Your little one finally fell asleep for their nap and now you’re ready to tackle your long to-do list and hoping you may even have a little time to sip the rest of your cold coffee while you catch up on the latest episode of Real Housewives (Okay – maybe you watch higher quality TV than I do but you get the idea).
Then, about 28 minutes later you hear the cry. Your neck tweaks to the left. Your stomach sinks. “They’re not awake ALREADY, right?” It’s not that you don’t want to spend time with your child, of course you do. But you NEEDED this time.
You also know that when your child has a nice, long nap they wake up happier and with energy! “What can I do to get her nap for longer?” you think.
I’m Shannon Buhera, a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, and Mama to a daughter who consistently takes at least one long nap each day! Here is what I do that works and what I help my Sleep Consulting clients to do to lengthen those naps.
4 Things You Need to Check to Achieve Long Naps!
1. Sleep Environment:
Naps should be in the same place as nighttime sleep except for when they have to be on the go or if you have a little, little one who still takes some naps on you.
DARK: like Black Out Shades dark.
White Noise: Not lullaby or even rain sounds, but white noise. I recommend The Hatch.
Room temperature is cool: about 68-72 degrees F.
Comfortable sleepwear: This may mean changing out of that cute denim romper into something from Nested Bean (they're my fav!)
2. Wake Times
First, What is a Wake Time or Wake Window? This is the time between sleep. It’s the minute your child wakes until the minute they are sleeping again. You can use Wake Times to determine when your child’s next nap should be based on their age. If you want to see how often your child should be napping, download my Free Sleep Schedules Guide.
Your child’s nap may be short because they haven’t build up enough sleep pressure to want to sleep for more than one cycle. Make sure you’re not trying to get a nap too early or too late.
3. Independent Sleep
Your child can more easily connect their own sleep cycles and sleep for longer once they become an independent sleeper.
Is your child older than 3 months and you’re still rocking or nursing to sleep?
Consider using a Sleep Training method to give them the gift of independent sleep.
Learn more about Sleep Training by reading Which Method Should I Use to Sleep Train My Child?
4. You may be trying to get your child to sleep TOO much!
This is different than too often like I said in Wake Times.
Depending on your child’s age, there is an ideal amount of total sleep in a 24 hour period.
Sometimes children are already meeting their daily sleep requirement and we’re wondering why they won’t take longer naps! Do the math!
Keep in mind that young babies are more likely to have many short naps. If your child is over 3 months, you have checked all 4 of these things above and you STILL can’t get your child to take long naps, I’d recommend hopping on the phone with me for a Free Sleep Evaluation Call which you can schedule here!
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