Why is it that those of us who need naps on a regular basis don’t want to take them? And that those of us who don’t always need to take a nap would love to take one?
Well, it’s because life isn’t always fair, but that’s a discussion for another day. Because naps are an amazing part of life that have huge health benefits. Furthermore, they’re something that we deal with every day in parenting – especially with sleep training.
So let’s get all of my best nap tricks, tips, resources, and advice all in one spot – that way, when you have a nap question, you know where to look: right here.
All about naps
Naps are amazing. There are some huge benefits of naps to our health, mental capabilities, and our growth.
Now, with your first child, nap time can start as a daunting task. But don’t let it be! It’s supposed to be an enjoyable experience for both of you.
Want some naptime songs to make it a better experience? Here are some of our favorites.
Dealing with a kiddo who’s outgrowing a nap? Welcome to nap transitions. Here is Everything You Need to Know About a Nap Transition!
What you need to know about naps and newborns
Naps and newborns are like two peas in a pod. After all, they’re going to catnap all day, whether you want them to or not! (And now I feel like maybe I should answer animal nap questions, but yeah – my dog naps when he wants, so…. *shrug*)
In any case, those naps are there for a couple of reasons. The main one is that growing is hard. And babies do a ton of growing! So they’re going to need lots more sleep. And a great way to get that sleep is by napping.
Furthermore, your newborn baby hasn’t adjusted to being outside of your womb yet – and back before birth, your baby napped whenever and wherever. Especially when you got up and moved, because you essentially were rocking them to sleep!
So let your baby enjoy those naps. You may even want to nap with baby – if you can.
Many newborns (all four of mine, for sure!) prefer to be held, rocked, or snuggled while napping. So make use of swaddles, baby carriers (used safely!), and whatever else you need to at this time. You’re not going to spoil them, I promise.
And if their catnaps are out of control to the point that your baby’s not napping well enough (or at all)? Well, here are some things you can do to change that – How to Manage Your Child’s Cat Nap Schedule Like a Pro.
That being said, you can start practicing good sleep training methods even as they’re a newborn. You probably won’t see results right away – but starting out now with gentler methods could make sleep training a ton easier later.Kimberly C. Starr
How to help your baby get the right quality and quantity of naps
As your baby grows, they’ll settle into a more regular routine. That being said, sometimes it’s nice to know how many naps they should be taking. Because perhaps your baby doesn’t fit the sleep averages – or is right between ages. Well, that’s why I wrote this article about know how many naps your baby should be taking.
As your baby hits about 6-months of age, they should have transitioned from catnaps galore to a regular three nap schedule day. And, sometime soon, they’re going to drop one of those naps in a nap transition.
Then, you’ll be in a two nap schedule. And your day will open up a ton.
That being said, let’s make sure you’ve got some resources to help you manage all of that with ease.
For example, you may still wonder where all of the best places to nap for your child are. There are your answers!
Or you may wonder if your baby is experiencing a nap regression – and there is what you can do about it.
Is your baby not napping? Here are some actionable tips to change that already.
What you need to know about naps and toddlers
As your toddler grows and is sleeping through the night, you’ll be down to the one nap schedule – and it should be a couple of glorious hours long.
However, that nap may not last as long as you would have hoped. It may last into preschool, or it could disappear as early as 15-18 months like my boys’ naps did.
And if they do lose that nap, here are some things you can do when your toddler’s not napping (link coming soon).
In any case, more resources on this coming soon!
What you need to know about naps and your preschool or school-aged kids
Some kids continue to nap up until age 5 or beyond. This can depend on several factors, the main ones being what time they go to bed and cultural considerations.
Because, really. At about 2 pm every day I crave a taco – and a siesta. But unfortunately, my culture and area don’t build our days to include a siesta. So we don’t take naps in the middle of the day. Sad, huh? Oh well. At least I still get my tacos on occasion.
In any case, kids who go to bed later may still need a daily nap – and it can widely vary in length.
What to do when your preschooler’s not napping (coming soon).
However, if your kids are sleeping 10-12 hours at night, they may not need to take a nap unless they’re sick.
Guess what? Us adults need naps sometimes, too.
Remember that siesta idea? Some adults take naps on a regular basis. And some adults regularly use power naps to quickly recharge and refresh their bodies and brains.
It can be especially common right before a big meeting or on a stressful day. It can also be common if you’re at home with sick kids – and you take a few minutes to take a power nap so you can make it through the rest of the day.
Here are some of the best places to nap as an adult (coming soon!).
The point is, sometimes us adults need naps, too. And that’s just fine. Because the benefits of naps can be amazing – and they’re worth looking at!
Nap FAQ’s – Answers to Commonly Asked Questions!
- Got a question for a pediatric nurse? Get all of my best health tips and resources right here.
- Parenting can be equal parts tough and amazing – but you don’t have to do it alone.
- Need help sleep training or dealing with a sleep regression? Gotcha covered.
- And if you’d like additional support dealing with sleep training, be sure to join my free Facebook sleep training support group!
Need help with naps? Be sure to join my 30-day Sleep Training Challenge – where we talk about naps!