Sleep training for naps does not have to be complicated, but you need to consider the routine and best practices for helping your child to get better sleep and experience better growth and development. These are only tips. Not every child will do well with each tip. Consider your child and his or her needs and adjust nap time accordingly. Safety is always your first concern.
Don’t Let Your Baby Get Exhausted
Sleepy babies need to sleep. Babies who are exhausted often have trouble falling asleep. This concept seems counterintuitive, but many adults have felt extremely tired but have been unable to fall asleep at one time or another.
Do Watch for Signs of Sleepiness
Babies will let you know when they have had enough. Sleepy babies will often slow down their play, rub their eyes, or yawn. Watch for tale-tell signs of sleepiness in your child. When they start to feel sleepy, you should begin naptime routines as soon as possible.
Don’t Let Your Baby Sleep in the Car Seat
Infants spend many hours in their carriers sometimes. Parents can be tempted to let a sleeping baby lie. However, sleeping in the car seat should be limited to short stints. A nap here or there while in the car seat is okay, but they should be rare.
Do Put Your Baby in His or Her Bed
Sleeping in their regular crib or bed can be beneficial for parents and babies. It solidifies the routine for sleep as much as it helps parents to have a smooth transition. Babies and children crave routine, and the simple act of putting them to sleep in the bed can help that routine.
Do Not Begin the Routine Right After a Meal
Yes, babies will often be ready for sleep right after lunch or dinner, but give them a few minutes before putting them to rest. Read a book or do a quiet activity to prepare for naptime.
Do Ensure Your Baby Isn’t Hungry
It is a good idea to feed your baby shortly before a nap because a hungry baby cannot sleep well. Food, sleep, and activity are all critical to brain development. Ensuring that your baby’s belly isn’t empty will help them in their development as much as the nap will.
Don’t Interrupt Rest Time
Babies will wiggle and make noises in their sleep. During a nap session, they may wake briefly, especially in the beginning. If you rush in as soon as your baby makes a noise, you may interrupt the baby’s sleep pattern. Let them self-soothe back to sleep if they do wake up.
Do Comfort Your Child If Necessary
If your child is crying incessantly and there seems to be something wrong, feel free to comfort him or her. Making your child feel secure is also essential to brain development.
Do not worry too much about the exact things you do or don’t do at nap time. Children respond to different routines differently. Make their routine predictable and comfortable. Keep your child’s development in mind when planning the routines and nap training. You will do a great job.