A kid may be getting ready to go to sleep but a parent may be trying to coax her into going to bed to help with her nap.
A study published this week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics suggests parents should try to help their kids eat snacks instead of letting them sleep on their own.
“The question is, ‘Do I want to make my kid sleep at night or should I make it easier for her to sleep?'” said study co-author Dr. Michelle Riedel, a pediatrician and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
In her study, the researchers asked mothers and fathers to help a group of eight-year-old girls to make a snack, or to go out for a walk, and asked them to help out their children.
The researchers found that the girls ate snack snacks more than the parents did, but they also were more likely to be hungry after the walk and after having snacks.
For the parents, the study suggests they might want to try to get their children to eat snacks as soon as possible.
The research team says it was surprising to see that the snack consumption actually helped the children sleep better and reduce anxiety in the sleep study.
“There’s a sense of ‘I am going to do something for my child and then he is going to wake up,'” Riedesl said.
The study also suggested that parents should make the best use of the time their children spend in front of a screen, and to give them some time to relax.
The findings are part of a growing body of research showing that the best way to help kids to sleep is to make them sleep in a way that they enjoy.
“Parents need to understand that this behavior is actually good for their child, and that the reward is important,” said Riedelsl.
“It’s also good for our society.”
The study focused on the effect of snacks on the sleep of children ages eight to 13, and it was published in the July issue of Pediatrics.
The authors suggest that the snacks might also help young people with ADHD, those who have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression and those with autism spectrum disorders.