As just about any parent can attest, toddlers who miss naptime can end up miserable – and bring their families (and anyone else they happen to encounter) down with them. Now there’s scientific evidence to support the importance of naps to young children – not just for their behavior, but also for their long-term emotional health.
According to scientists at the University of Colorado, the average 2 to 3 year old needs 12 to 14 hours of sleep each day – and failure to get enough sleep disrupts kids’ abilities to build skills for managing emotions. Over time, missed sleep can put them at risk for lifelong mood-related problems like anxiety and depression.
This is the latest in a number of large, long-term studies linking lack of sleep in early childhood to anxiety, depression and other mood-related disorders later in life.
Not that we expect the following to be terribly convincing for kids reluctant to doze in the daytime, but it’s good to keep in mind if the battle over naptime is seeming particularly rough. You aren’t just pushing for an easier day for yourself, but helping your child to build they coping skills they’ll need.
And if you happen to be able to grab 20 minutes’ shut-eye for yourself? All the better