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University of Arizona study finds naps can help kids learn language

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As if parents needed another reason to put their kids down for bed, a recent study from the University of Arizona suggests that taking naps can help preschoolers learn language.

Rebecca Gómez, co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, said the study consisted of testing 3-year-olds to see if they could recall made-up verbs.

The participants were given two made-up words, blicking and rooping, and were asked to recall them the next day.

“What we found is that children only remembered the new verbs the next day if they had actually napped,” Gómez said. “And this held for the nappers, as well as children who were no longer napping.”

Researchers concluded that naps are still crucial for toddlers because they are learning so much new information around that age.

Toddlers should be getting around between 10-13 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period, Gómez said.

“There are studies that show that kids who get less than that often will have cognitive delays at a later age,” Gómez said. “So getting that nap is really important.”

Gómez said it is important for children to get on a regular routine, which includes a nap, even if it is difficult to get your child to go to sleep.

“It’s really important to have a consistent schedule that involves napping at the same time every day and a consistent routine of things that lead up to nap time,” Gómez said.

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