A well rested preschooler is a happy preschooler. The most important factor behind this is a good and consistent bedtime routine. A child who gets enough sleep is less likely to fall sick and has a better temperament through the day. A child who doesn’t get enough sleep may have trouble paying attention and can be cranky and irritable.
So, how can you make sure that your preschooler is getting enough sleep? Here are some good tips for parents.
Kids going to kindergarten are in the age range of 3 to 5 years. They need 10 to 13 hours of sleep (this includes naps). So if the child has to wake up at 7 to get ready for school, the latest the child can stay up till is 9 pm for 10 hours of sleep. Ideally, in this scenario they should sleep around 8 pm.
Bear in mind that 8 pm cannot be the time that you start the bedtime routine. The kids have to have finished dinner, settled down. Then they have to go to the toilet, brush, change into bedtime clothes, lie down and have some quiet time like having a story read to them. Most kids will not fall asleep immediately and will need about half an hour after lying down. So, the bedtime routine would have to start an hour before the actual bedtime.
You would want to work backwards to figure out dinner time and playtime for the child based on these times. It is important for the children to get enough exercise in the day to sleep well. You may also want to try to stick to a more or less similar schedule on weekends so that the child’s routine is not difficult to get back on track for school nights. Try to turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bedtime.
A big advantage of this routine is that it also allows the adults to have some peace and quiet before their bedtime as well! And better health and peace of mind for all.