Sleep in Preschoolers (3 -5 years)
Sleep in Preschoolers
What Can I Expect from my Preschooler?
• On average, preschoolers sleep between 9 to 10 hours out of the 24 hour day.
• Many children stop napping during the preschool years.
• Most preschoolers settle into a routine that is normal for them. Your child may sleep more or less each day than her friend of the same age.
What are Some Common Sleep Problems for Preschoolers?
• Nighttime fears and bad dreams are common in preschoolers. Most often, they are part of normal development and will get better with time.
• Sleepwalking and night terrors may first appear during the preschool years.
How Can I Help my Preschooler Sleep Well?
• Set up a regular schedule that leaves room for your child to get enough sleep. • Plan your child’s bedtime for a time when he is usually sleepy. (Some children may do better with a later or earlier bedtime than others.) It is generally best for bedtime to happen before 9 pm.
• Follow a routine that is the same every night. Include calm activities like a bath and a story. Avoid TV and computers as watching a video can make it harder to fall asleep. If the last activity takes place where your child sleeps, “lights out” time will happen naturally.
• It may help to make a chart showing all of the steps in your bedtime routine. Your child can keep track and know what is coming next
• Plan your child’s bedroom setting: Keep the temperature cool and the room dark and quiet. Nightlights are fine. Computers or video gaming systems are not.
• Set limits: It is normal for preschoolers to stall at bedtime. Setting clear limits will help keep things on track.
• Avoid caffeine (found in soda and energy drinks). It may cause your child to wake up during the night.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
• Your child seems to have trouble breathing, snores, or is a noisy breather.
• You are concerned about your child’s nighttime waking or nighttime fears.
• Your child has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
• You are worried that your child’s sleep problems are affecting his behavior during the day.
For more information on sleep in children, go to http://www.aap.org
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/04/2012
Copyright © 06/04/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7347
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