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The Importance of Naps by Leslie Black (A Kiss Goodnight) The Importance of Naps by Leslie Black (A Kiss Goodnight)
Naps. Do you love them or hate them? We all love the break when our little ones nap, but sometimes getting them to nap... The Importance of Naps by Leslie Black (A Kiss Goodnight)

Naps. Do you love them or hate them?

We all love the break when our little ones nap, but sometimes getting them to nap is so much work it doesn’t seem worth it. However, your baby or toddler really do need those naps.  When naps are skipped, this leads to an overtired child, who then can’t fall asleep. Parents often tell me that their child “just doesn’t need to nap” or “they never seem tired”. In my experience, this is a sign of over-tiredness.

As adults, when we are tired, we usually start to slow down, we want to sit down and relax and we show sings of being tired such as yawning and stretching. Some babies or toddlers do this as well, but many go the opposite way. If it’s naptime and your toddler is hyper, silly or seems energized, this usually means that their “sleep window” has passed and they have moved into overtiredness.  Once this happens, it can be impossible to get a child to nap.

Many clients will even tell me that they put their child in the car or stroller and try for over an hour with no luck. This is why naps are so important. Without them, many children get to the point where they are so tired they can’t sleep. Not only can this lead to poor behavior, but it also makes nighttime sleep even harder. If you put your child to bed and they can’t fall asleep in about 10 minutes, they are likely overtired.  Here is a list of appropriate levels of awake time and how many naps per day your baby or toddler should have:

0-3 Months – approximately 4-5 naps a day, awake time of about 45 minutes

3-6 Months – 3 naps/day, awake time of 1-2 hours

6-14 months – 2 naps/day, awake time of  about 3 hours

15 months-3 years – 1 nap/day beginning around 12:30

The above information is a guideline and your little one may not fit exactly into these categories. However, if their nap schedule is way off from these guidelines, you may want to start adjusting the schedule.  The rule of thumb is that sleep begets sleep.

Skipping naps or stretching your little one’s awake time in the interest of getting them to sleep later in the morning or be “tired enough” to fall asleep at bedtime, generally will not work.  Most babies and toddlers will go to sleep easier and faster when they are well rested. As well, they will sleep more soundly throughout the night. A child that goes to bed overtired is more likely to wake several times throughout the night.

So, if you’d like an easier bedtime and more nighttime sleep, make sure to get your little one napping well throughout the day. The other bonus is all the time you’ll have during the day to get things done, take a break or have a nap! Happy napping.

Like this post? Read Leslie’s previous posts here.

**Have some sleep questions you need answers to?**

Leslie is offering a special discount to North Shore Mama fans of 20% off of a full consultation and 10% off of a newborn consultation. Let Leslie know that North Shore Mama (that’s me :) ) sent you and enjoy the gift of sleep!

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The Importance of NAPS

Leslie Black

Leslie Black is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology. She has lived in North Vancouver since age 7 and continues to reside there with her husband Jason and two young children William and Charles, along with their energetic companion Sully the Baoxer. Leslie has been a family counselor for 6 years, specializing in parenting. After successfully using the Sleep Sense Program to teach her boys how to be great sleepers, and working with countless tired parents who wondered how to get their children to sleep, Leslie decided to become a certified Sleep Sense Consultant. Website / Like Us On Facebook / Follow Us On Twitter

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