Sleep and your pre-schooler

Children need good quality, sound sleep in order for their bodies to grow and develop.  The amount of sleep your child needs will change as they grow older. This image provides an idea of the amount of sleep your child needs:

Regular and predictable bedtime routines are the first step to helping toddlers and preschoolers to settle happily to sleep. Here are some top tips for a happier bedtime.

  • Familiar bedtime routines are important to regulate your child’s body clock. Research has shown that regular routines will help your child to fall asleep more quickly and decreases the amount of night wakening’s.
  • Calming bedtime routines should start 30 minutes prior to your child normally falling asleep.
  • Make sure the last part of your child’s bedtime routine takes place in their cot or bed. Your little one should associated getting ready for bed to getting into bed and falling asleep.
  • Avoid any activities that will make your child excited or very physically active before bed.
  • Avoid the use of TV’s, tablets or mobile phones in the hour before bed; try replacing this with bedtime stories or gentle nursery rhymes.
  • Remain calm and relaxed during your child’s bedtime routine, children quickly pick up on their parent’s feelings which can affect their ability to settle to sleep. If you are concerned that how you are feeling is affecting how your child is sleeping, contact your Growing Healthy Health Visiting team for more support or advice.

For more information about sleep and your preschooler, visit NHS Choices .