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The Best Sleep Routine For Preschoolers, According To Science

With summer almost over and school right around the corner, big changes abound for kids who are starting preschool. In addition to a new schedule, an unfamiliar environment, and a whole lot of learning, your child will have to switch up their sleep schedule. This often makes parents wonder what the best sleep routine for preschoolers is during their new chapter. Although there's some leeway on exact sleep amount, the most important thing is to help preschoolers develop strong, consistent sleeping habits.

Before the new preschool routine starts, Parenting suggested developing a nighttime plan. Because preschool is likely to change your kid's current schedule, you should consider what will be different and start implementing those changes into your child's bedtime schedule before school starts. It's also a good idea to check with your preschool to find out what their nap schedule will be like. This way you can keep nap time consistent at home on days they're not in school or find a good time before or after half-days for a nap time.

You'll also want to take your child's age into account. According to Baby Center, 50 percent of kids no longer take naps by age 4 and 70 percent by age 5. If your child falls into the non-napping category by the time you're planning a sleep schedule for preschool, it's still important to implement a time of rest during the day into your routine. Carve a consistent period out for reading or quiet time even if your child's not falling asleep. Having that time to disengage and calm down can still benefit a preschooler who's not napping.

The aforementioned Parenting article also noted that it's not as important to focus on exact times for a preschooler's sleeping schedule as it is to be consistent in your nap time, quite time, and bedtime routine. Make sure you include a time to wind down in the evening, keep meal times and sleep times the same, avoid caffeine, and even consider soothing music if your child has difficulty falling asleep.

Because there's no one-size-fits-all bedtime routine for this age, as long as you're sticking to your schedule and shooting for recommended 11 to 12 hours of sleep each day, your preschooler will be just fine.