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4-Year-Old Sleep Issues: Evidence-Based Tips to Help

Getting children to sleep is a struggle for countless parents around the world, especially when you’re struggling with 4-year-old sleep issues. There will never be a shortage of opinions on the best approach to improve your child’s sleep. As the popular saying goes, opinions are the cheapest commodities in the world. Everyone has them. And they’ll give it to you for free. In most cases, parents are told that they must let their children cry for some time before checking on them. Other parents feel they can never leave their children alone when they start crying.

These two versions often leave parents confused and tired in the long run. If children don’t cry, parents are told that they are creating long-term sleep problems for their children. If they let their children cry, they’re told that they are damaging the parent-child attachment. Apart from the stress of having a child, most parents are left feeling worried and unsure about their decisions because any approach will lead to harm.

Fortunately, there are several sleep experts whose goal is empowering parents to make informed decisions that will promote the well-being of the child in the long run. It’s difficult to imagine a qualified person assisting parents in making sleep decisions related to their children. However, if you want to have peaceful nights and a happy baby, you need to listen to expert advice. Today, we are going to discuss a few great tips that will help fix your child’s sleep issues. Let’s get started!

Myths about toddler/preschooler sleep

1. One approach is ideal for all children

We are all different and unique. And so are our children. There is no one approach that is ideal for every child, especially since the sleep issues are unique as well.  The truth is parents need to be flexible when helping their children to sleep. There are lots of great tips out there that will allow you to try out new things that can work successfully in the long run.

2. Letting your child (yes, even a 4-year-old) cry will harm him or her

Research studies by essay writers have not shown that allowing your children cry at night alone has harmful effects in the long run. 

You have a parent’s heart, so sticking with the consistency needed to change behaviors is half the battle – you need to understand when you have to stay consistent for the greater good of changing sleep behaviors.

Parents understandably think that parents aren’t meeting their child’s needs. The second a child says that they “need help sleeping” or “needs us to lay a little longer.”   

Of course, we want to meet our children’s needs.  Many parents find that the ensuing tantrum isn’t worth the 15 minutes it could take to just lay with our child longer when they fall back asleep. 

Parents need not worry about any negative consequences related to this point. Studies have shown that sleep training does not affect the parent-child attachment. This does not mean that you should let your child cry all night while you sleep. Your approach can be tailored to your child’s needs.

3. If you don’t do sleep training, you’re screwed…

A recent study by Assignment Geek found that children don’t get affected by sleep training. Children who underwent sleep training showed no emotional, conduct, and sleep problems. A well-rested parent will have a great time with his or her kid during the day.  Even more, many parents, some parents regretted NOT sleep training their baby – since it’s harder to break habits down once the kids become a toddler or preschooler. 

Now, many parents wonder if it’s too late for sleep training, especially for a 4-year-old with many years of bad sleep associations and habits.

Good news for those exhausted parents – it’s never too late to instill good sleep habits.  Yep, even when your child is 2, 3 or 4 years-old.

It won’t be easy, but it is possible when you’re ready to make a change.  You’ll need to be consistent and come up with a killer plan- you can have success.

Evidence-based tips to solve 4-year-old sleep issues

Now that you know the myths, it’s time to get to the serious stuff. If you follow the tips that we are about to discuss, your child will fall asleep quickly and sleep the entire night soundly. And so will you. 

1. Have a bedtime routine

Just like adults, babies work well with routines. Creating a bedtime routine will help your child know that bedtime is approaching. Studies show that a bedtime routine promotes quality sleep and other benefits such as a strengthening parent-child relationship and personal hygiene education, such as brushing teeth and bathing. Medical professionals recommend including at least three activities into the routine. This could be reading a storybook, singing a lullaby, or bathing.

2. Bedtime consistency

According to assignment help, a fixed sleep schedule benefits school-aged children. A schedule creates a rhythm that enables the body to learn to sleep at a set time every night. Remember, the earlier the bedtime, the better. While you might think that putting your baby to sleep later at night will make your work easier, it may end up making him overtired or her cranky. And he or she will struggle to sleep.

3. Put your child to bed awake

It’s normal for children to wake up in the middle of the night. The challenge is not to have your child but to have him or her sleep on his or her own after waking up. The best way to help your baby sleep on his or her own is to let him or her sleep on her own in the evening or early night. By doing this, the child will find the conditions similar, and you won’t be required to wake up.

4. Pick a method you can stick with

Sleep training a 2, 3, or 4-year-old isn’t all that different from sleep training a baby.  The key is that you need to come up with a plan to follow.

Now creating a sleep plan for a toddler or preschooler is a bit different – you have to get your child involved (and yes, you can do this is in an enjoyable, loving, and exciting way).  But, the principals are the same that you need a plan to follow so you won’t second guess yourself through the process.

You don’t want to second-guess what to do if you are trying to stop co-sleeping, and your child comes in your bed at 4 am.  You need to be consistent and ready to follow through.

A large part of your sleep plan is to figure out a soothing method – or what you will do if your child is upset, gets out of his room, and/or comes into your room.  To keep things simple, these are the soothing methods I recommend for this age group:

  1. Checking
  2. Not Checking
  3. Sitting in a Chair While Falling Asleep

Now, picking a soothing method isn’t the only thing you have to include in your sleep plan.

Only once you can answer every question in your sleep plan, will you be ready to start.

5. Set a wake-up time

By knowing how much sleep your child needs, you can easily do the math and set up a fixed wake-up time.

Sorry folks – I have bad news – your child’s wake-up is usually biological, and I find that the time doesn’t change all that much.  Most  2, 3, or 4-year-olds typically wake up between 6-8 am range (and yes, some even wake earlier).

When you are starting to solve sleep issues, a fixed wake-up time sets a rhythm to your day, and consistency to your nights.

6. Turn off the TV before bedtime

A series of studies conducted by dissertation service UK has shown that blue light emitted by television, computer screen, and phone affects the production of melatonin. The last thing you want to do is disrupt your child’s waking and sleeping time. Therefore, turn off all screens at least thirty minutes before you and your child to bed.

7. Create an ideal environment

A sleep-inducing environment should be quiet, dark, and comfortable. Eliminate all clutter in your child’s room before taking him or her to bed. The setting determines how your child is going to sleep and the period.

8. Lookout for sleep disorders

If your child has trouble falling asleep because of night terrors or persistent nightmares, he or she might have a sleep disorder. Therefore, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible to have your concerns addressed.


Sleep plays a critical role in a human being’s life, so don’t feel bad trying to solve 4-year-old sleep issues. Remember, rest is a basic need, just like food or shelter. Sleep deprivation can lead to several serious consequences, such as low immunity, irritability, low performance, and fatigue. 

If your child has difficulties in sleeping, it’s essential to seek medical help as soon as possible. Finally, avoid doing or following advice that hasn’t been scientifically proved. By following the tips above, your child won’t have a problem sleeping at night.         


Scott Matthews is a professional journalist and content writer at professional writing service, essay paper and resume writer. He likes helping parents raise successful and responsible adults. During his leisure time, he mentors young people or travels with loved ones.

Susie Parker

Susie Parker is founder of Sleep Baby Love and a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute. When Susie's not ridding the world of sleepless families, she loves spending time with her two girls that have given her a ton of real world sleep experience head on.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Great tips for putting kiddos to bed. It can hard to make it out the door with out reading extra books, retucking in, finding certain stuffed animals, etc!

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