6 Tips to Keep a Nap Time Routine

Remember the days when your newborn took multiple naps a day? Yes, those were the good ol’ days.

Slowly but surely the naps dwindle and your child requires less sleep. But are they may not be ready to fully give up that nap time routine.

Between 12–18 months, your child is taking one nap a day. By age 5, only thirty percent of children are still napping. Depending on how strong willed your child is, naps cease at different ages.

Sometimes parents confuse toddlers who resist naps as a sign that it is time to end the nap. But even a few days of a child protesting a nap doesn’t mean naps should end altogether.  Pediatrician Greg Yapalater adds, “If nap protesting goes on for a couple of weeks, then it may be time to give it up."

Why a Nap Time Routine Is Valuable

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A nap time routine is important, not only for the newborn stage but into the toddler years. If you’re tempted to skip your child’s nap in hopes for an earlier bedtime, consider other options first.

A child psychologist, Michaeleen Cradock, says "If you keep them up to make them more tired, they will be too restless and unsettled to use the normal self-soothing routines that put them to sleep at night." The goal is for your child to get quality sleep, and not become overtired.

Recent studies show that naps make children smarter by enhancing their ability to learn and retain information, which is why we wanted to share our top 6 tips to keep a functioning nap time routine:

  1. Keep naps to 90 minutes. Children often wake up cranky if they nap longer than one hour and 45 minutes.
  2. Be flexible. A short later nap is a better option than no nap.
  3. Use the same routine for naps as you use for bedtime.
  4. If your child attends daycare, try to stick with the same routine that occurs there.
  5. Know the signs of when your child is tired.
  6. If your child completely refuses a nap that day, offer quiet time. Dim the lights, let them have books or puzzles. The independent and quiet time will still be beneficial to your child.
If you’ve tried the following 6 options for keeping a nap time routine, and your toddler is still resisting, then it’s probably time for your child to stop napping.
*Feature Image photo credit: Rachael Burgess
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