Are you dreading your preschooler’s bedtime more than they are? If 7:30 rolls around, and you just want to run and hide rather than go through the bedtime battle…You’re in the right place. Here’s 4 tricks to helping your preschooler sleep so you don’t have to keep choosing between fight or flight every night.
1. CREATE A ROUTINE
Creating a bedtime routine is important in helping your preschooler change their mindset from playtime to bedtime. Bedtime routines should start at the same time every night so your preschooler always knows when it’s time to start settling down for bed, and it’s never a surprise.
Be firm. If you tell your preschooler they can play until 7:30 and then it’s bath time, then at 7:30 the toys need to go away and bedtime routines need to begin. A bedtime routine should consist of these things:
- Turning off all screens
- Taking a bath
- Putting on pajamas
- Brushing teeth
- Reading a bedtime story
- Lights out at the same time every night
- Waking up at the same time every morning
Creating consistency before bedtime will help avoid arguments about getting more time to play, and keep your preschooler’s mind calm before bed.
2. STAY ACTIVE
Getting plenty of exercise throughout the day can help your preschooler sleep better at night. Exercise gives your preschooler a chance to release any anxiety or stress they’re feeling. Yes, even preschooler’s have these feelings sometimes, and the more they can release these feelings throughout the day the better they will sleep at night.
Get outside for exercise as much as you can. Exposing your preschooler to as as much sunlight as possible during the day helps them separate day from night, and makes the transition into night smoother.
Also keep activity before bed time light. It’s great to get exercise throughout the day, but your preschooler’s body needs time to wind down before it can go into rest mode.
3. LIMIT FOOD/DRINK
Limiting food and drink intake before bed can help your preschooler sleep better, and help prevent night time accidents. You should try not to give your preschooler anything to drink starting at least 30 minutes before bed, and only offer a small amount of water if your preschooler is thirsty in that time.
Your preschooler shouldn’t eat or drink anything sugary at night time, or eat any heavy meals too close to bedtime. Going to bed on a full stomach could keep your preschooler up with a tummy ache. If your preschooler is hungry before bed, it’s okay to provide a light nutritious snack.
4. OFFER COMFORT
Creating a comfortable space for your preschooler to fall asleep can help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Some things you can do to make sure your preschooler is comfortable at night are:
- Make sure the room is kept cool
- Read a bedtime story…or three
- Offer a comfort item, such as a favorite stuffed animal or blanket
- Use black out curtains to keep the natural light out
- Provide a small night light if your preschooler is scared of the dark
- Check the closet for monsters
- Tell your preschooler you love them