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Five kids and many years of trying all the things has given me lots of insight on getting your toddlers to nap. Sometimes that nap struggle is so overwhelming and has left me feeling really confused as what to do. Why is it so hard to get a child to willingly take a nap?
I can say that all of my babies were very different but there are a few common trends that I was able to see with each of them and when I focused on these things it really helped nap time go more smoothly.
At this time, only Mercy and Vivi are napping and sometimes its during the same time and sometimes its not. Here are a few ways that I’ve been able to get them to nap without a big fight.
This is what works for our family and it might not for yours, please share and tips that you might have in the comments at the bottom of this post.
- Have a set amount of time they sleep. I keep naps around an hour but always under two hours. To long of a nap can leave them feeling cranky and not wanting to go to bed at bedtime.
- Give them food first. Everyone always sleeps better with a full belly. My favorite nap time trick is to give them a banana before napping. Bananas have potassium and magnesium which are natural muscle relaxers. Bananas also have serotonin and melatonin which relax the brain, super helpful at nap time.
- Have a nap time routine. I am not for a ridged schedule but keeping loose times around waking tip, naps, and bedtimes help our children so much. Their bodies just like ours will form that internal clock and help them get into an innate rhythm.
- Read their cues. Just like we do, children give cues when they yawn, rub their eyes and stare off into space. They are signaling that they are sleepy and if you focus on getting them to nap before they melt down, it’s magic!
- Remove the nap from nap time. Calling it quiet time instead of nap time helps toddlers venture into their independence and not fight a nap. They have the ability to be quiet with toys and books in their own space.
- Wind down before. Do something relaxing (not having a WWE wrestling match) like reading a book together or singing a song.
- Get the room ready. Nap time needs to have a set environment, lights off, curtains closed, sound machine on and laying in their Nap Mat from Lovevery always works for our kids.
- Let them have a lovie. It could be a stuffed animal, blanket, doll, whatever… something that they pick out will help them feel more comforted.
- Lay down with them. I can get any of the kids to sleep by laying near them and quieting down as well.
- Give them a back rub. The rubbing helps calm them and can make all the difference in getting them to sleep.
What do you think of these nap time tips? Share in the comments.