts his rest as a matter of fact.
Faegre and Anderson believe, “The child should be completely undressed for his nap. If this babyhood custom is not dropped, a time of rebellion is less likely to arise.”
Naturally the associations with being undressed are conducive to sleep. A darkened room and absence of any toys in view may also help the child to get needed day sleep. Even if the child does not sleep, he gets the benefit of quiet and rest from his activities, although it has been shown that the young child should sleep during the nap time.
Preschoolers Healthy Sleep Habits Amount and Hours Article Source : This article courtesy should goes to ” Sleep problems of the preschool child ” book submitted by Adelaide Romine Holcombe.