While many parents watch their children emerge from the infancy stage and assume that sleep issues and night wakings are behind them, many sleep issues can resurface during their child’s preschool years. If your child is having trouble getting enough sleep or if your daycare provider is reporting that they seem tired during the day, you might need to tackle your child’s sleep concerns so that they can go back to their usual, well-rested self. Here are a few common preschooler sleep issues to look out for:
Your Child Refuses To Go To Bed
Children at this age develop an unwillingness to go to sleep, as this separates them from the fun, loving, active world they’ve been a part of during their waking hours. Closing their eyes means saying goodbye to all the fun, and it also means saying goodbye to mom and dad. Try keeping the sound on the television low after your child goes to bed, keep laughter quiet, and assure your child that after they go to bed, no one is playing with any toys or watching anything on television that they might find interesting. You may also want to reassure your child that even though sleep means separating from you for a little while, you are always near them, just in the other room, and that they will always see you in the morning. Getting your child talking about why they don’t want to go to sleep can help them to process these feelings and move past them.
Your Child Won’t Stay In Bed
Does your child regularly get out of bed to ask for a glass of water, a different set of stuffed animals in their bed, another nightlight, or a hug? Your child is having difficulty being away from you in the middle of the night and is trying to develop closeness with you by coming up with all sorts of “needs” that aren’t truly needs. Keep these middle-of-the-night wakings as short and sweet as possible. If your child wakes you up, return them to their bed without a lot of fuss and conversation, giving them a firm hug and letting them know that you love them.
Your Child’s Bedtime Is Too Late
This is a common problem among preschool-age children. During your child’s toddler years, you may have extended their bedtime a little later, as they were likely napping consistently and for long periods of time during the day. But as children head toward their third birthday, they often begin to sleep less during naptime, sometimes skipping their naps altogether. While this is a normal part of early childhood development, your child may need to go to bed a little earlier while their body is getting used to a reduced amount of sleep. Shift your child’s bedtime 15 minutes earlier for a few nights and see if they seem less overtired at bedtime and more rested during the day. If not, try an additional 15 minutes until you’ve reached a bedtime that feels appropriate for this developmental stage.
Did any sleep issues arise for your preschooler around the age of three or four? Let us know how you tackled these problems in the comments section below, and get in touch with Child’s World Academy to sign your child up for our daycare program or preschool classes!