Kids play hard and drain themselves mentally with all their childhood activities. While some tiredness is normal, especially at the end of a long day, excessive tiredness can sometimes signal a deeper problem. If your child seems sluggish, crabby or tired on a regular basis, take a closer look at her habits and other symptoms to determine if a visit to the doctor is necessary.
From ages 3 to 5, kids need about 11 to 13 hours of sleep each 24-hour period. The average sleep requirement goes down to 10 to 11 hours of sleep each day for kids between the ages of 5 and 12. If your child always seems tired, monitor his average sleep amount each night. Peak in on him to see if he's actually falling asleep right away or if he's lying awake after you put him to bed. Note if he wakes up frequently during the night or if he wakes up early and plays instead of sleeping the full recommended time.
Tiredness sometimes occurs with sleep disruptions. Having difficulty falling asleep or waking during the night disrupts the sleep patterns of your child. Preschoolers sometimes experience nightmares, sleep terrors, sleepwalking and fear of nighttime, which interrupt sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. School-aged kids may also have difficulty falling asleep or experience sleep disruptions that might stem from everyday stress, caffeine and screen time, especially when a child watches TV close to bedtime. Improve sleep habits by creating a dark, calm sleep environment. Limit screen time and caffeine. Get into a regular sleep routine so your child falls asleep easier.
Diet plays a role in your child's overall health, including her energy levels. Assess your child's eating habits to see if she needs a nutritional boost. Serve regular, balanced meals and start each day with a healthy breakfast that includes carbohydrates, recommends Psychology Today, as kids have lower energy reserves than adults, but a higher metabolism. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Cut caffeine from her diet.
Exhaustion is a symptom of some medical conditions. Chronic fatigue syndrome is one possible medical explanation. The fatigue and weakness associated with the condition make it difficult to perform regular tasks. It is most common in adults, but a similar condition is sometimes found in kids, according to Kids Health. Infections, such as respiratory infections or mono, often cause temporary fatigue until the illness clears up. While rare, constant fatigue can indicate a serious problem, such as kidney disease, heart failure, cancer or diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your child's sleep habits and diet aren't an issue, schedule a medical exam to rule out a medical cause for the constant tiredness.