What are the main signs of fatigue in children?

Written by: Dr Martin Gray
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Fatigue, or extreme tiredness, is a common problem in children that can affect how they do things, learn at school, and their overall well-being. Knowing the reasons, signs, and how to deal with fatigue can help parents and caregivers handle this problem effectively. This article below will look at the different parts of fatigue in children, as esteemed consultant paediatrician, Dr Martin Gray, explains all.

Why might children get fatigued?

There are many possible causes of fatigue in children. These could be:


  1. Not enough sleep: Not getting enough sleep or sleeping poorly can make children fatigued. How they get ready for bed, use electronic devices, and sleep disorders can affect how much they sleep.
  2. Too much physical activity: Doing a lot of physical activities or sports without enough rest and recovery can cause fatigue.
  3. Emotional and mental pressure: Things like school work, family problems, or emotional issues can make children mentally tired and fatigued.
  4. Poor nutrition: Not getting enough of the important nutrients, such as iron, vitamin D, or B vitamins, can lead to fatigue.
  5. Medical problems: Some medical problems, such as thyroid disorders, anaemia, or long-term illnesses, can make children feel fatigued all the time.


What are the main signs of fatigue in children?

Children may show constant sleepiness, have trouble getting up in the morning, or fall asleep during the day. Fatigued children often also feel lazy, have low endurance, and may not want to do physical activities.


Fatigue can affect thinking skills, leading to problems with attention, memory, and doing worse at school. Children may get easily annoyed, grumpy, or have mood changes when they are fatigued. Other signs and symptoms of fatigue in children include headaches, muscle pains, and getting sick regularly.


How can fatigue in children be managed?

Parents should try to help them have a regular sleep time, develop a relaxing bedtime routine, and a comfortable sleep environment. Give a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and enough water. See a healthcare professional if you think they are missing some nutrients. Teach children how to deal with stress, such as relaxing methods, mindfulness exercises, and talking openly, can really reduce the chances of their child suffering from fatigue.


If fatigue does not go away with lifestyle changes, see a healthcare professional for a complete check-up. They can find and treat any medical problems that cause fatigue. It is important to remember that each child is different, and the reasons and ways to deal with fatigue may change.


If you are worried about your child’s fatigue levels, it is always good to get help from a healthcare professional who can give you personal advice and support. By knowing the reasons, spotting the signs, and using the right ways to deal with fatigue, parents and caregivers can help their children beat fatigue and improve their well-being.


Our Bright Futures clinic doctors have more than 25 years of experience in children’s health and can check your child’s well-being and nutrition. If you want to book a visit with Bright Futures Clinic, please visit www.brightfuturesclinic.com.


If you wish to book an appointment with Dr Martin Gray, visit his Top Doctors profile today to do just that.

By Dr Martin Gray

Dr Martin Gray is a leading consultant paediatric specialist based in London with over 30 years’ experience who is trained in all aspects of paediatric critical care medicine. As a specialist, he has particular expertise in the care of critically-ill children with trauma, childhood cancer, infectious diseases and respiratory failure, as well as endocrinology, gastroenterology, and neurological conditions.

An advocate for preventative paediatric healthcare, Dr Gray is the co-founder and co-director of the renowned The Bright Futures Health™ programme, an extensive all-encompassing health surveillance programme for families based on the American Academy of Pediatrics model. This programme is currently available at 77 Wimpole Street and at the Chiswick Medical Centre, where Dr Burmester consults privately, offering paediatric primary care, as well as child health surveillance and preventative care.

Dr Gray originally qualified from the University of Glasgow in 1993. He has trained in both paediatric medicine and paediatric critical care in the UK and in Australia, and additionally accomplished a prestigious three-year fellowship in paediatric critical care at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Additional to his dedicated private practice, Dr Gray continues to work in paediatric critical care medicine at The Portland Hospital, The Royal Brompton Hospital, and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, The Portland Hospital, where he also serves as associate medical director. As a paediatric intensive care consultant, clinical lead and care group lead at St George’s Hospital, from 2006 to 2017, Dr Gray led the development and expansion of the paediatric intensive care unit to deliver excellent clinical outcomes for children with cancer who require intensive care.

With an interest in clinical informatics, Dr Gray is the chief clinical information officer at St George’s University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust since 2013, and witnessed how the hospital became the second centre in the UK to reach HIMMS stage 6 for digital maturity. He is also a founding fellow of the Faculty of Clinical Informatics, and a board member of the North Thames Paediatric Operational Delivery Network.

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