Regular bedtimes help a child's development
The amount of time children spend asleep is crucial to their development before they start school at the age of five.
By the time a child reaches school age they should be able to share, self-motivate, co-operate and concentrate, but many children in England are not reaching what teachers consider to be a good level of development by the age of five.
The Marmot Review, led by British Medical Association president Sir Michael Marmot, found 44 per cent of all five-year-olds in England are not considered to have reached that level by their teachers.
Public health experts say that achieving a good level of development by five is a guide to future prospects, as those who have developed quickly have been proved to have more fulfilling successful lives.
Child development experts say simple measure such as reading to a child every day, regular bedtimes and cuddling your children will have a positive impact on their development.
"There are cohort studies that follow children from birth right through life to adulthood, and you can see that the circumstances in early childhood affect and health and health inequalities in adult life," Sir Michael told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Dr John Middleton, Faculty of Public Health, told the news provider: "There is no question that inequalities in society are, in large measure, responsible for inequalities in early child development."
He added that the challenge now lies with local authorities, working together with public health experts and the government to invest money and expertise in addressing the issues surrounding child development in poorer families.
Professor Geoff Beattie, head of school and dean of psychological sciences at the University of Manchester, recently said that sitting down for a family meal is crucial to children's development and those who do not enjoy regular family meals could be missing out on a developmental milestone.
Posted by Lynne Woods
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