My Preschooler Won't Sleep

by Casey Martin on August 17, 2017

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Sleep is important for all of us, but it's doubly important for young children. But what happens when your child isn't falling asleep or when he or she isn't staying asleep? What steps can you make to help your child sleep? 

Getting to Sleep

It's good that you've committed to help your child go to sleep. Unforunately, it's all too easy to just head to bed and let your child do the same when they're ready. It's not uncommon to figure out that a preschooler who's struggling to have enough energy at school is allowed to set his or her bedtime. 

But how do you help your child get to sleep? Here are three suggestions. 

1. Have a consistent quietdown routine

Our minds and our bodies are connected. If you want the body to rest, you need to prepare the mind to rest. Set a consistent bedtime and then thirty minutes before that time, begin your routine. Turn off any electronic devices, turn off the main home lights, and have your preschooler read or draw. 

2. No getting out of bed

Once you put your preschooler down, refuse to let him or her get out of bed. Only in an absolutely emergency can they get out of bed. Be prepared for some initial pushback. But if you're consistent, this rule will dramatically help. 

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Another method suggests, "Put children to bed with a card they can exchange for one 'free pass' to leave the bedroom to get a drink or a parental hug. (Not on the list is permission to stay up later.) Once the child enjoys his free pass, he has to turn in it in for the night, and his parents must ignore all subsequent bids for attention."

3. Help with fear

Many children struggle falling asleep due to fear. Resist the urge to sit in their room or climb into bed, as this will only build a poor habit. Instead, take some time to pray together and then tell your preschooler you will be around the house and will make sure they're safe until they fall asleep.