I love naps...who doesn't right? A little break in the day to recharge and snuggle under the covers. A bit of calm, a bit of stillness. Yes, I love naps...which is why I never understood why my kiddo wasn't a great napper. She would only sleep for maybe 45 minutes a pop. Even when she switched to only one nap as a wee one, she still did not take a good, long nap.
But that was just her. She was a good sleeper at night. She wasn't tired or cranky. That was just the type of napper she was -- which went against all of the books I read about napping habits. That is the thing about sleep issues, though, right? You need to figure out what is best and right for your child, no matter what the books and those other moms say. However, there are some overall good ideas and hints to help you get a handle on this whole other sleep issue called napping.
-- Do a similar, but shorten bedtime routine before the nap. You don't need to get on pjs or brush teeth, but reading a book and putting on the same soothing music CD can help your child wind down from playing and ease into naptime.
-- Kids usually move to one nap around 15 to 18 months, but it can be earlier than that. How to do the switch? Start to move the "morning nap" later. This may mean moving lunch a little earlier, so she has time to play a little after lunch and before the nap. And when your child hits about three years or so, look for signs she may want to totally stop napping -- though perhaps she still needs some "quiet time" for low-keep playing. When your preschooler stops napping, bedtime may be switched to be a little earlier in the evening.
-- Keep it consistent. It is the Mantra of the Mama: consistency with the time and the routine for sleep makes it work and makes your life that much better.
-- The length of the nap doesn't really matter, just how your child is after it. If your little one was like mine and only slept for maybe 45 minutes or so, it is okay...as long as she is rested and energetic. But if your kiddo wakes up and then, an hour later, is cranky and whiney, you may want to look at the routine, try soothing him back to sleep for longer or the time at which you are putting him down for the nap.
-- Put the kibosh on late afternoon naps. A very late nap can totally mess up your child's nighttime sleep.
What are your best nap hints?