Sleep hygiene for preschoolers


The other day I was listening to a podcast where one of the hosts mentioned having excellent sleep hygiene as a goal for 2017.  (I would link it here, but I don’t remember at all which one it was.  Maybe Balanced Bites?)

Sleep hygiene, of course, being things like no screens before bed, going to bed at a certain time, having your room pitch black and interruption free, etc.

My kiddos need better sleep hygiene.

We really struggled with Henry this fall around when he turned four.  He dropped his nap (mostly), but then he started getting up crazy early and going to bed late.

This somehow led to a bad cycle.  Now he gets up super early, but he’s tired in the afternoon.  So he either crashes somewhere or he’s crazy cranky.  Then, because he napped, he isn’t tired at night and he stays up too late.  Not sure why, but then he gets up early again instead of sleeping in.  Repeat.

Mac isn’t quite as bad, but, because they share a room, he gets pulled along for the ride.

I have essentially rearranged the house so that Henry won’t bother us when he wakes up in the morning.  Not kidding on this.

But last night, as I was going to turn off Henry’s light, (which he turned on after being put to bed) I found him in the living room.  At 10 pm.

I can’t deal with this.

I’ve tried half-hearted attempts to put them to bed earlier in the hope that sleep begets sleep or whatever that theory is.  I’d say it didn’t really work, but I’d also say I didn’t give it a fair chance to take hold.

Today we are trying a more nuclear option.

(Because I do everything all or nothing.  Everything.)

Both boys had no nap today.  It is just after 6:00 pm, and they have already had a bath and dinner.  James just got home from work and is reading them a story.

I’ll let you know how this works out.

I’m less enthusiastic for a few reasons.

1)  We’ve always had family dinner.  I hate to lose that.

2)  This doesn’t give James as much time with the kids.

3)  I don’t hate nap time.  I need down time just as much as the kiddos.

4)  We’ve just gotten used to Italian dinner times.  Hard to think about losing that.

But the situation has gotten bad, and I’d like to try this for a few days to see what happens.  Maybe it won’t stick.  Maybe it won’t be every day.  We shall see.

Any advice?  What am I supposed to do with these yahoos?

3 thoughts on “Sleep hygiene for preschoolers

  1. Pat Hensley says:

    Maybe you can have some kind of alarm clock and set it for a specific time. Tell him if he wakes up before it goes off, he has to stay in bed and rest, not sleep until it goes off. My mother used to do that a lot to me and tell me I had to rest but didnt’ need to sleep. Maybe you could do that for nap time too and say everyone has to rest for 30 or 60 min. or whatever you want.

    • Melissa says:

      We have alarm clocks that light up at certain times. They worked really well when Henry was still in his crib, but now he just seems to get up no matter what. I’ve thought about trying to get more serious on them again, but I’m hesitant to do something that keeps him from the bathroom.

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