Quite often I hear from parents whose baby is waking up after 30-40minutes nap (not even a full sleep cycle!) and they don’t know how to get them back to sleep.
Top tips for child naps
I wanted to share my top tips with you all, to help you teach your baby the art of napping.
First of all, resettling to sleep is a learnt skill, so you need to be working on some kind of plan to develop their self-settling skill for bedtime and night sleep.
Be mindful of their wakeful windows, so you are getting your child down at the right time, and not missing their wakeful windows. Sometimes the overtiredness can impact the length of a nap.
When your little one wakes too early from their nap, they will likely be miserable and upset, because they are still tired. It is best to try and re-settle them upon waking, not just accept that this is the end of the nap. Respond in the same way you would a night waking, the only difference being, you are not going to keep trying indefinitely until they are back to sleep. I recommend trying to resettle for 40minutes to 60minutes. If at this time it’s not going to happen, leave the room for 60 seconds and then re-enter with the purpose of getting them up, full voice, open curtains. Leaving the room for a full 60 seconds is important so they see you are giving them a different response, and therefore are not inadvertently teach them to just hold out until you get them up.
Back up plan
If resettling does not happen, or it does, but it still isn’t long enough, then bring the next nap forward to compensate.
If your child does not re-settle and you think they need more sleep immediately, then a motion nap is always a good option, in the car or pram.
Note: even if a resettle is only for 15minutes, and you have taken 40minutes trying to do this, do not be disheartened, the fact they have resettled, is a huge step towards learning this skill.
Keep at it! Earlier in the day is normally easier to practice this re-settling skill, as generally by the afternoon they tend to be more fractious and it is much harder to re-settle. It may not work every day, or it could take 7 to 10 days of trying this consistently, before you see results.
But remember, if you are consistent with your response you WILL see results!
If you are struggling with your child’s naps and need help or want to talk more, get in touch today! A child who has adequate naps in the day is more likely to sleep soundly at night, so let’s conquer nap time once and for all!