We all know how important rest is when it comes to our adult lives, but how important is it for our children? Do they need more rest than us or are they really just full of beans? Read on to find out how rest will impact our children for the better and why.
Why Should Children Rest?
Growing up can be exhausting. There are so many stimuli, so much to learn and take in, and so many changes happening to the body. Rest isn’t just about the physical, though that is a really important part! Rest is also about the emotional. Resting helps children physically and emotionally unwind so they stay healthy and refreshed for the rest of the day.
Resting doesn’t specifically mean naps either. Sometimes there are some children who are just not great at sleeping or find it difficult to remain still and quiet for a length of time. However, these children should still be offered the opportunity to rest.
Why is Rest and Sleeping Important for Children?
When it comes down to sleeping, there are so many benefits. Sleep is something we all need, and it plays a crucial role in our mental and physical health. It is important that children have lots of rest and sleep for a number of reasons.
Rest Helps Children Process Information
When children are resting or sleeping, the brain is still actively working, helping children process information from the day. Furthermore, this is also when the brain stores old memories, so a good night’s sleep is vital for this processing to take place.
Rest Helps Increase Children’s Attention Span
Not only does sleep help children feel refreshed for a new day but the brain also needs regular rests to function at its best. We all have a limit of how much information we can process before the brain needs its own rest. When the brain has rest, it has time to organise all new information learnt into its own categories and build new pathways to remember the information. There is a lot going on, and it is perfectly natural to need regular breaks while you are learning. Overall, resting will help children’s attention span because they won’t become overloaded.
Rest Helps the Learning Process
Increased attention spans definitely help with the learning process and a rested brain learns a lot more easily! There are two main ways in which sleep helps the learning process. The first is the aforementioned pathway building for solidifying learning during sleep, and also that good quality sleep at the right time enables children to function properly throughout the day. Children who don’t have as much rest as their peers are often slower in finishing work and they make many more mistakes. According to research, even just an extra 27 minutes of sleep makes it easier for children to manage their impulses, which also explains why naps in the middle of the day are so useful!
Rest Ideas for Children
Having a sleep for twenty minutes or so is a great option to help children refresh. But, for the children who don’t like to keep their eyes closed, there are plenty of other restful options to allow children to take some moments of calm. Quiet activities such as puzzles, colouring or reading a book help eliminate a racing mind and offer a peaceful alternative to taking a nap.
These ideas are great for in the middle of the day when children may resist sleeping.
When it comes to sleeping in the evening, a bedtime routine is the best way to ensure children have a good quality of sleep. It’s also important to think about the environment that children sleep in. Is this conducive to a good sleep? Make sure their rooms are dark, quiet and comfortable, and that there is minimal stimulation to ensure the perfect place to rest.