Sleep vital for preschoolers
Some children will try anything to get out of going to sleep at night.
As a parent and a grandparent, I know the struggles of trying to keep a bedtime consistent with life’s activities and demands. I used to believe that if you let your child run around and burn off their energy until they are tired, you would have an easier time putting your child to sleep. However, an overtired child often makes for a very cranky child and your bedtime may prove to still be very difficult.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, preschool children ages 3-5 need about 11-13 hours of sleep each night, including a one- to two-hour daily nap. That’s a lot of sleep!
So I have a few suggestions to help make your child’s bedtime a smooth transition. The first suggestion is to have a bedtime routine. You may want to start with a bath, brushing teeth, story time, quiet activity and then bedtime. In a recent study, it was shown that children who watch television or videos before bedtime tend to have more difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep during the night. So only quiet activities should be allowed for at least the last hour before bedtime.
Although life’s activities and demands can set our daily schedules, bedtime should be as consistently as possible at the same time each night. If your child “throws a fit” during bedtime, it is best to stay calm, be consistent with having your child stay in the bed, and reassure your child that they are safe. Sometimes a nightlight or a comforting toy in bed will help a child feel secure that may be afraid of the dark.
A good night’s sleep is very important for a child. A child that gets a good night’s sleep will tend to do much better in school than their peers that don’t get enough hours of sleep. Lack of sleep can affect a child’s mood, behavior, and the ability to concentrate during the day. Make your child’s bedtime a priority!
Cornerstone Preschool, 1098 S. 5th Ave., offers structured academic programs and care for children through pre-Kindergarten. For more information, call 782-1995.