by Fiona Luke April 09, 2016 2 min read
Napping is a vital component of the sleep routine for babies and toddlers, as it allows their growing bodies and minds to process the activities that have happened so far and to recharge for the big day ahead. However, as most parents know, consistent napping can be a challenge, often leading to agitation or moodiness in children and frustration for parents. So now for the good news: napping doesn’t have to be a source of constant anxiety! If you’re finding the napping routine difficult to master, there are a few key things you can do to help your baby or toddler adjust to a more consistent routine.
Napping doesn’t have to be a source of constant anxiety! If you’re finding the napping routine difficult to master, there are a few key things you can do to help your baby or toddler adjust to a more consistent routine.
Firstly, ensure that you are watching for your baby’s sleeping cues. These are subtle (sometimes very obvious!) cues that your baby is becoming sleepy that now is the perfect time to prepare them for a nap! More obvious cues include yawning, eye rubbing and eye bobbing or constant closing, while more subtle sleepy cues include a sense of being distracted or disinterested in their surroundings. You may notice that these sleeping cues occur after meal times, or around 6 hours after their initial wake up for toddlers. For babies, especially newborns, it’s important to allow for far more naps throughout the day, however; after 6 months of age, 2-3 naps should be sufficient. Be ready to act on your child’s sleep cues! This can be made considerably easier if you are at home, as you can put your baby in familiar environment that helps lull them to sleep easier. A handy tip is to use an abbreviated or shortened bedtime routine, in which you simply shorten the established routine to allow your child to nap faster. For example, if your routine is diaper change, snuggle, quick story, in the cot awake and then sleep. It’s very helpful to consider that your child’s naptime place is sleep inducing, preferably a dark, quiet, moderate temperature room.
Remember, a full sleep cycle is no shorter than an average of 45 minutes, so if your child’s nap is falling in the lower category we call it a disaster nap, you will need to help them adjust to longer naptimes. Establishing a consistent nap routine, can effectively release melatonin which will trigger sleep signals, allowing sleep freer and with less anxiety of being away from their parents. So, by watching for their sleep cues, establishing an efficient naptime routine and creating a sleep-inducing environment, your child’s naptime is sure to be more fulfilling!
Hope this helps!
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