Nap time is essential for kids and important for the sanity of moms, but sometimes it can be a battle.
If you are wondering how to make nap time go smoother, check out these 5 strategies.
Why won't baby nap?
- Baby is overly tired.
- They are hungry.
- They are teething and their gums hurt.
- Baby needs a new diaper.
- Their nap time schedule got messed up.
- They took a short nap in the car.
Nap Time Tips
1. Know the Sleepy Cues
By this, I mean know the cues your baby/toddler is giving you to know he/she is tired. Here are a couple cues that mean they are getting sleepy:
- clenched fists-this is moreso for a baby, but when they start clenching their fists, it is a sign they are tired
- red eyes
- rubbing eyes
- start becoming more fussy and irritable
The trick to making nap time successful is to time it right. Getting them to take a nap before they become overtired is essential.
I usually look for two cues before deciding its time for a nap. After you have established a routine, it is easier to know roughly the right time of day each day to put your child down for a nap.
2. Establish a schedule, and stick to it
There will be times that schedules have to be broken, but if at all possible, stick to it. Before I was a mom, I never truly understood the importance of naps, let alone making sure they had their nap at the right time.
Since becoming a mom, I have seen the light!
It is especially important to stick to the routine that you have created with your child, because disruptions can lead to meltdowns. I hate to say it, but I am the mom who schedules her day around her kids’ nap times/bed times.
It is better for my kids as well as myself.
3. 30-45 Minutes before nap time, wear that energizer bunny down
I do this by turning some music on, and letting my 2 year old dance to her heart’s content. We jam out to Taylor Swift, Cascada, and AC/DC [variety is the spice of life].
For babies, I would suggest doing some tummy time before their nap! You can read all about tummy time here.
This is a good way to get any excess energy burned off, so they fall asleep faster [this is also a good idea before bed time.]
4. White Noise Machine
One way I have found to help nap time go smoother especially with babies and toddlers is to have some form of a white noise machine. Whether it's a fan, or even a cool-mist humidifer.
That little noise from a white noise machine can help drown out the residual noises that occur during naptime. Thus, baby/toddler sleeps longer!
We used a cool-mist humidifier that makes just enough noise to help make things not so noisy. It made just enough of a hum to stifle noises in the rest of the house.
We really like this humidifier because it does a great job as a makeshift white noise machine, but it also helps out during the dry winter months.
5. Eliminate Distractions
This can be as simple as removing all toys from your child’s bedroom before they take a nap. Or at least the noisy ones.
If they have too many things to play with, it is going to take a lot longer time for them to fall asleep. Especially as they get older, and tend to fight naps more.
I will often hear my daughter playing in her room when she is supposed to be napping. That's when I know perhaps she has too many things to play with!
Toddler not napping?
This is another common complaint that parents have, toddlers not napping anymore. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.
For one, they might not be tired. This could be a result of sleeping too long overnight, or because they are getting to the point that they don't need naps anymore.
No more napping, now what?
If your child has started fighting profusely about not napping anymore, or you notice they really just don't need naps anymore, what should you do?
Quiet time can be a great option for those parents who have other young children who take naps. This keeps the house relatively quiet, but your child isn't actually napping.
Use the time productively
Another great option for busy moms is to use the time your little one would be napping to get more things done. Use the time to go to the grocery store, or run errands.
Make it fun
One of the last things you can do with this newfound time is to have some fun! Find some great learning activities, or plan a special art/craft project. You could also go to a museum or the zoo.
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