Why are naps so important, anyways?
As parents, we have all heard that naps are incredibly important. But why? Wouldn’t life be easier if our children could simply go with the flow?
Simple answer: sleep is incredibly important for growing bodies. Every minute of every day, your child’s body and brain is growing, changing, and maturing EVEN when they are sleeping. Higher levels of human growth hormone (HGH) are produced during longer stretches of sleep. What are your children doing the most of as babies, toddlers, and small children? GROWING, both physically and mentally!!!
How do I know when my child needs a nap?
Every child is different, but I have compiled a list of signs your child may be hitting their “overtired zone”:
Showing signs of fussiness
pulling at their ears
Seven mile stare
Glassy look to their eyes
short attention span with toys
exhibits attention seeking behaviours (and usually not the positive kind)
Arching their body backwards
It is just not possible to get the amount of sleep a child needs in one long stretch which is why naps are vitally important until between the ages of 3.5 and 5. So now that we know why naps are important and the really fun list of things we would like to avoid:
When do I start napping my baby?
Lucky for you, the first morning nap usually starts to develop on its own when your baby is about 12 weeks old. You will see those short, newborn naps consolidate into a few longer ones with a more predictable schedule. You can encourage this development with a consistent routine. Before the age of 6 months, it is very normal for babies to nap 4 or more times per day. Before the age of 12 months, most babies move to 2 or 3 naps a day.
When should my child be napping once a day?
The average age that most babies can happily transition to one nap per day is between 15 and 18 months of age.
When should my child drop their naps entirely?
The average age that most children are ready to party all day long is 4. Some children are ready to transition by three and a half and some children need consistent naps until the age of 5. You know your child best. Watch your child’s moods and behaviours.
Are they happy for the entire day or do they have a cranky time?
Are they still sleeping well at night?
If naps have been dropped too early, this can lead to night wakings and sleep terrors, no fun at all.
Some pre-school aged children may still need occasional naps, although not every day. Experiment to see what works best for your little one.
If your child truly is ready to stay awake all day, quiet time is essential to give their busy brains some much-needed downtime. 45 minutes per day of quiet, solitary play can allow them to recharge their batteries.
What questions do you have about naps? How many naps does your child have per day?
Need help? Sleep is just a phone call away!