How to settle your baby or child for a nap
Why should my baby nap?
There is now more evidence than ever to support the role naps play in babies and children’s learning and memory. And a good daytime sleeper is usually a better night sleeper. Naps also help to regulate your child’s mood, appetite and give you some well needed time to rest.
But they are not always easy or straight forward to achieve and many parents struggle to get their little ones off for a few hours of precious sleep time in the day.
So to help you get your child into good sleep habits we have put together our Millpond Guide to Naps.
How do I know when my baby is tired?
Having an understanding of when your baby is ready for a nap will mean they won’t be over tired when you put them down and will settle more easily. It is usually a combination sleep cues and timings that get the best napping results.
Some babies and children can be very subtle with their cues.
Here are some cues you might see in your baby to indicate they are ready for sleep. They may show just one of these or it could be a combination:
- Grizzling or crying
- Demands for constant attention
- Boredom with toys
- Fussiness with food.
How do I settle my baby for a nap?
Settle your baby for a nap in a similar way to bedtime. Have a 15 minute quiet time before you start:
- Tidy away toys and sit looking at a book or just having a cuddle.
- Give a feed in the living room.
- Then to settle for the nap go into the room where your little one is sleeping, close the curtains and use blackout blinds. Many children of this age are easily distracted; darkening the room will prevent this.
- Put on a clean nappy, pop your baby into their sleeping bag, have a little story or lullaby and a cuddle.
- Then settle your little one to sleep as at bedtime.
- You could try for about 20 minutes to settle your baby in the cot for the nap, but if after this time your little one is still awake go out for a walk instead.
- We suggest having one nap a day in the cot, but some naps can be out and about.