Just in case you didn’t know, I have 3 boys. They have all napped consistently for 2 hours daily, until they started going to school full time. The truth be told, they even continued to nap on weekends well into the school years. There are a few things we did to make this happen. Here are a few that should help your child nap consistently. Let’s be honest, we all need a little bit of a mid-day break and refresher. Everyone seems to be a little happier after nap time.
Stick with a time.
My boys all had the same nap time every day, consistently for years. Of course, there were times we went on vacation, or had other plans; and it was moved back or moved around in some way. However, 99% of the time, the boys were used to the same nap-time every day.
For us, the best time frame was an hour or two after lunch. There is something about full bellies, and wearing yourself out that makes everyone tired in the afternoon. My boys always napped around 1 or 2 pm. With this time, I can also make sure there is enough time between nap time and bed time. You don’t want to sabotage your child going to bed peacefully. Give them enough time to wear themselves out again.
The most important part of sticking with the same time is their bodies naturally become like a clock. Every day their bodies will start to get tired at the exact time due to the consistency of their routine. Consistency is your friend in this process.
Don’t give up so easily.
I have found that many moms’ say their kids just won’t nap anymore. When I asked further questions, it seems the children didn’t want to nap one day, and their parents didn’t make them. Therefore they lost nap time.
This again, is connected to consistency. All my boys had days they didn’t want to nap and would protest or even say they weren’t tired. I would kindly remind them…this was not an optional time, and they needed to lay down. This would only last a few days, at most. They quickly realized…every day we are going to do the same thing, and nothing is going to change.
I would remind them that this is nap or quiet time. This means no playing, but they are welcome to lay in their beds quietly. Guess what?! Boredom eventually leads to sleep, no matter how hard they fight it. Not being able to play with anything, and just laying down almost always puts kids to sleep.
My kids would have certain days where they did not want to sleep. I would tell them to just close their eyes for a few minutes…yes, that leads to sleep. Other days, they would say they weren’t tired and they were not going to sleep. I would simply say “That’s fine, you can just lay here for quiet time.” This also leads to sleep.
Don’t spend time debating with your child, just agree and say enjoy your little bit of quiet time, and consistently leave the room, at the same time. Some days may include tears. They will pass quickly as your child realizes it is just part of the daily schedule.
My boys have always known nap time as a non-negotiable in our house. We were not budging on that time. It is great for us as parents to get some time to take a break from “parenting”, and have some time to re-group. Also, there are numerous studies about children and the brain development that occurs when they rest and nap. So…don’t give up! Be consistent mama. Naps through school age years are good for you and your kiddos. Give them the rest they need.
For more articles on parenting, check out “10 Tips to Raise Respectful Kids.”