Is Your Preschooler Getting Enough Sleep?

It may feel as though neither of you have slept since your child was born, but do you know how much sleep a preschooler actually needs? While all children require different amounts of rest, experts recommend 12-14 hours of sleep for preschoolers ages one through three, and 10-12 hours for children ages three through six.


Lack of sleep often leads to a grumpy, tired and irritable preschooler, which can lead to a grumpy, tired and irritable you. Getting enough sleep is vital to your child’s health and education, and to your sanity. A healthy sleep regimen consists of waking up between 7 and 9 a.m., taking a long nap midday, and going to bed between 7 and 9 p.m., depending on your schedule.


Getting a child to sleep can be difficult at times. Here is an experiment to help you teach your preschooler about rest and sleep:


  • After your child has been running around outside, ask him to put his hand on his heart and count how many times it beats in one minute.
  • Ask your child to rest for about five minutes, allowing his heartbeat to return to its normal pace.
  • After about five minutes of rest, ask him to place his hand on his heart and count the beats for one minute, again.
  • Discuss how many beats per minute his heart made after playtime compared to at rest. Talk about his breathing patterns, and about how he felt when his heart was beating more quickly, compared to when he was resting.


Help your preschooler to understand his feelings when he is tired, compared to how he feels after a good night’s sleep. Talk about behaviors such as yawning, sleepy eyes, and moving more slowly. You may even want to talk about grumpiness. Does your child feel happier before bed or after sleeping? Does he feel more energetic after getting some rest?


You may also want to take this opportunity to catch up on some sleep for your preschooler and for yourself!