In our last blog series, we looked at how to prepare your child for preschool — from setting a schedule, to learning how to cooperate and interact with their peers around them. This stage in toddler growth and development is expansive and so many things are new and exciting, making them curious about the world around them. So, where does sleep come into play? Do they need more or less?

A busy preschool environment filled with activities and learning social cues can leave your toddler worn out! At ABC Early Learning Academy, we want to bring your toddler the best in early childhood education by exposing them to a variety of activities that spark their curiosity and helps them reach more milestones, more quickly. Preschool is a grand transition for a toddler that can leave them tired — but in a great way! Follow along in today’s post as we dive into sleep and how it relates to your toddler!

Sleep and Your Toddler

As an adult, you know how important sleep is — sleep affects everything from your memory to the ability to perform your job adequately — and when you don’t get enough it throws off your daily activities. Now imagine your toddler being in a huge growth stage and trying to navigate new emotions and body signals that are trying to communicate when they’re tired and need to sleep. Because kids can’t quite self-regulate when to wake and when to sleep, as parent or caregiver, it’s important to know their cues and help them get the sleep their body and brain needs.

Cues That Your Toddler May Need Sleep

As the parent or caregiver, you know your child better than anyone, so below are common cues that your child may be in need of a nap or bedtime.

Grouchy – If your child is overly grouchy and irritable this could indicate the need for sleep. As a child becomes worn out they’re less tolerant of the stimuli around them and become reactive or bored manifested as being grumpy or grouchy.

Cuddle-hungry, or cuddle-starved – When a toddler is tired they may be like velcro an extremely attached and cuddly, or the exact opposite, refusing any sort of physical touch or comfort from you.

Blank staring – As a child begins to fade, their alertness may quickly fade and you’ll notice them with a blank stare. This gaze may only last for a couple seconds or it may lead to them falling asleep.

Excitable – Fatigue in a toddler can make them more reactive so you may see sudden movements or jerky behavior. Your toddler may also become clumsy by falling, swaying side-to-side, or dropping things.

It’s always ideal to get your toddler to bed or for a nap if you see any of these signs, so you can help them settle in and shift to calm and peaceful sleep.

How much sleep does a toddler need?

Sleep will vary from toddler to toddler, but an estimate of 10 to 14 hours per night is needed for a child in this stage of development. This also includes naptime of one to three hours in length, so you’re child is getting a good amount of sleep throughout the day and night. Creating a solid sleep schedule can be helpful if you’re child is getting ready or is attending a preschool program — be consistent with their sleep time to help build strong sleep patterns in the future.

Sleep is important at any stage of life, but at a stage where growth and development are at an all-time high, sleep for your toddler is crucial. It’s important to know your child’s sleep cues such as if they’re grouchy, affectionate or not, have a blank stare, or are excitable. How much sleep a toddler is getting is also important, so take note that they’re getting between 10 to 14 hours with a nap during the day.

With sleep and an amazing preschool learning program, watch your child flourish! At ABC Early Learning Academy, we offer two toddler programs including Tiny Turtles and Bumblebees that both explore a child’s curiosity about the world around them, while implementing activities that develop reading, writing, and math skills in addition to socioemotional skills. To register or to schedule a tour, connect with us today!