Improve Your Child's Sleep: Preparing For Preschool
Jenna Wilson, award-winning sleep consultant and founder of Little Dreams Consulting.
Starting school, or even preschool, is such a huge milestone in your little one’s life – and yours too! There is lots of learning and developing to be done so we want to ensure they are as pre/school sleep ready as they can be!
Why is sleep so important?
It is only during the deep phase of sleep that the growth hormone is secreted, together with the hormone that tells your little one whether they are full or hungry. On top of this our immune system needs sleep in order to produce proteins to fight infection; vitally important when your little one goes to school and picks up all those new bugs that they have not yet become exposed to.
Sleep is vital for your child’s development too. If your little one does not sleep well, the brain cannot ‘press save’ on what was learned that day, which, as you can imagine, is absolutely vital!
How can you help your little one get more sleep?
There are two aspects we can look at to improve your child's sleep for preschool.
Let’s start with the basics, a really important part of sleeping for your child, is ensuring that they have a calm and comfortable environment to sleep in. We want to ensure that their bedroom is where sleep can come easily and naturally.
The right duvet helps. Try the Night Lark Junior Coverless Duvet & Pillowcase Set: made from super-soft Smartfil fibres and featuring four delightful prints, it is also easy-washable and quick drying.
1. Keep It Simple
One of the biggest mistakes parents make when it comes to their children’s bedroom is that they make it too exciting, whereas, ideally their room will be calm and, well, pretty boring. We want to ensure that your little one knows their room is for sleep and nothing else so ensure any toys are tidied away at the end of the day and anything like too many stuffed animals and huge murals on the wall are out of sight.
2. Keep It dark
Ideally your little one’s room would be pitch black but, lots of little ones will develop a fear of the dark as they become pre schoolers.
One of the biggest reasons for early morning wakings is because of light coming in from outside so a blackout blind (something like a ‘Groblind’ or you could even Sellotape black card over your child’s windows) can work well. Older children may even like an eye mask (I know all of my 3 do).
Try the Night Owl Junior Chidlren's Silk Eye Mask made from pure mulberry silk.
If your little one is scared of the dark, try to ensure their night light is not too bright but allow it to stay on all night so that the way in which they fall asleep is the same when they come to the edge of sleep each time in the night.
3. Keep It Cool
The recommended temperature for a child’s room is between 16 to 20° and, did you know that only a 0.5% change in temperature can really impact sleep.
‘My 6 year old loves the feel of the bedding and has remained cool all summer so I know this works, plus from a very practical point of view it is super easy to wash (and I get bonus points for it’s sustainability credentials)!’
Be aware that 4am is generally when our bodies (and our houses) are the coolest so bear that in mind because we don’t want your little one waking because they are a little cool.
Let's move on to their bedtime routine.
1. The Basics
First, a bedtime routine can be really helpful for children. Ideally there will be some ‘getting the wriggles out’ play time, after dinner, followed by some quiet and relaxing time before bed. It can also include some massage or touch to calm overtired and wired nervous systems! Relax Kids have a great website with lots of resources to help, or watch some cosmic kids yoga and do it together! Try to ensure you also have some 1-1 time with you to reconnect too.
2. Include a bath
A bath will also help your little one wind down and relax, together with the benefits of their body temperature dropping and this will help them sleep too.
3. Avoid the sugar
Avoid sugary foods or drinks before bedtime (including surprising things like hot chocolate or too much fruit). Instead, you could try a banana, some natural yoghurt or a bowl of (low sugar) cereal if your little one wants a snack before bed.
Book A Free 15 Minute Chat
If your little one is having trouble sleeping, we work with children up to the age of 10 so book a free 15 minute chat with one of us to discuss what’s happening and how we can help.
Go to Little Dreams Consulting.
About Little Dreams Consulting
Little Dreams was set up in 2016 by ex-solicitor Jenna Wilson (a mum of 3) with a goal of helping families around the world get a better night’s sleep. She initially trained with Sleep Sense then The Sleep Charity (UK). Within 18 months the demand for her services was such that Fay Smith (an ex- mental health social worker) came on board.
Despite this, demand continued to grow so there is now a team of 4 in Bristol and the Little Dreams franchise opportunity was launched in December 2021. With franchisees now across the south and midlands (and demand for services not slowing) the franchise has helped over 1000 families get a better night’s sleep and has hundreds of 5* reviews. If you are looking for a completely flexible new career that you can be proud of download a prospectus here.
Start a Little Dreams franchise.