Sleep is a massively important component to the development and general wellness of young children. Think of it like this: if a child is a machine and his or her brain is the battery powering the machine, then sleep is the power that recharges the battery and allows the machine to properly function. For preschoolers, between 10-13 hours of daily sleep is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This can include daytime naps. The quality of your child’s rest is as important as the amount of it they are getting. It’s essential for your child to get deep, uninterrupted sleep. Instilling a routine with your child to help them develop a steady, consistent sleep pattern is essential.
Healthy sleep enables children to function at their highest levels, a state known as optimal alertness. Optimal alertness is the key to preschoolers maximizing their attention span and learning. Conversely, a lack of quality sleep often leads to sluggishness and poor performance in the classroom. A lack of adequate sleep at an early age can lead to symptoms of ADHD and other behavioral disorders. Additionally, sleep contributes to the overall physical health of a child by promoting growth and helping build the strength to fight off harmful bacteria like cold and flu germs.
Parents are largely responsible for their young child’s sleep habits so it is important to be diligent and instill good sleep habits in kids while they’re young. After all, it’s much easier to create good habits in kids than it is to fix bad ones. The following recommendations for healthy sleep can help your child live a happier, healthier life and carry on healthy sleep behaviors as they grow and develop:
Create a Bedtime Routine and Stick With it
Consistency is huge when it comes to developing a healthy sleep pattern in young children. Once you have determined an appropriate bedtime for your kids (we recommend something before 9pm), make sure to stick to it to instill regularity. Get in the habit of alerting your kids when bedtime is approaching so they may have time to unwind and get ready for bed.
Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
A child’s sleep environment should be quiet, dark, cool and comfortable to ensure optimal sleep conditions. Limit a child’s television viewing and computer time before bedtime to limit stimulation before sleep. Exposure to TV or computer screens can affect the quality and quantity of your child’s sleep, so we recommend cutting off all screens an hour before bedtime.
Napping during the day can play a large role in a child receiving the necessary amount of daily rest. Be sure to time your child’s naps accordingly so they do not interfere with their night of sleep.
If you’re worried about your preschooler’s sleeping patterns, you can speak with one of the healthcare providers at Children’s Wellness Center. Sleep problems in young children can be overcome with time and attention, but spotting bad sleep habits early is essential to eliminating them. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s sleep behavior, feel free to contact us today at (404) 303-1314.