Your 4 1/4-year-old: Early risers

Your 4 1/4-year-old: Early risers

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Your 4-year-old now

Often, 4-year-olds who are otherwise good sleepers wake up too early, long before the rest of the household is ready to start the day. If it's a chronic issue, the trouble may be too much napping or a bedtime that's too early. Most 4-year-olds have given up naps, but if she's still napping longer than 30 minutes, keep in mind this will be subtracted from her nighttime sleep.

If early wake-up calls happen only sporadically, there's no harm done, and you don't need to get up early, too. By 4, your child is old enough to understand that she shouldn't wake up others but is welcome to stay quietly in her room (or come and join you for a morning snuggle). Keep quiet playthings in her room. Try leaving out fresh books at night so she'll have something interesting to look at when she wakes up. Agree on a signal that indicates it's time to "get up" and leave the room: your alarm clock going off, for example, or your calling to her. Try putting an analog clock without a second hand in her room and place a sticker on the hour at which it's OK to get up.

Your life now

Now is a good time to check whether your child's immunization record is up-to-date. This is a requirement for enrolling in kindergarten, so if your child's annual exam falls after the school registration date, you may need to make a special appointment to get shots taken care of. For example, the final doses of DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), and polio are due between ages 4 and 6.

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