Natasha Dunn

Why is my child so tired all the time – Part 2 of 2

This is a second part of our series on the topic of why your child is so tired. In Part 1 we discussed  iron deficiency, food sensitivities, and refined sugar intake. Make sure you read Part 1 and don’t miss out on the 3 main reasons for tiredness in children!

Children become tired for a number of reasons. These little humans that we want the best for, need more rest than we do. Their bodies are rapidly growing, needing extra nutrients to sustain them. This blog will highlight 4 common causes of fatigue.


Do you know something as simple as your child’s school bag being too heavy leads to muscle fatigue and general tiredness?

A study by Hong et al, 2008 found that a child aged 6 years walking at least 15-20 minutes with a 20% increase in load significantly increase muscle activity and fatigue in children.

Hong et al, 2008 suggested that the load of a child’s backpack for a walk up to 20 minutes should not exceed a maximum of 15% of the child’s body weight to avoid fatigue.

Over scheduling

Over scheduling your child’s activities can also lead to fatigue and burnout.

A few after school activates are great for the developing body and mind, but some times a kid needs to just be a kid.

Allow them to find interests that stimulate them, whether it be drawing or playing with friends after school kicking a ball. Burn out also can lead to the development of chronic fatigue, or glandular fever.

Sleep quality

Due to many of these afterschool activities children are getting home late and then still need to do homework, meaning their bedtime is pushed later and later.

Some common reasons for your child waking during the night can be enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or sleep apnea. Your child needs on average 8-10 hours sleep per night, if your child is not getting this sleep the cracks will show.  

Depression can also related to a child’s mood, sleep and fatigue. Due to being constantly on the go with music recitals, sports events, theatre productions and many other after school activities today, your child can become hit overwhelm and develop depression.

When a child is depressed they start to loose interest in activates that would usually excited them, and become withdrawn extremely tired and moody.

A study by Walford et al, 1993 found that children with fatigue had a higher level of depression than those from the control group.


Your child’s body contains around 65% water, basically making them a human cucumber!

A child spends a lot of their time running around playing, focusing on class, playing sport and being a kid in general. Their little bodies can use up to 1 litre of water per day, and this needs to be replaced.

It is important to hydrate as this can affect your child’s sleep pattern. Going to bed dehydrated or partly dehydrated can affect hormones that make melatonin and throws out your child’s natural circadian rhythm. If this is the case your child will find it hard to stay asleep, leaving them tired the next day.

Tiredness can also be a symptom of dehydration, and associated with poor nutrition. When tired the body uses more glycogen energy stores, this will make your child will crave sweets or crisps rather than a glass of water or an apple.

So make sure your child is getting enough fluid into their diets to rehydrate them (children 20kg and under 1000ml, for children over 30gs 1500ml up to a max of 2400ml daily), the correct sources of protein and nutrients to make sure they are not missing any essential vitamins and try not to over schedule your child. Most importantly just let your kid be a kid.


Hong, Y., XianLi J., Tik-PuiFong, D (2008).   Effect of prolonged walking with backpack loads on trunk muscle activity and fatigue in children. ‘ Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology8, 6, 990 996

Walford, G, A.,, Nelson, W McC ., McCluskey, D R (1993). Fatigue, depression, and social adjustment in chronic fatigue syndrome. ‘Archives of Disease in Childhood’ 68: 384-388

Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. A tired child? What should you know. Sited 5th of May 2019




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