Daytime sleep not only is important for a child’s healthy growth and development, but it can also do wonders as a short, refueling break for parents.
Does your child fight against daily naps? Here are four toddler nap-time tips to help make it go a little more smoothly:
- Consistency. Make nap time at the same time and in the same place every day. Avoid temporary changes in routine as much as possible. Variations such as a family vacation can often push your toddler’s nap time to later in the afternoon, which can then push his or her bedtime even later.
- Use napping rituals. Especially if your toddler attends day care, napping in new or different locations can sometimes be challenging. Consider enlisting a favorite stuffed animal, a special napping blanket, or another comfort item that your toddler can take to wherever nap time may be.
- When your toddler refuses to sleep, make sure that he or she still gets quiet time. Lay your child down quietly in a dark room. Consider reading a story to him or her, or playing soft music. Even if your toddler doesn’t fall asleep, he or she can still get some rest.
- Know how much sleep time your child really needs. Most toddlers need a maximum of 12 hours of sleep, a number that starts to diminish to 11 hours between 3 to 5 years old. Usually around 18 months old, children can begin to consolidate their nap time and go from two naps a day to one. As they get older, their need for nap time begins to decrease because they are able to get all the sleep that they need at night. If your toddler is getting close to 11 to 12 hours of sleep through the night, he or she may not need a nap at all.