You may yearn for a solid stretch of shut-eye at night, but your preschooler might have different ideas. Although a 4-year-old is physiologically able to sleep through the night, she may have some sleep issues that are causing disturbances for everyone. Sleep training a child may not be the most pleasant prospect, but it can’t be any worse than getting up with her every night when she wakes.
Check your child’s daily schedule to make sure that his routine is appropriate. If he’s overextended with too many activities, he may feel too much pressure, which can create sleep disturbances, warns the WebMD website. Kids need a couple of hours of unstructured time each day. Conversely, if he’s not getting enough physical activity, he may have excess energy that makes it hard to rest. The website ChooseMyPlate.gov encourages active, outside playing at least two or three times per day for your 4-year-old.
Choose a suitable bedtime for your 4-year-old. A child between the ages of 3 and 5 needs between 11 and 13 hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Set your child’s bedtime to correlate with the time she needs to rise in the morning to ensure she gets adequate sleep. For example, if your child needs to get up at 7 a.m., an appropriate bedtime might be 7 to 8 p.m.
Eliminate afternoon naps if your child is still napping. The daytime sleeping might cause a sleep disturbance for your 4-year-old because he’s physically ready to stop napping.
Devise a bedtime routine for your child that you use every night. The routine will provide your youngster with stability and continuity, which should enable her to sleep better at night, according to the Sleep For Kids website. Your bedtime routine might include activities such as a bath, a snack, reading a few books and snuggling in bed for a short time before lights out. Strive to make the routine happy so you send your child off to sleep positively.
Return your child to her bed if she gets up at night. If your child cries in her bed, wait a few minutes and then visit her bed to talk softly to her. Tell her that it’s nighttime, time for sleeping and that she needs to remain in her bed to go back to sleep, advises the Mayo Clinic. She may cry and become upset, but your gentle firmness will help her learn that she cannot get up at night. Handle all night waking consistently by insisting that she stay in her bed to go back to sleep and she will eventually develop better sleeping habits.