Is your preschooler getting enough sleep? Check here to see:
Birth –2 months old……………10.5 –18 hours
3 –11 months old………………9 –12 hours (plus naps)
1 –3 years old………………….12 –14 hours
3 –5 years old………………….11 –13 hours
If your preschool child is falling short on slumber,take note. New studies are revealing an association between long term health and sleep patterns. One such study,published in the Journal of Developmental &Behavioral Pediatrics this month,found that Hispanic families,black families,single family homes and those with lower income and education levels were not as strict about enforcing bedtimes for their children. And that this behavior over time,may set children up for more health problems later on.
According to researchers,sleep may be more important than many people realize. Experts believe that sleep behavior that is set up during the early years can lead to permanent habits that impact lifelong wellness. It’s already known that memory,attention span,behavior,emotional health and a long list of other things are known to be adversely affected by lack of sleep. And,that children who have set,regular bedtimes not only do better health-wise later,but enjoy cognitive benefits.
Set a regular bedtime for your preschool children and make it an event to look forward to. Bedtime can be fun time if there is a routine set up around it. Give a bubble bath with toys,pick out favorite pajamas,read a bedtime story,tuck them in with a big hug and kiss –whatever each child enjoys as their own special ritual.
Sleep is just as important as exercise and a healthy diet. It’s up to us to instill that habit during the formative years as well. It means spending time with a child. Showing them that sleep is an important part of their day. And,that it CAN be fun just like all the other healthy lifestyle habits we try to teach them during the preschool years.