When and how to stop your child napping

Posted by iChild, May 18, 2021 5:11 PM

By Next Best Thing to Mummy

A parent once asked me this via social media. She said that allowing her 18 month old child to have a nap in the afternoon was impacting on bedtime in a negative way.

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My advice was to suggest managing this how I managed it with my own children. As all children are individuals, however, what works for some may not for others.

When I felt that my son could cope without an afternoon nap, I started by giving him a quiet session in the afternoon, in the hope that this would let him’ recharge his batteries’ enough to see him through to bedtime without actually going to sleep.

I also tried not to let him sleep after 3 o’clock in the afternoon. This was difficult sometimes as he would fall asleep in the car when we drove to collect his brothers from school. It may sound cruel, but I would try to distract him from dropping off; I would point things out during the journey ( look at the tractor, etc.) I would also sing and encourage him to join in ( as I have a similar singing voice to Shaun Wallace, of The Chase, believe me it would not send anyone to sleep!).

When I was working as a registered child minder, I looked after a child whose parents asked me to not let her sleep in the day as they were struggling with putting her to bed at night.

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Usually I would do my best to follow a parent’s lead, as nobody knows a child as well as the parents, but in this particular case, the child really did need to nap during the day. This was because I knew that she went to bed quite late. She often told me about television programmes that she had watched the night before and they were shows that were on after 9pm, plus her mother had told me when we first met that they liked to keep her up late so they could all spend time together after the parents finished work.

Between us we worked it out. I agreed to only let her nap before lunch, and they said that they would attempt to get her to bed at an earlier time so she wasn’t so tired during the day.

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Having a good bedtime routine is vital for children of all ages in my opinion.

Many parents admit that they can cope better if they get a good night’s sleep. My biggest tip to achieving this is – routine!

Whilst childminding, I looked after a boy whose mum said was she was having difficulties getting him to go to bed. When I prepared to put him down for a nap, I would give him prior warning by saying something like, “when we finish snack time, it is time for a nap?” Then when he was in my arms ready to go of a nap, I would ask him to say, “night, night” to whoever was there – the other children, my husband, the dog, etc. When putting him in the cot I would give a quick kiss and say, “go to sleep now, I’ll see you later.” This really worked so I did the same sort of thing each day and explained it to his mum.

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When my own children were babies, bedtime would follow a bath and evening feed. As they grew older, they would have bath, warm milk and a bedtime story read before they went to sleep. If a child is given a routine to follow it usually makes for a happier household.

Try to avoid over stimulation with things such as television; a warm drink and story is much more calming. My eldest son suffered with nightmares for a while, I cut out orange squash from his diet and they stopped. My youngest son was too clever for his own good; he knew he went to bed at eight after Coronation Street finished. I recall one occasion when it was on later than usual and he put up a fight for a while, until it was explained to him. Another child whom I minded was too frightened to go to sleep in my room as he said there were monsters. It turned out that he had been watching the film, “Monsters Inc.” at home. I solved this by putting the cot on my large landing so he didn’t need to be in the bed room.

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By Next Best Thing to Mummy

You can read her original blog on how to stop napping here.
You can also read her blog on bedtime routines.

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