As parents, you may have witnessed first-hand the effects of a missed nap or a bedtime delay – it’s not a pleasant experience. Lack of sleep not only impacts your baby’s mood, but also his attentiveness and concentration – which ultimately affects his learning and growth. When your baby is awake, every sound and movement is a new experience for him that will require energy to process.
We know that babies devote most of their time to sleeping, right? But have you ever wondered how much of what you and your baby do together during the day, especially the learning moments, he will be able to remember? Is there an optimal time during the day that you should be teaching him new skills that will stay for the long term?
Well, researchers from the University of Sheffield and Ruhr University Bochum in Germany had those same questions. They wanted to figure out the optimal time for a baby to learn a new behavior. They especially questioned whether a daytime nap, right after learning, helped babies to remember. Their study focused on 216, six to 12 month-old babies – who were tested on their ability to remember newly learned skills.
“These findings are particularly interesting to both parents and educationalists because they suggest that the optimal time for infants to learn new information is just before they have a sleep,” said Jane Herbert from the psychology department at University of Sheffield.
An important takeaway about this study is the great learning opportunities parents can make out of the activities around the time their baby goes to sleep or nap. It goes to show how activities like reading books to your little one before he goes to sleep are extremely valuable!
If you are wondering how many hours of sleep your baby should be having, here is a chart that can help you out!
Sources: WebMD, BabyCenter, Parents.com
It’s important to note that the researchers found that naps that are shorter than 30 minutes don’t give babies enough time to retain their knowledge in the long term. So you might want to keep that in mind when setting your baby’s nap-time schedule!