Did you know that if your child naps during the day they will sleep better at night?
- Watch out of the sleepy signs - the most common signs are rubbing eyes, yawning, zoning out, arching back, sucking on fingers, difficulty focusing, fussiness and grizzling, if you spot some of these signs then you should start preparing your baby for sleep.
- Set start time to your day - It can sometimes be difficult to establish whether or not your baby is tired, therefore it is important to try and have nap times at the same time each day, this will then ensure you are never too far off the mark when it comes to naptime. Having a set awake time each day will ensure that your baby will get tired and hungry at approximately the same time every day.
- Older children need to know when nap time is too, if their nap is after something specific during the day such as lunch your child will be less likely to resist napping as they will know what is coming next. If your child doesn’t know when naptime is he/she may be planning to redecorate the walls if you then whip him off to bed he will naturally become very upset!
- Go to sleep unaided – For a baby to nap well they need to be able to self settle. Self settling means you can place your baby into their cot or crib awake and they are able to get themselves off to sleep without needing any help from you. (Please note, that this article does not encourage methods such as leaving a baby to cry out or leaving them for extended periods of time to settle. Always check on your baby frequently when they are settling to sleep.)
- Nap in cot – Placing your baby in their cot for sleep will help him/her to associate the cot with sleep.
- Naptime routine – having a naptime routine will ensure your baby knows its bedtime. I recommend using the same routine as you use at night time. A good routine is to say goodnight to everyone, place your baby in the cot, show him/her pictures in a book, sing a short song and then give your baby a kiss goodnight. In a little bit of time your baby will become familiar with the routine, know what is coming next and be more open to falling off to sleep.
The length and number of naps your baby requires will vary depending on your child’s age, the following is a general guide;
0-2 Months 3-4 Naps 4-5 Hours Max 1.5 Hours
2-4 Months 3-4 Naps 4-4.5 Hours Max 2 Hours
4-7 Months 3 Naps 3.5-4 Hours Max 2.5 Hours
8-12 Months 2 Naps 3 Hours Max 3 Hours
12-18 Months 1-2 Naps 2.5-3 Hours Max 5 Hours
18-24 Months 1 Nap 2-2.5 Hours Max 5 Hours
2-2.5 Years 1 Nap 1.5-2 Hours Max 6 Hours
2.5-4 Quiet-time -1 Nap 0.5-1 Hour