Children spend about 40% of their childhood asleep. Those restorative hours of slumber are as important to a child’s health as nutrition and exercise, allowing the body and brain to flush out toxins, consolidate memories, release growth hormone, lower stress hormones like cortisol, as well as repair and replenish cells. Poor sleep can lead to excess weight gain, diabetes, learning and memory problems, daytime tiredness, moodiness, clumsiness and accidents, and trouble paying attention. Unfortunately, studies suggest that over the last century, the amount of sleep that children get has been declining.
Childhood is filled with scrapes, bruises, and falls. When a minor injury occurs, children usually shed a few tears, receive a hug and a bandage, and promptly move on. But for some children, pain is a way of life. When a child suffers from something more serious, like cancer, burns, or pediatric arthritis, the management of pain becomes a primary, ongoing concern for both the child and the adults in the child’s life.
Athletic activities are a wonderful way for kids to have fun, get in shape, and connect with friends. Sport performance is not only physical in nature, but it has been suggested that performance is also a highly mental process. Many coaches and parents spend a great deal of time and attention on the physical aspects of sports and on skill training. Little, if any time or energy is placed on the mental aspect of athletic performance.
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