by Mike Juvrud
Babies often don’t adhere to the schedule their parents set out for them for sleep. Especially when it comes to napping. Since babies are incapable of communicating to their parents when they are tired, it’s a good idea to keep to a regular schedule before they become over tired and cranky. This prevents a possible temper tantrum and the resulting power struggle between parent and child.
One reliable method for getting your baby on a regular schedule for napping is to make a nap time routine that is similar to your night time bed routine. For example, if at night you make a practice of reading a story to your child, then read a story before the nap, albeit a shorter one than you would read at night. If you are in the habit of singing a lullaby or playing soft, soothing music, then do so before the nap, (again, make it a bit shorter in duration than you would at night). Although these practices aren’t an exact duplicate of the night time bed time routine,they are similar, and the child will gradually understand that it’s time for sleep.
Another issue with naps, is that the child may stay asleep for only a short time, maybe only fifteen to twenty minutes. If babies cry out for their parent, it probably means that they haven’t learned how to soothe themselves yet. A good idea is to call out to the child, tell them that they are okay and that you are close by. This method gives babies a feeling of safety and assists them in learning how to comfort themselves. It also helps them to understand that nap time isn’t over yet. Very often, when babies learn to self – soothe in this way, they will fall back asleep, and gradually the duration of their naps increases.
Mothers lead very busy lives these days, and sometimes while attending to the many chores that need to be done, running errands, and maybe carting their other children around, the baby will fall asleep in the car or stroller. A simple fifteen minute nap can wreak havoc with the baby’s schedule. If feasible, let your baby sleep as long as possible. If that’s not an option, try carrying the baby quietly to bed upon arriving home. A good way to avoid this is, of course, to do your best to plan errands around the baby’s schedule. If you have to be away from home, give them toys to play with in the car, sing songs while riding around and make the car noisy and stimulating for the purpose of keeping the baby awake until the scheduled nap time.
It’s a daunting undertaking to be a parent and each day presents new challenges. Optimally, naps are structured into your’s and your baby’s day. It has been proven that keeping your baby on a sleep schedule reaps many benefits, including good health, a stronger immune system, a happier baby and more well rested parents. If you keep to a schedule, nap time can be a win win for baby and parents because everyone benefits.
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