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"Which Nap Time Rules Should I be following?"

I'm sharing some essential things to consider for stress-free naps.

Nap time, that cherished interlude of calm in the midst of a bustling day, can sometimes be a bit of a puzzle to 'get right'. Google is a black hole of information and misinformation when it comes to naps, and sleep in general. So as we navigate the world of naps, it's essential to remember that there are no one-size-fits-all rules. Instead, it's about tuning into the unique needs and cues of your child while also maintaining your sanity. In this guide, I’ll delve into some nap time *rules* to help make those daytime snoozes less stressful and more restful for all involved.

*I say rules but really, there are no rules - more like considerations and recommendations from me, a holistic sleep coach, to you, a parent who's stressing about naps.

baby sleeping

One: Be Curious About Sleepy Cues

Pay close attention to your child's sleepy cues. These signs may be subtle, so be prepared to experiment with timing to find what works best for them. Ans be curious about what they're communicating - some tires cues may actually be signs of needing a change of scenery so do some trial and error with your responses. When you notice the early signs of tiredness, it's the perfect moment to offer nap time.

Two: Short Naps Are Not Always Bad

Don't fret over short naps. If your little one wakes after just 20 or 30 minutes and appears content and well-rested, that's all they needed. Every child's sleep needs are different, so let them guide the duration of their nap.(Including when it's 28 minutes on the dot!)

Three: Don't Push Beyond 20 Minutes

If you've been trying unsuccessfully to get your child to nap for more than 20 minutes, it's time to pause and regroup. Step away, engage in a different activity, or enjoy a calming cup of tea. After a brief break, you can attempt nap time again.

Four: No Need for Pitch Darkness

Contrary to popular belief, pitch-black darkness isn't always necessary for naps. While some children may find a dimly lit room less stimulating, others might prefer a bit of natural light filtering through. Experiment to discover your child's comfort zone.

Five: Daylight Naps for Newborns

For newborns, daytime naps in natural light are recommended. This helps establish their circadian rhythm and teaches them the distinction between day and night. Embrace the sunshine for those daytime snoozes.

Six: Ditch the '2-Hour Lunchtime Nap' Myth

The notion of a two-hour lunchtime nap is not a universal reality. Many children do not conform to this pattern until they transition to just one nap a day, and some may never do so. Don't stress if your little one's napping schedule doesn't fit this mold.

Seven: Sleep Needs Are Unique

Each child has distinct sleep needs. Avoid the trap of comparing your little one's napping habits with others. What's most important is that your little one gets the rest they require, even if it doesn't align with "the norm" - normal is a spectrum that is so vast. Getting to know your little ones sleep needs will help you hone in on how much they need when it comes to sleep.

Eight: Embrace Predictability

Predictable naps may not happen for some children until they reach their first year, and that's perfectly normal. If you're seeking a bit more regularity, try establishing a consistent wake-up time. This can help create a framework for your little one's daily rhythm.

So to conclude,

Nap time truly doesn't have to be a source of stress for you or your little one. By tuning into their unique cues, respecting their individual sleep needs, and staying flexible, you can create a nap time routine that brings peace and rest to both of you. Remember, the goal is not perfection (what even is that anyway?) but comfort and well-being. So, embrace the journey of nap time, and cherish those moments of slumber, no matter how brief or irregular they may be.


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