Learning new words can be a challenge for any preschooler, but kids who take naps may have an advantage when it comes to developing language skills!
Research has shown that naps play an important role in sustaining new learning in infants. A new study from the University of Arizona suggests naptime could have a similar effect on language learning in preschool-age children.
Researchers assessed 39 youngsters who were all 3 years old and found those who napped after learning new verbs had a better understanding of the words 24 hours later.
By dividing the youngster into two groups: habitual nappers (those who nap four or more days a week) and non-habitual nappers (those who nap three or fewer days per week). And showed them a video in which two different actors performed separate whole-body actions to correspond with each verb.
They found that children who had napped within about an hour of learning the verbs performed better than those who stayed awake for at least five hours after learning, regardless of whether they were habitual nappers.
The findings, which will be published in the journal Child Development, suggest that parents may want to consider maintaining regular naptimes for preschoolers, who are at an age at which naps have a tendency to dwindle.
Despite the findings, parents shouldn't fret if they can't get their preschooler to nap during the day, the researchers noted. The most important thing is total amount of sleep. Preschoolers should get 10 to 12 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.
If children don't get enough sleep at night, it's a good idea to encourage them to nap during the day, the study authors suggested.