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Getting Your Child to Nap

on Wed, 09/03/2014 - 11:42

Getting your child to nap can be very frustrating. Naps are the toughest part of sleep training. When teaching children to sleep, in most cases, night sleep falls into place first. Naps can be a lot more stubborn. It can be tempting to give up on getting your child to nap, but it is important to make a solid effort. Poor naps lead to night time sleep disruption, and can affect day time behavior. Here are some helpful nap tips that parents should know when attempting to nap train their child. Learning and practicing these tips can help parents have an increased chance of nap success.

5 Helpful Nap Training Tips

1. Use a pre-nap routine:

Just like bedtime routines are soothing, and help cue the brain that sleep is coming, nap routines can do the same. The nap routine can be a modified or abbreviated version of the bedtime routine.

2. Tackle the morning nap first:

For children who require two naps a day, starting with nap training for the morning nap can be easier. Morning naps are less stubborn and are a good place to start. Children between 6-12 months old tend to do best when they are asleep within two hours from their wake -up time. As babies get closer to switching to one nap (between 15-18 months), they can sleep later in the morning.

3. Try for an hour:

When attempting to nap train your child, try for at least one hour straight. Napping is a hard skill for children to learn and can require one hour of practice. In that hour, you can stay by your child’s crib or bed or leave the room. Aside from emergencies, make sure that you only take your child out of the crib or bed when nap time is over. Even if they have not slept a wink, end nap time after one hour and try again later.

4. Try twice a day:

It can be draining, but if you can muster the strength, try to nap train your child twice a day. The more opportunities children get to practice putting themselves sleep at nap time, the faster they will learn the skill.

5. Have lots of patience:

Unlike night sleep which can take about 7-10 days to fall into place after sleep training, naps can take up to 3 weeks. Getting children to nap can be one of the toughest parts of your parenting journey. Although it can be exhausting, don’t give up when you don’t see results right away. If you are extremely frustrated with naps, and want your individualized nap questions answered, contact me today.