Sleep issues in preschoolers and older

(I have a new piece up at the Huffington Post Divorce section, about the holidays and Dolly Parton. Please comment.)

Hey, sleep issues with preschoolers and older! My kids have been having a hard time going to sleep in the last couple of weeks, and it seems to be going around. Are your kids having problems or delaying going to sleep? Or just showing up in your bed in the middle of the night?

I think it has a lot to do with the general excitement in the air about school break coming up and all the hoopla around Christmas. Adults are either tense or excited, or tense and excited. Media of all kinds are excited. Even just going to the grocery store with a parent is different because of all the glittery displays of special Christmas foods (at my grocery store: Pannetone Italian boxed cakes, chicharron, pfeffernusse cookies, a huge tower of Ferrero Rocher candies).

My kids have been thinking about and talking about gifts, the gifts they hope to get and the gifts they're giving. Planning the tree. Thinking about the trip to see my family.

It's not really surprising that they're having a hard time being interested in falling asleep and then actualy falling asleep.

But they need to. Tonight I'm going to make an effort to start the bedtime routine 20 minutes earlier than usual, to see if that helps.

What else can I/we try to help our kids get in bed and stay in bed more easily during the Most Exciting Time of the Year?