Advice Column, Toddler

Pre-schooler: Dropping the nap or making bedtime later?

  • Good Night Baby
  • Category Advice Column, Toddler

How do you feel when you have had a restless night or even worse, less hours sleep than your body needs to function the next day? During sleep, the brain sorts through and stores new information and even solves problems during sleep. Most children don’t get enough sleep and due to no naps from pre-school onwards the amount of sleep at night plays an integral part in your child’s development and overall function. Children aged 5 to 12 years old need 11-12 hours of sleep each night.

Why is uninterrupted sleep so important?

IT INFLUENCES MOOD AND BEHAVIOUR

  • Irritability
  • Exaggerated emotions
  • Increased aggression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Behavioural problems

IT INFLUENCES LEARNING

  • Memory lapses
  • Lack of concentration
  • Impaired memory recall
  • Compromised decision-making

IT INFLUENCES YOUR HEALTH

  • Reduced physical performance
  • Slower recovery rate from illness
  • Disrupts natural growth

IT INFLUENCES OVERALL SLEEP

  • Causes restless sleep
  • Causes frequent wake ups at night

Pre-school teachers are seeing a lot more of the above in their classrooms due to lack of sleep.

“The children are lacking motivation to finish tasks.”

“They are not concentrating, complain constantly and want to lie down.”

“I struggle getting my children to behave when asked, they are irritable and somewhat aggressive. I can see when a child walks into my class in the morning the night was not long enough.”

So, what is the solution?

  1. No screen time 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light that a screen emits, supresses melatonin (our sleepy hormone) so will not reach it’s optimal level and stay there throughout the night.
  2. A good bedtime routine. As a pre-schooler has no concept of time, the sequence of events leading up to bedtime is very important. Playtime before dinner to release the last bit of energy for the day, quiet play after dinner to unwind after a busy day, a warm bath (every night) releasing the melatonin naturally and a relaxed environment in the bedroom (low lighting, sing favourite song or read a story)
  3. Lights out no later than 19h00

Dropping to no nap during the day is a big milestone. In the world of today, children require rest to be able to manage the speed at which they need to develop, grow and learn, which can be overwhelming. Good sleep is therefore imperative and it is important that parents teach their children healthy sleep habits and a good sleep routine from an early age. Help your child to sleep better so that we can help them grow better.

By Melissa Bierman – Good Night consultant

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