Children aged 3-5 years need around 11-13 hours of sleep a night. Some might also have a day nap of about an hour.
Sleep can sometimes come more slowly for pre-schoolers because they’re busy thinking about the day even after they go to bed. A positive bedtime routine can help with this, especially if you follow the routine consistently, both during the week and on weekends.
Nightmares are common in this age group and tend to happen in the second half of the night, when children dream the most. They’re related to pre-schoolers’ developing imaginations. This can cause frequent wakening’s in the night. If your child has a nightmare offer comfort and reassurance, and put them back to bed.
Your child might go through a stage of calling out from bed or getting up after you’ve said goodnight. Try to be consistent and respond only if you think he really needs something, if your child gets out of bed, calmly take them back to bed. Repeat this firmly and quietly over and over until your child doesn’t get up again.
Young children are comforted by routines and familiarity. Implementing a bedtime routine means babies can associate this with the onset of sleep. Research has shown that bedtime routines, especially those which are multisensory, using element of touch, smell and taste, improves sleep quality and duration.
Begin the bedtime routine with a warm bath (smell and touch), followed by a cuddle (touch) and a glass of milk (taste) and some quiet time, such as reading a book or singing a lullaby. Aim to have lights out within 30 minutes after the end of the bath.