Children are known for their abundant energy levels. So, when a child complains of excessive tiredness all the time, it should be a cause of immediate concern for the parents.
It is quite common for children to feel tired out after participating in some intense play. However, if a parent notices over a period of time that their child is not his or her usual peppy self, they should try and find out the reasons for their kid’s sagging energy levels.
Fatigue can best be described as a feeling of tiredness, lethargy, exhaustion or languidness. Fatigue can also be defined as a lack of mental motivation and physical energy. Although people often mistakenly interchange the word fatigue to describe drowsiness, fatigue and drowsiness are not one and the same thing.
The condition of fatigue or tiredness has its own unique symptoms including muscle weakness, shortness of breath and severe muscular and joint pain to name a few.
Chronic fatigue should not be trivialized as it is indicative of, or is an underlying cause of some serious health complication.
Fatigue in Children
Like adults, children also feel tired out after an activity filled day. But when children appear listless or show no interest in activities that they once enjoyed doing, it means that the child is excessively fatigued or tired out. This extreme tiredness may be displayed when children fall asleep at school or when they sit listlessly in a corner of the play ground and do not participate in a single activity.
In many cases lack of adequate sleep is the main reason for extreme fatigue in children. But if a child is sleeping properly at night yet complains of tiredness in the morning, then it is the parent’s duty to find out the actual underlying cause for this constant tiredness.
Some of the common signs of fatigue in children include being extremely fidgety, feeling sleepy or being irritable most of the time and showing a lack of interest in play activities. Some children who suffer from chronic fatigue also complain of constant headaches.
Causes Of Fatigue In Children
Children feeling tired or lethargic constantly is not normal. There are many factors which can be responsible for a child feeling extremely fatigued. Some of the common reasons for excessive fatigue in children have been discussed in this article.
One of the top causes of fatigue in children is anemia. Most children are fussy eaters and this is the main reason for increased incidence of anemia among children. When there are insufficient amounts of iron in the blood, it leads to anemia.
When blood iron levels are low, it can lead to insufficient amounts of oxygen reaching the vital organs of the body. When this happens, it causes a feeling of excessive tiredness or fatigue. Ensuring that your child eats iron fortified cereals and other foods which are rich in iron can help to overcome the problem of childhood fatigue.
Lack of Exercise
As strange as it sounds, lack of exercise actually increases the feeling of fatigue. Nowadays, children spend huge amounts of time indoors, playing computer games. Lack of physical activity can result in obesity. Obese children are twice as likely to complain of fatigue, as compared to physically fit and active children.
For the proper development of bones and muscles, physical activity is extremely important. To increase the body stamina levels, a child should spend a certain number of hours everyday playing outdoors. So, ensure that your child spends a good amount of time playing outdoors, instead of sitting cooped up inside the house watching television.
A poor diet or lack of proper nutrition can lead to the feeling of extreme tiredness among children. For proper physical growth and development, a child should eat a diet that is rich in proteins, calcium, iron, and B vitamins.
If your child eats a diet that is deficient in these essential nutrients and instead consumes a lot of unhealthy, zero nutrient junk food, then your child is extremely likely to suffer from chronic fatigue.
Lack of Sleep
If your child is not getting enough hours of sleep at night, they may complain of tiredness in the morning. Bedwetting, sleep problems like apnea or fear of the dark are just some of the reasons why a child does not get enough sleep at night.
If your child suffers from insomnia, it can affect their health and overall development. Such children constantly complain of lethargy or extreme tiredness.
Too Many Activities
When a child participates in too few or too many activities they are likely to suffer from fatigue. We have examined earlier how lack of activity can lead to obesity which concurrently can result in chronic fatigue. Similarly, when a child is forced to participate in too many activities by overambitious parents, it can cause the child to become a burnout case in a short span of time.
A child’s activity levels should match their age and stamina levels. Piling too many activities on a child can lead to childhood fatigue.
Depression or Stress
Adults are not the only ones who suffer from stress and depression. Children are also likely to suffer from the negative aspects of extreme stress and depression.
Present day children are more likely to suffer from depression because of witnessing their parent’s acrimonious divorce or because of constant fighting in the house. Extreme stress and severe depression can often cause chronic fatigue.
Children who suffer from illnesses like ulcerative colitis, respiratory infections, respiratory diseases like asthma, diabetes or hepatitis are likely to suffer from chronic tiredness. This tiredness arises because of taking strong medications to combat the disease condition.
Sometimes strong medications can also cause extreme fatigue. In many cases when the medication is stopped, the child is able to overcome the feeling of tiredness.
Increasing pollution levels and subsequent decrease in air quality has also been attributed to the feeling of tiredness in children. It has been noted that children in the city, who breathe highly polluted air, are more likely to suffer from fatigue than children who are brought up in the clean environs of the countryside.
To combat decreasing air quality levels use an air purifier at home, so that your child breathes pure air at least during some parts of the day.