Babies are born not knowing how to differentiate day and night. Parents have to progressively train them to observe appropriate sleeping and waking times. This discipline becomes more important as children grow up.
Sleep & Preschoolers
Nobody can live without sleep, not even animals. Sleep is essential to keeping the immune system in good working order to fend off infections. It is also the time when neurons in the brain are repaired. Similarly, growth hormones and other important substances are released.
Sleep also helps organise memories, solidify learning and improve concentration. The combination of deep dreaming (REM or rapid eye movement) and sleep is refreshing and helps regulate mood. This explains why children who don’t sleep well at night tend to be cranky, nervous and tired in the morning. Preschoolers should sleep 10 to 12 hours each night. However, their sleep quality may be adversely affected by nighttime fears and nightmares. Parents would do well to monitor their children’s sleep patterns.
When your child gets enough sleep:
- Pays better attention in class.
- More efficient in problem solving.
- Creativity and new ideas take place.
When he doesn’t:
- Tends to forget what he learns.
- Has trouble making good decision.
- Becomes impatient.
Suggested sleeping hours
- Toddlers (1 – 3 years) : 12 – 14 hours from nighttime sleep and daytime naps
- Preschoolers (3 – 6 years) : 10 – 12 hours/night
- School-aged children (6 – 12 years) : 9 – 10 hours/night
Sleep tips for preschoolers
- Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the children’s bedroom
- Bedrooms should be cool, quiet and dim/dark – without a TV
Typical bedtime routine
- Have a light snack
- Take a bath
- Put on pajamas
- Brush teeth
- Read a story
- Make sure the room is quiet and at a comfortable temperature
- Put your child to bed
- Say goodnight and turn off the lights