5 Healthy Habits to Put Preschool Bedtime Problems to Rest

5 Healthy Habits to Put Preschool Bedtime Problems to Rest

It is no secret that toddlers and preschoolers can have interesting sleep patterns. As preschoolers get closer to kindergarten age, they will naturally begin to develop new sleeping habits. Their bodies do not need as much rest as before, but many times they don’t seem to get enough. Their bodies will react to nap and bed times differently as they get older, and growing pains and changes in routine can cause sleeplessness. If you are hoping to help your preschooler transition into the new school year more easily, or trying to reestablish better sleeping habits, here are a few tips that might help.

Healthy Habit #1 Establish a Routine

Research shows that the more out of balance a preschoolers evening routine is, the harder it will be for them to get quality sleep. Make sure that your preschooler gets at least an hour of wind down time before lights out. Getting ready for bed, reading a book, or listening to music is a great way to have wind-down time.

Healthy Habit #2 Screens Off

Television, computers, phones and tablets emit a blue light synonymous with the morning sky. This tells our brains that it is time “to wake up” instead of “go to sleep”. Children especially will have a hard time falling asleep if bedtime directly follows interaction with electronic devices.

Healthy Habit #3 Timing is Everything

As children grow, they begin to outgrow their need for excessive naptime. This is normal, but if their bodies are not ready for the lack of sleep, they may not handle it well. Children aged 3-5 need 11-13 hours of sleep a night. If your preschooler is not napping on the weekends, but still needs more rest, trying a quiet rest time (i.e., books, quiet play) can be very helpful.

Healthy Habit #4 The Piggy Bank Philosophy

Sleep is essential for the human body. If you take sleep away, like you would coins out of piggy bank, you must put it back. When sleep is lost, adults and children are left vulnerable to illness and excessive tiredness that causes a lack of concentration and ability to perform at an optimal level. If your child is prone to nightmares, or ends up having a late night, an extra nap or sleeping in late on the weekend would be a great way to fill their (and your) “sleep piggy bank” back up.

Healthy Habit #5 Assurance of Safety

As a child ages, their imaginations become more active. This is often food for nightmares. Their brains use their dreams to work things out during the night, and separating reality from fiction can be difficult for them. If a child wakes up with bad dreams, having a consistent plan can help. A calming routine (i.e., getting a drink, holding a sleepy friend) and a talk with Mom or Dad can help many toddlers and preschoolers fall peacefully back to sleep.

Proverbs 3:24 - When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

By Amanda Jeremias K-4 Teacher