I am often asked if a baby needs to have a “nap time routine” and should it be exactly the same as a bedtime routine, aside of a bath of course! And the answer is...
But why and what does that nap time routine look like? Let’s take a look and how it may differ from babies to toddlers!
Having a nap time routine is a great cue for your baby to know that sleep is coming, you may even see your baby rub their eyes when you pop on that swaddle or sleep sack, older children start to point to their bed because they know it’s coming and they are getting into that sleep zone! They are winding down from the busy morning they had and that nap time routine will all contribute to helping wind down!
Below are 2 nap routines you may like to adopt. One for babies and one for toddlers.
Let’s start with the baby nap time routine. Suitable from ages 6-17 months approximately.
As you can see it is not a long routine. Just 5 minutes, that is all that is needed. Remember to keep the lights low and remove any tight clothing your baby has on. You may even like to put their pyjamas back on because who does actually like sleeping with all their clothes on? You don’t want your baby to over heat either. It is way more comfortable to have soft cotton pyjamas on.
Now remember that swaddle or sleep sack. (If you baby is showing signs of rolling over make sure you transition to a sleep sack right away) Once baby is all cosy in swaddle or sleep sack read a little story or sign a little song! Fill up their love tank with cuddles and kisses, lay them gentle into their bed somewhat awake, switch off the light, say goodnight and go put your feet up!
Now the Toddler…
How is this different? Well for a start they may be out of nappies so you will want to have a bathroom stop first before they climb into bed! And they need a little longer to help get into that zone, more like 10 minutes! Perhaps they need a little guidance with a nap time routine chart?
(Have you downloaded my Slumber time routine cards from my website yet? They are just the thing that will help your toddler prepare for nap time! Grab them HERE! )
Again, remove any tight fitting clothes, you don’t want them overheating and they may enjoy popping on their pyjamas and snuggling up with teddy!
Story time, are they asking for 1000 stories? Why not get an old amazon box and fill it with 6-8 of their favourite books. This is the nap time story box, less books than the bookshelf therefore less choice and easier to choose from! Your toddler may even like to decorate the box with markers or stickers as a rainy day activity one day!
Sometimes it is easier to have stories when they are in their bed, especially if your toddler is in an open bed now. Then they have that 5 minutes or so to get cosy and comfy while the story is read.
If your child is happy to fall asleep independently then this will be quick and easy. If your baby needs a little extra help that cup of tea may have to wait a little longer while you help them off to sleep.
And your toddler, you may need to wake him up, or you may need an “alarm clock” like The Hatch so he knows when it is time to get up and play!
So there is your little nap time routines for you. Simple, easy and not so long after all.
I love hearing from you so do let me know how you are getting on or if you have any questions by dropping me a quick email HERE!
Peaceful napping to you all,
Your Paediatric Sleep Consultant
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