It is important for children to take naps during the day until they are 5 to 6 years of age. They develop mentally and physically when they sleep at night and during the day. It makes them less tired and fussy, and improves their attention span. The frequency of naps required by your little one during the day decreases as it gets older. A 3-month-old baby requires 3 to 4 naps , a 6 month old requires 2 naps, a 1 year old requires 1 to 2 naps, and a 2 to 5 year old requires 1 nap. Even though napping is crucial for a child’s development, it is not easy to get them to do so. Children are a powerhouse of energy. It is almost impossible to get them to sleep when they are happily babbling and cooing or running around in diapers. You can follow a few techniques if you are finding it difficult to get them to sleep during the day.
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1. Set The Right Environment
Your child cannot sleep if its room is bright and noisy. You have to set the right environment to make it fall asleep. When it is dark, the body produces a hormone called melatonin, which induces sleep. Make your child’s room dark to trick your little one to fall asleep. You can use thick curtains or blinds to create a sleepy environment.
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2. Set A Fixed Routine
Just as you can’t fall asleep at any given time, your child can’t do so too. Your body clock governs your sleep-wake cycles. It is important to get your little one to sleep at similar times during the day. When its body gets used to a certain nap schedule, you will have an easier time getting it to fall asleep. Infants usually sleep in the mornings and afternoons, whereas children older than a year slowly quit napping in the mornings. Be diligent about the routine you set.
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3. Watch For Tiredness
Put your little one to sleep as soon as it looks tired or yawns. Waiting too long will cause it to become fussy, and it will be harder for you to make it fall asleep. Children become resistant to sleep as they get overtired. Act on signs of sleepiness quickly.
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4. Set A Pre-Nap Routine
A pre-nap routine is extremely important if your little one struggles to sleep well. The routine should be simple. Include a few soothing, calming activities like reading books, cuddling, singing songs, or listening to music. These activities will relax your child and will let them know that it is time to settle down for a nap.
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5. Avoid Letting It Nap At Odd Times
Your child might not be sleeping well during nap times because it is napping in the car seat, in its stroller, or on the carpet while playing. It is not good to move your child after it falls asleep. It disturbs its sleep and creates a sleep deficit in the long run. Enforce a habit of making it sleep only in its bed or crib. Out of schedule napping should be allowed only in rare occasions when you don’t have a choice.
Even when you set a nap schedule for your little one, there are instances when you just can’t stick to it. Illness, teething, or going on vacations can disrupt the schedule. There is nothing much you can do about it. Be patient and just go with the flow. These disturbances are temporary. You can start following the sleep routine once everything is back on track. Be aware of your little one’s age and how much sleep it needs. Don’t force it to sleep extra if it does not need to.