The early years of your kid’s life are always exciting because you get to watch them grow.
Naps are essential for children’s development it gives an exhausted child the opportunity to rest.
However, many parents struggle to get their toddlers to take naps.
The key is to give your child the required daytime rest through consistent naps to keep them recharged during the day.
A Parents Guide on Naps for Kids
A parent must know how much nap your child needs and the best ways to rest. When scheduling naps for your kids, there are several factors to consider.
Here is a guide for parents on the basics of naps for their children.
1. The Number of Naps Your Toddler Needs
The length of naps needed depends on your toddler’s age and their individual needs. Before one year, babies generally require between one and four naps in a day. However, when your child reaches one year, it is expected they take both a morning nap and an afternoon nap. After that, you can reduce their naptime to once per day.
The recommended sleep for a newborn, including naps, is approximately 17 hours. As toddlers develop, they do not require lengthy naps as they did as a newborn. For children under a year, their naps can range between 30 minutes to 2 hours to help them get the required amount of daily rest.
2. How to Know if Your Child Needs a Nap
A well-rested child is active and able to perform their daily activities with ease. Pay attention to early signals from your child that show they are tired.
If the signs range from irritability, rubbing eyes, or yawning excessively, they probably need enough sleep. You will need to ensure they nap during the day and move their bedtime earlier to ensure optimum sleep.
If you wait until they cry or are extremely tired, it will interfere with their bedtime; so, create a nap routine and encourage your child to follow it.
3. Ways to Help Your Kids Nap
If your child throws a tantrum during nap time, there are fun ways to make the routine enjoyable. To encourage sleep, make the room quiet and without distractions. If your child can’t sleep in a quiet place, use low-level white noise.
However, ensure that this constant and even sound is not loud and kept far from your child’s bed, and is not too loud. Avoid overdressing your child for a nap, so they are as comfortable as possible.
Also, you may sing a lullaby or read to your kids to encourage sleep.
4. The Best Location for a Nap
Naps are best enjoyed in a dark and quiet area.
Therefore, always ensure your child’s nap space is as dark as possible, even during the day, so they can get optimum rest. Remember, every child is different, so their preferred location for a nap may vary.
Regardless of the time or location, your baby prefers to nap, consistency with their schedule is vital. Building a consistent routine usually takes at least 3 months to develop.
Importance of Children Taking Naps
Babies and toddlers require a lot of sleep during the day, so naps are crucial. Skipping your toddler’s naps or having an irregular rest schedule is a recipe for tantrums, feeding problems, and even emotional outbursts.
Here are four benefits of making your little ones rest during the day:
1. It Enhances Kid’s Learning
Research shows that babies and toddlers who nap are agile and outperform their peers in games and activities.
Naps are linked to improved memory, emotional regulation, language learning, and cognitive skills in kids.
2. It affects Weight
If children lack sleep from an infant age, they are more likely to become overweight due to stress. Also, tired kids tend to eat differently than those who take naps.
However, to avoid being overweight from excess sleep, parents are to soothe their kids without feeding. Like adults, kids crave higher-fat foods and carbohydrates when exhausted, and tired children are not active; hence, they burn fewer calories.
3. Naps helps Children Beat Germs
During sleep, kids produce proteins that assist the body in fighting infection, germs, illness, and stress. Science shows that inadequate sleep reduces the number of available proteins called cytokines.
Children who nap fewer than thirty minutes are three times more likely to fall sick when exposed to germs than those who rest for lengthy hours.
4. It Supports better Night Sleep
If your toddler is not sleeping well at night, encouraging naps will help. When children are exhausted, their bodies are filled with stress hormones that energize them and stay awake all night.
To ensure your child gets enough night’s rest, the timing of their naps matters. Late naps towards evening push your child’s bedtimes later.
However, for most infants and toddlers, napping above average causes reduced nighttime sleep.
When to Skip Children Naptime
The decision to skip your child’s nap is dependent on factors like your kid’s behavior and the amount of sleep they get at night. If your child looks well-rested in the day and rarely falls asleep during activities, they are not getting the required amount of sleep.
Here are points to consider to decide when to stop your child’s nap:
1. Difficulty Sleeping at Naps
The most noticeable sign that your children are ready to reduce naptime is when they give you a more challenging time than usual. It is usually not a sudden change as their lack of enthusiasm for rest occurs over several days and weeks.
If possible, during this transition, move their bed and dinner time at least one hour earlier to accommodate their changes.
2. Your Child Is Active at Nap Time
When your toddlers are ready to stop naps, you will notice that they do not seem stressed and sleepy at all.
If you notice that they are not irritable and are still active, consider skipping their nap that day. If your kid seems happy and carries out their daily activities typically, they probably need reduced naps.
Noticing these clues around naps is essential as it allows your child have a positive association with rest that stays with them into their adult years.
With patience and flexibility, your child will develop a good nap routine.
Then, as a parent, you can rest easy knowing your little one is well-rested, too. If naps begin to interfere with your child’s night sleep, attempt creating a schedule or shorten the duration of their daily rest.
Note that children at daycare who nap for at least an hour tend to sleep well at night.