Little kids are known for their remarkable stamina. Always bustling with enthusiasm, they hardly sit at one place for too long. One minute you find your bundle of energy playing with his Hot Wheels indoors, and the very next, you see him running behind your dog in the backyard.
In an attempt to keep up with your child’s liveliness and vigor, you also manage to get a fair share of physical activity. As you’re used to the constant excitement and running around with your little one around, it can get rather surprising to see him low on energy.
While more often than not, your child’s fatigue could be a result of too much physical activity during the day. If it becomes a common occurrence, it could be due to an underlying health problem that requires immediate attention.
Here are 7 hidden reasons behind your child’s lethargic behavior that you shouldn’t ignore:
1. Inadequate Sleep – If your kid doesn’t catch enough sleep at night, don’t be surprised to see his energy levels get affected during the day.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, the results of a survey on kindergarten through fourth grade kids and their teachers found that 10% of the kids were falling asleep in school. They recommend that school aged kids should get between 9 to 12 hours of sleep at night. This will help keep them alert and energetic during daytime. Ensure that your child has a stable sleeping pattern and sticks to it with minimal deviations.
2. Poor Diet – When it comes to food, kids can get rather fussy. Unfortunately, their picky eating habits don’t go too well with their ability to stay active through the day. A poor diet can make your child susceptible to persistent exhaustion and tiredness.
Kids these days prefer junk foods high in saturated fats and sugar over healthy, energy giving foods like fruits, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, oats and poultry. A balanced diet does not only help provide a good source of energy to kids but also helps improve their learning and memory power.
3. Anemia – Anemia, a condition often caused due to iron deficiency, is one of the most common causes of chronic fatigue in kids. The body falls short of healthy RBCs that transfer oxygen to the body organs and tissues. Due to the drop in the hemoglobin levels, the supply of oxygen via the blood to the brain, heart, muscles, and other tissues drops, resulting in lesser energy available to these organs.
Ensure your child enjoys a diet high on iron rich foods like leafy green vegetables, beans, poultry, seafood, peas and dry fruit. According to Mayo Clinic, the daily recommended intake of iron for kids in the age group of 4-8 years is 10 mg and for those in the age group of 9-13 years is 8 mg.
4. Asthma Or Bronchial Allergies – Another reason your tiny tot may seem tired and weary could be due to an underlying asthma or bronchial allergy like that of dust, mites, pollen and molds.
Swollen airways make it harder to breathe, thereby causing tiredness. These allergies also cause persistent cough and breathlessness at night, making it difficult to sleep and further aggravating fatigue in kids. If you find your child displaying these symptoms, visit a doctor on priority.
5. Stress – Stress is not a problem faced only by adults. Kids can be affected by anxiety and stress, equally. There are a number of possible causes and varying degrees of stress in kids ranging from mild to serious.
If your child displays a change in the behavior, by sleeping too often, becoming quieter and disinterested in usual activities, try speaking to him and identifying if anything is bothering him. If the situation doesn’t improve over a period of time, consult a child psychologist for assistance.
6. Weight Problems – A child who is overweight or underweight is also likely to experience fatigue. Obese children are far more likely to experience lethargy due to the extra weight they have to carry or due to the development of other obesity related ailments like sleep apnea and diabetes.
Underweight kids on the other hand have less muscle strength and can hence tire easily. Ensure your child follows healthy practices to help him maintain healthy weight for his age group.
7. Dehydration – Being dehydrated could also be a cause of fatigue in kids. A child who doesn’t consume adequate fluids is likely to experience irritability and drowsiness. Dehydration not only impacts a child’s mood and energy levels, but also his cognitive abilities, an article published in the US National Library of Medicine suggests.
On an average, kids require 5 – 8 cups of water daily. Active kids require more water. The amount of water kids’ drink should increase during the hotter months.
Before you take your child to a pediatrician to check for the aforementioned conditions, ensure that you have the basics covered. Set a daily routine for your child comprising of a good mix of sleep, study and play. Avoid over scheduling your child’s routine as doing that could be burdening your child, leading to fatigue.
Make sure he enjoys healthy meals that include foods from all groups. Always remember, your child’s healthy habits translate to his ability to stay active.