Nap time hacks: Tips for more daytime sleep

Nap time hacks: Tips for more daytime sleep

Toddlers still require naps even if they no longer require as much sleep as they once did as they become older. Most kids sleep for two to three hours continuously during the day, evenly divided between a morning nap and an after-lunch nap, until they are about 18 months old. Older children typically take a few shorter afternoon naps.

If your little one refuses to take a nap, take a look at these tips:

Time it properly. Timing is crucial when it comes to toddler naps. First, you should only put your child to bed when she is exhausted but not overtired. Aim to put your child down for a nap if you see that she is already slowing down, such as after lunch. She may be ready for a nice rest three to four hours after her previous sleep if she never appears to become obviously exhausted.

Consistency is key. Your baby's body and brain will start to anticipate it if you put her down for a nap and wake her up at around the same time each day.

Establish a smart nap schedule. Since your child is a creature of habit, the predictability of a nap pattern will make her feel more safe and soothed, which are the ideal conditions for relaxing and falling asleep. Make up a nap routine that is a condensed version of your bedtime ritual, such as singing, reading, and cuddling, but don't allow it to go on for too long. 

Give her a mid-morning snack or lunch beforehand. If she's still having trouble falling asleep in the afternoon, try starting her nap a bit earlier and closer to lunch. With a full belly, toddlers not only sleep longer and better, but they may also be more receptive to naps.

Consider if your child is ready to give up her morning sleep if she is persistently refusing naps. She could be old enough now to no longer require the early nap. Also, give your toddler some time to get used to the new sleep schedule if she is ready to go from two naps to one. It's possible that she will wind up falling asleep early when it's time for bed, so be willing to adjust as necessary.

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