The Importance of Sleep for Young Children

We all know how a terrible night’s sleep can have a detrimental effect on our performance and overall well-being. Being tired and sleep deprived shortens our tempers, slows our reflexes and impacts our mental processes.

So with all this in mind, it’s not surprising to discover that when young children are tired it can negatively affect their ability to learn and to process and store new information.

Our little learner’s brains and their bodies are working super hard in these early years. They are growing physically and mentally, developing their senses and cognitive abilities, and all the while trying to retain and make sense of the constant stream of new information on offer to them. Children often react differently and more severely to a lack of quality sleep, and it’s easy to see why.

How much sleep do children need?

Every child is unique and no developmental milestone is set in stone! However, the offers some really useful recommendations based on the approximate amount of sleep needed for a child of a certain age to be fully rested.

According to their figures, this ranges from 11-14 hours for 1 to 2-year-olds, and 10-13 hours for 3 to 5-year-olds.
This does not necessarily mean all at once, in a big block of sleep. Many toddlers still nap during the day.

This does not necessarily mean all at once, in a big block of sleep. Many toddlers still nap during the day.

Sleep and memory

Many studies have found that well-rested children, who maintained a good and consistent quantity and quality of sleep for their age, were able to remember and recall things they had been shown or taught during the day.

Children who are tired tend to be more distracted, their attention span is shortened and this can make learning and concentrating very hard.

Getting young children to sleep

Every child is unique when it comes to the optimum amount of sleep needed for them, just as every child is unique when it comes to their natural sleeping patterns and preferences.

Some children have no problem with falling asleep easily and getting into a healthy bedtime routine, but others can struggle with this and need a bit of support and encouragement.

Try making sure they have had plenty of activity during the day, mental and physical. This will help to make sure they are at a healthy level of tiredness and are not going to bed feeling restless. Then begin a calming bedtime routine that suits you and your child. A warm bath, soothing music and bedtime stories can help your tired little learner to relax and prepare for another big day full of exciting challenges.

At Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning and Childcare we cater for children from just 6 weeks of age until they are school-ready at the age of 5. We know that the sleeping patterns and naptimes in our centres must be flexible to allow for individual needs and routines, and our super fun activity-based curriculum and sports programs will ensure your little one is a healthy level of tired by bedtime!