Benefits of Sleep and Exercise for Your Children

Avondale Grammar School’s Assistant Principal and Head of Preschool and Junior School, Maria Lindblom, shares some tips to keep your child fit and alert at school.

The importance of sleep and exercise for children
As most parents are aware sleep and exercise both play an important part in the well-being of growing children. Physically active children tend to be better organised and more motivated, and well-rested children are better equipped to learn and therefore achieve more academically. Maria Lindblom, Assistant Principal and Head of Preschool and Junior School at Avondale Grammar School, shares what impact sleep and exercise can have in the classroom.

Why is sleep important?
Children have busy days at school, attending afterschool activities, completing homework and playing with friends. By the end of the day, their growing bodies need a break. Sleep allows them to rest and get ready for the next day.

Not only is sleep necessary for your body, but it is important for the brain too. Sleep is vital for brain development and function as it affects behavior, memory, mood and learning. Not enough sleep can lead to behavior problems, decreased attentiveness and short-term memory and inconsistent performance. Children who are tired during the school day may have difficulties to stay focused, listen to and follow instructions, think and therefore learn.

How much sleep do children need?
All children are different and some children need more sleep than others. As a guide the University of Michigan Health System recommends infants require between 13 and 16 hours of sleep. While toddlers need about 12 to 13 hours and children between 5 and 11 years of age require 10 to 11 hours.
Researchers have found that children who have a regular bedtime performed better at languages, reading and maths than those who went to bed at different times. Scientists at SRI International, a research institute based in California, found the earlier a child went to bed, the better they performed at school.

Why is exercise important?
Children who get plenty of exercise have a better immune system which keeps them from getting sick. Physically active children tend to have stronger bones and muscles compared children who have an inactive lifestyle.

Encouraging your child to be physically active will provide them many benefits including:

Emotional well-being meaning that they feel happy, relaxed and sleep better
Improved concentration skills and ability to manage stress
Developing gross motor and fine motor skills and coordination
Building social skills and making new friends as they participate in team sports.
According to the National Association for Sports and Physical Activity School age children need at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise daily, as well as several periods of physical activity of 15 minutes or more throughout the day.

To help keep your child fit and alert for school here are some simple tips that parents can follow:
Eat a variety of healthy foods

  • Drink milk and plenty of water
  • Exercise and stay active
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Limit screen time (such as television and other digital devices)

For more information please visit www.avondale.edu.sg