Sleeping Arrangements to Maximize Family Sleep

I must begin by telling you I have not really slept for 6 years. If your kids sleep through the night, you might think this entire post is insane.

When I was pregnant with my first and we visited some friends with 3 kids, the eldest of whom was then 8, the mom in . . . → Read More: Sleeping Arrangements to Maximize Family Sleep

Coping with Colic: Tips for Mom

I spent my first months of motherhood pacing barefoot around my neighborhood, bleary with exhaustion. Does he have colic, people used to ask when my first son was born. It seemed like such an understatement. My baby cried all the time. Around the clock. Every minute of every day.

Who the heck knows what was . . . → Read More: Coping with Colic: Tips for Mom

Sleep Like an Actual Baby

For years, I’ve thought the phrase “sleep like a baby” was some sort of mean euphemism. My two older boys still don’t sleep very well at 5 and 2 years old. The oldest one basically sleeps through the night now (unless he has a potty accident), but for about two years, he slept 90 . . . → Read More: Sleep Like an Actual Baby

Sound Sleepers

When I was in junior high school, I went to a week-long camp with people from my church. I remember our pastor told us he never wakes up in the night once he’s gone to sleep. He said, “I just turn all my concerns over to God and I sleep straight through until morning.”

. . . → Read More: Sound Sleepers

Tired Days

Last night, my baby was up every hour, on the hour. He became inconsolable (wouldn’t even nurse!) at 3:30 and pretty much cried until he woke up his older brother. So then I had 2 kids awake for the day and I was operating on a few wee naps.

I will tell you right . . . → Read More: Tired Days

Why Short Cat-Naps Are Not Good Enough

If your child’s naps are shorter than an hour and a half in length, you may have wondered if these brief naps provide enough rest for your little one. You might suspect that these catnaps aren’t meeting your child’s sleep needs – and you would be right. The science of sleep explains why a . . . → Read More: Why Short Cat-Naps Are Not Good Enough

When Your Child Needs A Nap But Won’t Take One

Daytime naps might last just a few short hours, but they can affect all twenty-four hours of a child’s day. Naps can improve a child’s mood and reduce fussiness, crying, whining, and tantrums. Studies show that children who nap daily get sick less often, grow taller, and are less likely to be obese when they grow up. Naps enhance attention span and brain development. Naps can also help make up for any shortage in nighttime sleep. Even a one hour shortage in overall sleep hours can have a negative effect on a child – compromising alertness and brain function, and increasing fussiness and fatigue.

There are many ideas for helping a child to take a nap, but the best idea in the world may not work for you if the solution doesn’t address the reason that your child won’t nap. There is not just one reason that babies and young children refuse to nap – there are hundreds of different reasons. Before you decide on a solution you need to understand your child’s motivation. Once you figure out the cause of your child’s “nonnappingness” you can put together a plan to overcome her resistance. Here are a few typical reasons kids won’t nap – and suggestions to solve each problem:

Problem: Has outgrown the current nap schedule

Solutions: Think about any changes in your child’s life, growth or development. Has he learned to crawl, begun to eat solid food or started daycare? Any change can also affect sleep patterns. Watch your child for signs of tiredness between naps and adjust your schedule to meet his new needs.

Problem: Nap schedule doesn’t match your child’s biological clock

Solutions: Naptime, bedtime, mealtime, exposure to light and darkness, and activity all can affect your child’s biological clock. Look at your child’s schedule to be sure these things occur at reasonable times every day. The improper order of things (such as active, brightly lit playtime just before bed) can affect your child’s rhythm.

Problem: Nap schedule isn’t consistent from day to day

Solutions: If on weekdays nap times, bedtime and wakeup time are specific, but on weekends they’re hit and miss, then your child will be functioning with a constant bout of jetlag. Other inconsistencies can also affect this, such as when your child naps at a certain time at daycare, but a different time at home, or if he takes a nice long nap on days when you are at home but takes a short one in the car (or skips a nap entirely) when you are on the go. Set up a possible nap schedule for your child and do your best to stay within a half hour of the nap times that you have set up.

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