Do you ever feel like your family’s naps are more of a hurdle than a restful break for everyone? If so, don’t fret – you’re not alone! Naptime can be incredibly difficult to tackle with young kids.
From setting the right environment, developing a soothing pre-sleep ritual, and even engaging in activities that allow our children to release energy and tucker themselves out beforehand, the transition from play to sleep can be challenging.
But we’re here to tell you that conquering naptime can be done! Our tips and tricks will help you conquer naptime so that it doesn’t have to be an ongoing battle between you and your child.
Be consistent with naptime schedule and environment
Establishing a consistent naptime routine is one of the best things you can do for your little one. This time provides ample opportunity for them to recharge and be their best selves when they wake up.
A relaxed, comfortable napping environment and some boundaries are key to helping your little one achieve quality rest. This means ensuring their naptime is at the same time each day and in the same space with minimal distractions and light. This offers the opportunity to create a calming connection between parents and children – promoting the attachment of positive memories and feelings of security to rest.
Burn off extra energy before naptime
Burn off any extra energy ahead of naptime to make it an easier part of your child’s routine.
Running around the yard or on a playground, jumping on a trampoline, or dancing can help your toddler expend excess energy so naptime goes more smoothly. Consider playing games like hide and seek, tag, or simply having them chase you around the house.
Doing something active will help your little one settle down and relax for a nap later. And after some good exercise, the transition from playtime to rest time will feel more manageable and less stressful for you and your little one. Plus, you’ll enjoy some quality bonding time together. Not to mention, these activities are great for both physical and mental development!
Restrict sugar and screen time before naptime
As a parent, naptime can be a saving grace for your family. It allows everyone to pause and re-energize, helping them to be happier and healthier throughout the day. Napping helps prevent irritability, emotional outbursts, exhaustion, and other issues.
However, naptime can be hard to manage if children are overstimulated due to too much sugar or screen time beforehand. When children have too much sugar or are exposed to blue light from screens for too long, they can act as a source of stimulation that makes napping difficult.
That is why it is important to restrict both sugar and screens before naptime to ensure that your child has an adequate opportunity to relax and reset their body and mind. Introducing these healthy habits helps your children get the most out of naptime while investing in their long-term well-being.
Use the same sleep space, day and night
Using the same sleep space every day can help instill healthy habits in your little one. This is especially true for infants and toddlers, who are still developing and require twice as much sleep as adults.
Ensuring your child naps in the same space will result in better routines and a stress-free naptime for everyone involved. A consistent napping environment helps babies and young children to feel safe and familiar with their sleeping area, allowing them to transition from being awake to sleeping much more quickly. This will lead to fewer naptime meltdowns, which no parent wants to endure!
When it comes to napping, consistency, and organization are key. Having the same sleep space will help your toddler or infant understand that this space is for rest only, and they will naturally feel more tired in this space. Soon enough, you will all be embracing naptime like pros!
Start a calming pre-nap routine
A soothing, simple, and consistent naptime routine is important to help let your child know that naptime is coming. This allows your little one to start winding down in anticipation of sleep, which makes naptime easier and more peaceful.
This pre-nap routine can include reading a story, singing lullabies, reciting nursery rhymes, or cuddling with stuffed animals. Although a couple of minutes is enough time to introduce an element of relaxation into naps, adding other calming techniques like massages or light yoga may be beneficial.
The naptime routine may vary from family to family or even day to day, but maintaining a consistent yet flexible routine will ensure naps are smooth and restful for you and your child.
Keep your toddler “in the loop”
Including your toddler in the naptime routine can be a great way to help make the process smoother.
Studies have shown that setting up simple rules and expectations with toddlers can help keep naptime consistent and make it easier for everyone. Talking with your toddler about what naptime will look like and what you expect of them can help ease anxiety and make naptime less of a struggle by putting them in control of the experience.
This strategy also gives you the opportunity to offer helpful tips and encouragement as they go along, which is sure to create a more positive naptime environment overall.
Overall, it is essential to establish a healthy and consistent nap routine for young kids. It can be tricky and take some trial and error, but these tips are a great starting point.
Whether or not you reach your toddler nap goals every 24 hours, remember that the ultimate goal is to build an atmosphere where you and your child feel comfortable resting. Check out our sleep blog for more sleep tips and best practices. We’re here to help!