Bedtime can be an exasperating ordeal for both child and parent. The simple act of preparing to sleep can become a desperate battle for control. By remaining sensitive to your child's sleep needs, and by sticking to a regular bedtime routine, night-time drama can be avoided.
Your preschooler may need as few as nine hours or as many as 14 hours of sleep [source: Caldwell]. In certain cases, parents may be forcing sleep on a child who is genuinely not tired. Experiment with different bedtimes to find out how much sleep your child needs. Remember that not all your preschooler's sleeping will necessarily happen at night, so allow for midday naps.
Preschoolers, just like adults, need a winding down period before going to sleep. At least half an hour before bedtime, get your child to start slowing down. Keep him away from caffeine, food or drink, and consider turning on some mellow music. Stick to a routine: Bedtime will be more calming if it is kept to a regular ritual.
Sleep can be a scary prospect for a preschooler. Bedtime, after all, is the time when you're supposed to stay alone in a dark, isolated room. To ease the fear, some experts recommend packing your child a "nighttime kit" [source: KidsHealth]. Put a flashlight, book or music player close to your child's bed so that if he can't sleep, he'll have something to do in the middle of the night without getting out of bed.