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How much sleep does your pre-schooler need? Sadly, not that much.

Updated: Feb 21

I come across many parents who are frustrated with their 2-4 year olds because they 'just don't want to sleep'.⁣ ⁣


After a little investigative work on my end, I usually find that parents are expecting their kids to sleep way too much!⁣ Did you know average needs for this age range is 11-12.5 hours...including nap! ⁣ ⁣

As your child gets into their 4th and 5th year, needs drop to 10-12 hours.


So, yep. That's not a whole lot.


Especially when we reminisce about how much they used to sleep as babies, right?!⁣ ⁣


So, when you are feeling frazzled about your tiny energizer human, it helps to look at the big picture. This way you can get a good grasp on what a 24-hour period will look like.⁣ ⁣


If your child is still napping, it's realistic to expect bedtime to get later. It's biology.. They get older therefore they don't need to sleep as much. So, don't force them into bed at 7PM, because they will be undertired, and they will fight you. Instead, help them build the right amount of sleep pressure so that sleep onset is easier. ⁣


An appropriate bedtime for older children who are napping can be anywhere from

8-8:30PM. (Assuming a 6:30/7 wakeup)⁣ ⁣


If they've ditched naps, then bedtime should be about 11.5-12-hours from when they woke in the morning. ⁣

For kiddos who are not respecting the boundary at night or in the morning (5:30 AM wakings are common) Remove any rewards they may be getting at that hour. Milk, interaction, screen time, food etc. It may take a few days or weeks to restructure the routine and behavior to see positive progress. Be conservative with the trainer clock to let your child feel excited and proud that they did well. So, if your desired wake time is 6:30/7, you may want to start with a green light at 6, then slowly move later as they keep respecting the boundary.


Always, always incorporate a designated 'rest time' so everyone can have a reset mid-day. Trainer clocks such as the Mella clock and The Hatch are perfect for this!⁣ Start small with the same mindset as above. 15/30 minutes then moving to an hour when they are ready.


I'm feeling very passionate about the stages we are going through in my house, and I've found that lowering my expectations has really helped me. 💛 This reduced the amount of frustrations on both ends!⁣ ⁣


Hey! I'm Lindsay. I am a Mama to twin girls and I am sleep obsessed. Helping parents overcome sleep deprivation with their children is my jam.

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