A good nap routine = happy parents + happy kids

When I was a new mother a friend told me, “take a nap whenever the baby is asleep.” That was one of the best pieces of advice I received. Before being a mom, I hadn’t appreciated the value of a nap. Daily naps are essential for young children to have good days and nights.

little girl sleeping with stuffed animalMany people underestimate the value of sleep. Lack of sleep can negatively affect all areas of life – development, learning and behavior. Naps will help your child’s emotional regulation (fewer tantrums) and will help them sleep better at night. You and your child will have a better and happier day if you both get enough sleep.

Nap routines

It is important to have a good nap routine. A naptime routine gives your child predictability, security and comfort. An ideal naptime routine includes dimming the lights, a story, and playing soft music or having white noise. Your child may want a special blanket or stuffed animal for additional comfort. Experts agree that it’s important to have a designated place for sleep versus napping in a stroller or carseat. Set the stage for naptime with a “no screens before bed” policy – experts recommend stopping screen time at least 30 minutes before sleep.

As your child becomes a toddler or a preschooler, it is often challenging to stick to a naptime schedule. Many children at this age do not want to “miss something.” Remember, it is common for young children to give up their daytime nap sometime after 3 years of age. If your child has outgrown naps, make a quiet time a priority. Quiet time is looking at books or playing quietly (puzzles perhaps). This rest time is beneficial.

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As the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator, Sherry is focused on engaging young children and their families in play-based early learning experiences. The Learn & Play Bus and its service are at the heart of her work. Sherry has a background in early childhood education.