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Sleep and attention spans for children

We know already: feed the animal well and it has a good chance of being healthy, and of course we are all   animals😊 Healthy food is good for the brain; and processed foods, and foods high in sugar and fat are not. We used to think these foods are just less good, but now we know they damage your body and your brain. Scary!


What we sometimes need to remember is that the right sleep schedule allows the brain to learn and recover and grow.

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We may at times think that children should stay up late to study or relax in front of a screen, but the right amount of sleep will mean kids will be happier, healthier, and learn more, and so will their parents. Parents too need to be aware that learning NEW things is good for their mental health in the short and long term.


You may want to look at this, below, and decide if your kids (and you) are getting enough sleep.


Preschool 3–5 years

10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)

School Age 6–12 years

9–12 hours per 24 hours

Teen 13–18 years

8–10 hours per 24 hours

Adult 18–60 years

7 or more hours per night

61–64 years

7–9 hours

65 years and older

7–8 hours


Source: Center for Disease Control

You may also want to be aware of how attention spans relate to learning, and how many breaks are necessary for a healthy learning mind. We may want to believe that people can concentrate for hours, but it is widely accepted now that taking breaks every 25 minutes or so will lead to better results, better health and a better frame of mind.


Childhood development experts generally say that a reasonable attention span to expect of a child is two to three minutes per year of their age. That's the period of time for which a typical child can maintain focus on a given task.

Average attention spans work out like this:

  • 2 years old: four to six minutes

  • 4 years old: eight to 12 minutes

  • 6 years old: 12 to 18 minutes

  • 8 years old: 16 to 24 minutes

  • 10 years old: 20 to 30 minutes

  • 12 years old: 24 to 36 minutes

  • 14 years old: 28 to 42 minutes

  • 16 years old: 32 to 48 minutes

So with our kids, and ourselves, we may want to take those breaks, enjoy them and find the good in a balanced life.

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