Written by Emma Gawne, Infant Sleep Consultant
Is your child struggling to nap while you are all at home and you can no longer leave the house during the lockdown?
It can be frustrating at the best of times when your child drops their naps or takes short naps but when you are all at home living one on top of the other it can make the situation seem like torture.
It is hard to predict the ideal nap timing and frequency because each child has a different version of normal. Plus, during a lockdown naps are likely to be interrupted or restricted due to older siblings or parents who are normally at work currently now being at home.
If you are struggling with your child’s naps here are my top tips.
- Check your child’s naps fit into the range for their age. If you find that they are napping below or above the suggested amounts for their age you name need to take small steps to adjust the schedule. For age appropriate sleep recommendations the NSF is a good starting place
Remember the prime sleep driver that controls naps is homeostatic sleep pressure and the older your baby gets the slower it accumulates. This is why younger babies have multiple naps and children and tired adults only one.
- Replicate your bedtime routine as much as possible. It is much harder for a child to fall asleep at naptime as there is less biological imperative to sleep so it is important to give them time to transition with a slimmed down version of their bedtime routine.
Don’t forget their sleep environment too the room doesn’t need to be as dark as at nighttime, but blackout shades are still useful to prevent them from being distracted by toys or objects in their room.
- If you normally have a motion nap just because you are at home and cannot go out this does not necessarily have to stop. You could wheel the pram on the spot while they fall asleep and stop once they have or if they need the continual motion you could always think about using a rockit pram rocker.
- Don’t panic if your child suddenly starts resisting naps – it can sometimes be triggered by developmental changes like learning to walk potty train or teething or changes to their daily routine.
My suggestion would be to continue and put your child down at the normal nap time for 30 minutes for three to four days. If this does not work, then watch your child for sleep cues such as rubbing their eyes. slowing down losing interest in toys while playing, avoiding your gaze or showing signs of drowsiness.