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Better Naptime
Avoid catnaps. They're trouble-makers. A 5-10 minute snooze can upset a child's rhythm for the rest of the day and into the night. Be especially wary of car rides, swings, or feedings—all catnap inducers. (But, if you can get your child to fall asleep in his own bed, the catnap may lengthen into a normal nap.) Establish a consistent naptime, whether your child goes to sleep or not. Don't worry if it just becomes a quiet playtime in her bed. Insist that she at least settle down and "rest her bones." The routine of naptime and the consistency of it in her daily life will help encourage her to sleep. Don't cut back on naptime even if the child isn't sleeping well at night. Many parents think if the child sleeps less during the day, he'll sleep better at night. Exactly the opposite tends to be true; a child who is overtired from the day has more disrupted sleep at night. If naptime becomes a battle or a full-blown power struggle, step back. You can't make your child go to sleep—and if you try, you will lose. Tell her she does not have to go to sleep, but she does have to have a quiet time where she rests her body. Let her choose where she will rest—her bed, a darkened family room, the recliner, etc. She can also choose which stuffed animal or "quiet toy" she can have with her. The more choice you give her in the situation, the sooner the struggle will resolve itself. This material has been adapted from The Sleep Book for Tired Parents. Reprinted with permission from Parenting Press News for Parents, copyright © 2004.
See also: babies, nap, sleep
Written by Vero
Posted on 11/03/2006
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