Drs. Oz & Roizen's Tip of the Day: Napping and learning

King Features SyndicateOctober 31, 2013 

Many adults confine their naps to boring or overly long movies in darkened theaters, or when they dim the lights for that business presentation from the West Coast.

But preschoolers usually grab a cool 60 minutes or (much, much) more daily, and parents and teachers should be glad they do. It gives Mom or Dad time to take care of other tasks or have downtime themselves, and naptime is part of a young child's learning process. It's when their super-active brains consolidate newly acquired info and store it in memory.

What's the typical "need to nap" for young children? Most kids take a morning and afternoon nap till around age 2; then they just want an afternoon snooze. By age 3, a quarter of kids have stopped napping altogether; from ages 3 to 4, about half will stop. And a final quarter of kids will nap until they are 5 to 6.

Unfortunately, some preschool program administrators want to eliminate naps for 3- to 5-year-olds. But skipping naps won't make kids healthy, happy -or smart. (Perhaps those administrators didn't get their naps, since they don't seem to have learned much since then.) So ask your child's preschool about its napping policy. No nap? Find another facility, or convince yours of the importance of naptime. And make sure that if your child is 4 or older and still naps, your chosen facility will accommodate his or her schedule.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

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