Toddler Nap Time Guide

Nap times are a necessity for a parent to retain his or her sanity. It offers ‘me time’ and time to catch up on to-do lists with zero distractions. During this time, parents can partake in a consistent flow of activity not available while children are awake, resulting in efficiency, recharging and better moods when children wake up.

Some of us are blessed with children who nap like champs and never have issues. I’d like to believe these little angels are a rarity and most of us are in a constant battle with nap time. Am I right? Because of this, we need to stick together as parents and help our darling children get good naps for their growth and our sanity.

I’m a mother of a two-year-old, and I’ve already noticed nap times getting cut short or skipped all together. With a bit of trial and error, I’ve come up with some tips to help your little ones nap better and longer.

Stay on Schedule

Even during the relaxing summer, it’s important to try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Start the bedtime routine at the same time every night, and wake them up at the same time every morning. That way, you’ll learn at what point they will be ready for a nap every day and be prepared for it.

Follow a Consistent Routine

A routine is important for both nap and bedtime. For example, our evening routine begins after dinner when we give our son a bath. We let him play in the tub until he tells us he’s done, which is about 30 minutes, then, we brush his teeth and get him ready for bed. We head straight for the bedroom, and with a soft light next to us, we read books for about 30 minutes. At that point, he knows it’s time for bed. He has a sip of water and into bed he goes, usually without any fuss. He knows what to expect, and he’s okay with it. For nap time, I do an abbreviated routine. It begins after lunch when we go upstairs and read books for 30 minutes. I give him a sip of water and into bed he goes. Routine is key.

Provide Quiet Toys

To encourage quiet time and extra motivation to rest, even if she doesn’t sleep, keep a couple of quiet toys in the bed. That way, if anything, she’ll get 30 minutes of quiet time while you get things done. More times than not, my son rolls his cars in a repetitive motion until he puts himself to sleep. Easy peasy.

Dress Them in Comfortable Clothing

Before napping, I always change my son’s clothes and put him into pajamas. This way he is at maximum comfort and not in dirty play clothes when sleeping.

Plan Pre-Nap Activities

Through trial and error, I have learned that my son needs at least an hour of high-energy activity before napping. That usually means running in the backyard for an hour, swimming in the kiddie pool or taking a trip to the playground, aquarium, children’s museum. Getting him out of the house, even if it’s the back porch, helps to get his energy out and prepares him for a good nap. If it’s a rainy day, I can almost guarantee that he won’t nap well unless we go somewhere like the aquarium. When kids are inside all morning, playing with toys or even watching movies, very little energy is burnt, thus naps aren’t as necessary for their bodies.

If nothing else, be patient and you’ll get on track in no time. Stay consistent, and use a bit of trial and error every day. For example, change one part of your routine for a few days to see if that helps or hurts the process. Every child is different, so you’ll just need to find something that works for you and your little one.

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