One of the most common questions I get is…. (wait for it)…”how can I help my child nap longer?”. Sound familiar?? Short naps are very common and seem to cause a great deal of stress for parents.
The first thing I like to say as a response to this question is “Awesome your child had a nap!” For some babies, that is a huge challenge, celebrate it.
The next thing I like to focus on is how common short naps are. For the first 6 months of a child’s life, it can be very normal to have short naps. They will extend over time. Now, if they do not extend over time there are a number of things you can do; however, before we look at that let us look at why the short naps happen in the first place.
Short naps often happen because 30 to 45 minutes is really one sleep cycle for a baby. They complete one cycle of sleep and then they wake slightly (eyes will flicker and they make some noise). Your little one may then appear ready to wake up and you rush in.
How can you help extend your little one’s nap?
1. Wait a couple of minutes
Do not rush right in. When babies are having a little period of awakening, they might even cry for a few minutes and struggle a bit to see if they can get themselves into another cycle of sleep, and so you should give them that opportunity. When you rush in you do not give your child the chance to go into another cycle of sleep. Now, I am not saying you have to wait a long time you can simply give 2 to 5 minutes and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised!if she doesn’t go back to sleep within 10 or 15 minutes, then she probably isn’t going to. She’s already had a catnap, and for some babies, especially chronic cat nappers, they’ve taught their bodies to do really well on little sleep.
If you wait for a few minutes and then he is still not going back to sleep then he probably isn’t going to. It is not a big deal! Get him up and be happy with the nap.
2. Pay attention to how long your child is awake
You may be trying your child’s nap too early or too late. Either scenario will result in a short nap. This can start a whole new conversation about how long should my child be awake. Here is an article will help Wake Times.
3. Give it time!
This issue will often sort itself out over time. If your little one has good sleep habits then just give it time. Be patient and consistent then his naps will lengthen.
4. Remove Sleep Associations
A sleep association is when your child relies on a person, place, thing or action to fall asleep. Once you remove the sleep associations naps will improve.
If you would like additional help with your child’s nap I will be happy to help you out. Become a Parenting Foundations Member (PF Member for short) by clicking here. Membership will give you access to several articles that will help and it gives you additional access to Parenting Advisor/Sleep Consultant Brenda McSween. Already a member? Join me in the Private Facebook Page and let us chat about how to extend the nap! Not a Facebook fan then send me a private message.