Children of different ages require different amounts of sleep. Adequate sleep duration on a regular basis promotes better health outcomes like improved:
- Learning and memory
- Mental and physical health
- Quality of life
According to American Academy of Sleep Medicine, toddlers (1-2 years of age) need, on an average, around 11 to 14 hours of sleep per 24 hours including daytime naps.
Your child’s sleeping routine at night can be severely disrupted if they don’t get enough sleep during the day.
Why Napping Matters
Napping help kids learn: One study suggested that midday naps may aid toddlers’ learning. The ones who got the greatest benefits from the nap were those toddlers who took a nap in the early afternoon, compared to those who stayed awake throughout the day.
Why your child may be resisting afternoon naps
Some of the reasons why your toddler may not want to take a nap could be:
- They don’t want to be alone.
- They may think that they are missing out on any activity.
- They are too excited or restless.
- Naps are not a part of their daytime routine.
- They are hungry or thirsty or experiencing some other physical discomfort.
Putting your baby down for a nap
Following suggestions may help you ease your baby into nap time:
Time it right: Droopy eyelids, eye rubbing, crying, and fussiness may be signs that your baby is tired. The more overtired your baby becomes- the harder it's going to be for them to fall asleep.
Set the mood: A dark, quiet and cool environment can help encourage your baby to sleep. Make sure they are comfortable, fed and wearing a clean nappy.
Avoid holding, rocking or feeding your baby to sleep, though it may be the only way your baby is able to fall asleep.
Always think about safety: Place your baby to sleep on their back, and clear your baby’s sleep area of blankets and other soft items.
Be consistent and establish a routine: Try putting them down for a nap at the same time and for about the same duration every day. However, occasional exceptions won't harm your baby.
Avoid naps that are too late in the day and limit the length of the nap, as it can make it harder for them to fall asleep at bedtime.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Childhood Sleep Guidelines [Internet]. Available at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Ac.... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.
- Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel-Sleep - children and naps [Internet]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/sleep-children-.... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.
- National Health Services. Midday naps may boost toddlers’ memory skills [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/midday-naps-may-boost-toddle.... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.
- Mayo Clinic. Infant and toddler health- Baby naps: Daytime sleep tips [Internet]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/i.... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.
- Canadian Paediatric Society. Healthy sleep for your baby and child [Internet]. Available at: https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/healthy_sleep_for_your_baby_an.... Accessed on Feb 27, 2020.