Advice Family Life

Sleep Tips for Your Preschooler

sleep is crucial for the physical and mental health of your little ones, here are some tips to help them sleep better.

Yia Lor / Eau Claire County Extension |

WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT?

Sleep plays a key role in how children learn, how their bodies recover, and in promoting healthy brain growth. Daylight Saving Time changes can impact their attention, appetite, and how they feel overall. 

(Photos via Unsplash)
(Photos via Unsplash)

TIPS TO HELP CHILDREN SLEEP BETTER
•Have a consistent bedtime and stick to it whenever possible. When you follow the same routine every night, children will more readily accept the final steps.  

• Limit food and drink before bedtime. Avoid stimulants like caffeine.

• Give children choices. Ask questions like, “Do you want your green or red pajamas?” or “Do you want to read your favorite book or a new book?”

• Include a wind-down time about a half hour before bed. Include activities like reading books, taking a warm bath, or time to snuggle and talk.

• If the child gets up and leaves the room or calls for you, offer comfort but do not become a source of entertainment. Say “I love you,” and then put your child back to bed. You cannot force a child to sleep, but you can have a rule that they must stay in bed quietly. 

SET THE STAGE
Just like adults, children have different preferences on what makes their bodies comfortable. Find what works for your family.

• Make the child’s bedroom cozy.  

• Use the bed only for sleeping, not watching TV or playing video games.  

• Play soft, soothing music. You could also create white noise with a fan.  

• Keep the bedroom cool and dark at bedtime.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Should I wait to put children to bed after they’ve fallen asleep? No. Instead, put them to bed while they are drowsy. This will support the child in learning to fall asleep on their own.

Should I let children nap? In some cases, napping can help children regulate better. Every child is different, and you should pay attention to what your own child needs. As children transition to decreased naps, this is an excellent time to introduce quiet time. 


Adapted from “Parenting the Preschooler: Sleep” from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. Visit wisc.edu/parentingthepreschooler for references and more information.