Be Your Baby's Sleep Coach
Nap training can be hard for babies and toddlers (not to mention parents), but it's essential! Nighttime problems are usually solved reasonably quickly; most families begin to see progress in just a few nights. However, fixing daytime sleep can sometimes require a little more patience and perseverance. So get ready to work to get your baby or toddler to be a great napper!
Before you begin nap coaching, you need to know how many naps your kid needs based on his age and make sure you're aware of your kid's "window of wakefulness," i.e., how long he can stay up without having a meltdown. Here are some tips on how to be a great nap coach:
- The best time to start nap coaching is the morning after the first night of baby's sleep coaching, i.e., the day after night one of the Sleep Lady Shuffle.
- Do an abbreviated version of the bedtime routine. Read a few books, give some kisses and cuddles, and light's out! The whole nap routine should only last 10 minutes or so.
- Put your baby or toddler down "drowsy but awake." Sit beside the crib and soothe her just as you would during the night.
- Try for one hour to get him to sleep.
- If your child doesn't go to sleep after an hour, or dozes only briefly, implement a backup baby or toddler nap plan to make sure he sleeps one way or another. A backup nap can be in the car, stroller, swing or carrier, but try to make it different from a habit you've been trying to break. For instance, if you've been working on ending co-sleeping at night, don't put him in your bed for his backup nap. Try a car ride or walk in the stroller instead. Ideally, the backup nap will last at least 45 minutes.
- Keep in mind that all naps should be finished by 4:30 PM so that your kid is ready to sleep at her regular bedtime.
- Also, no naps before 8 AM—even if your child has been up since 5 AM! It will throw off the entire day and ingrain the habit of getting up too early. I realize this is a tricky dance and your child may get overtired, but it's worth it in the long run.
Is your child a good or bad napper? How many naps does he usually take per day? How do you typically get him down for naps? How long do they last? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
More sleep advice articles:
- Commit to Getting Your Kid to Sleep
- Educate Yourself About Your Child's Sleep
- Start a Sleep Log
- The Importance of Consistency When Sleep Coaching
- Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
- Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
- The Importance of Putting Your Kid to Sleep "Drowsy but Awake"
- The Sleep Lady Shuffle: What It Is and How to Do It
- Do Step 1 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 2 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 3 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Check Off Your Sleep Coaching Checklist
- Create a Solid Sleep Plan
- Nightmares and Night Terrors (and How to Tell the Difference)
- Potty Training and Sleep
- End Early Rising
- The Sleep Lady on Transitioning Your Kid From a Crib to a Big-Kid Bed
- Ending Bedtime Stalling