Fast Asleep?


Bedwetting is a common problem during the preschool years. Statistics show that about 88 percent of all children quit wetting their beds by the time they reach 4 1/2 years of age, but about 8 to 10 percent will continue through age 6, as will about 1 to 2 percent even after high school graduation. The best thing to do is have the child clean up his own bed, as much as possible, without unnecessarily shaming him.

Encopresis (soiling)

Soiling, like bedwetting, can be expected in the preschool years. Remember, the normal age for toilet training is between 1 1/2 and 4 years of age. If your child is over 4 and is still soiling from time to time, it would be best to consult a physician to handle such a problem.


Thumb-sucking is considered normal, and about one out of five children still suck their thumbs even after their 6th birthday. If your child is over 6 and still sucking his or her thumb regularly, it is usually considered to be a sign that the child is experiencing some anxiety. You may want to consider some counseling to see if there is a problem.

Nightmares, night terrors and sleep walking

Nightmares and night terrors are also quite common in preschoolers. Because there are many things that a 3- to 6-year-old doesn"t understand, he spends a large portion of his sleeping time in dreaming. Therefore, most children will have some nightmares or night terrors. Night terrors involve thrashing around in bed and crying out at times, but unlike nightmares, don"t wake the children up. In fact, you may have a hard time waking them during a night terror. Most children have them for only a short period of time; they go away as the child grows.

If the problem persists, keep a nightlight in your preschooler"s room, so he can see that there aren"t any animals or bogeymen. If your child comes to your bed at night after a nightmare, he should be taken back to his own bed and calmly spoken to for a few moments. Don't, however, confuse this with sleepwalking, which is also common in young children. Sleepwalking is nothing to worry about as long as they stay in the house!

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