- Be your toddler’s alarm clock!
Your toddler needs to have a regular wake-up time. For good napping habits, wake them between 6-7.30am.
- Breakfast time.
After wake-up, have breakfast and drinks within the hour.
- Awake too early?
It can be difficult to get your toddler to wait till noon for a nap if they are waking up too early. If this happens, slowly move the time of the nap day-by-day until it’s closer to 12.30 or 1pm.
- Prepare them.
Make sure your toddler has enough to eat and drink before the nap. Make sure they have been good and active that morning, such as playing outdoors.
- Get the room right.
It’s a good idea to pick a place for your child to sleep both at naptime as well as at night. If this isn’t possible, then the best place for their nap is in a dark room or area. Don’t have any noise or distractions.
- Get good habits.
Just as you do at night, set up a naptime routine.
Routines tell your busy toddler what is about to happen, and help them wind down!
Do this in the room where they will be sleeping. How about a shorter (maybe 10-15 minute) version of their usual bedtime routine? A familiar song, a story, and plenty of cuddles and hugs all help your toddler get ready to rest.
- Give it an hour.
If they refuse to nod off, spend an hour trying help them get to sleep. It can often take that long for a toddler to learn what’s going on. If after an hour they’re still awake, try and get them to sleep in the buggy or car. And remember – tomorrow is another day, you can try again!
- Too little sleep?
If your toddler wakes within 30-45 minutes, they haven’t had enough sleep. Try to help them get back to sleep for another 20-30 minutes. If this doesn’t work, have a backup plan, like a short sleep in the buggy or car so that you can be sure they’ve had enough rest. Make sure they are awake by 3.30pm.
- Chill out.
As your toddler gets older and doesn’t need a nap, make sure they have some quiet time. Keep this to their usual naptime. Have a ‘chill out space’ at home. Avoid screens, instead try audio books or split the time up: half an hour looking at books, and half an hour resting.
- Some is better than none!
As far as naps go, even a short rest is better than none. So even if you can’t get your toddler to sleep, do your best to keep up naptime as long as they need it. Being rested can make the difference between a cranky, frequent night waker to a calm, well-rested toddler. And, as any parent of a toddler can tell you, that’s well worth the effort!