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Is Your Preschooler Getting Enough Sleep?

by Carol Belcher

Children are spending more & more time on the couch, in the house, and on some type of electronic device. There is a recent research study that indicated that children today are 4 times less active than their grandparents when they were children. Inactivity and overuse of electronics can result in sleep disturbances, irritability, and inhibited ability to focus.

Are parents reporting that their child is having trouble sleeping, concentrating, or is slow to get up in the morning? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following sleep needs for young children:

  • 1-3 years old 12-14 hours per day
  • 3-4 years old 10-11 hours per day

Further, the AAP recommends that children ages 3-18 be limited to 2 hours of electronic entertainment per day. When children are looking at electronic screens, they should wait at least 1 full hour before going to bed so that their young brains have sufficient time to slow down and settle down.

Children's brains are more sensitive to environmental influences than adults. Here are some signs that children are not getting good, restorative sleep.

  • Complaints of not being able to get to sleep
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Poor memory, poor focus
  • Difficulty retaining learned skills or information
  • Hard to wake up
  • Irritability and meltdowns 

What is your child's bedtime routine? How much time does your child spend on electronics at home?

Depending on your answers, what may look like an emerging behavioral issue may actually be a result of not enough restorative sleep or simply not enough hours of sleep. Make sure your child is getting the recommended amount of sleep!

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