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This is something that all parents are dying to find out… how to prolong naptime! I have a 3 year old, who has shown signs of wanting to say ‘good-bye' to his nap time a long time ago, but this mommy knows best. Sleep and naptime is crucial to a growing child's health and even yes, even attitude.
Here is what I'm have done to prolong naptime in my toddlers and preschoolers:
- Create a routine that will encourage familiarity to their day – Most children thrive on routines and will naturally walk through these routines without much challenges. However, if you don't have a normal routine with a child, they tend to have a harder time to follow and submit to a routine and thus, struggle to accept a naptime.
- Read a book in their bed – This is one of my favorite things I have done with my last two children and only wished I had done with all of my children. Cuddling in their bed, reading a relaxing book can be just the thing that an active child needs to calm down enough to rest and benefit from naptime. My third child loved Bedtime poems for his reading time, but my youngest child loves to pick his own books off the shelves near his bed.
- Turn on the music – This is something that I implemented with my oldest child and to this day (she is 19), she will turn on the music if she is struggling to go to sleep. Some of my favorite things to recommend for children to listen to while going to sleep is classical music. One that I can recommend is The Mozart Effect Music for Children, Volume 2: Relax, Daydream, & Draw.
- Praise a good napper – Praise a child goes a very long way! My little boy loves to see me smile when he awakes from a good nights sleep and a good naptime. He loves to announce, “I slept well!”, because he knows that I will be thrilled to praise him for such an accomplishment.
- Consequences for not getting rest – At some point there needs to be consequences if a child is willing disobeying what is being required of him or her for their well-being. One of the things that has worked for my youngest has been the loss of book time the next day. He loves that time and has learned to stay in his bed and eventually fall asleep.
- Switch ‘naptime' to ‘rest time' – There comes a time in a child's life when sleep isn't as necessary but rest really is. During this part of a child's life, I like to implement rest time, which is still in their bed and for an hour of their afternoon. I allow music or books to be enjoyed during this time. When the timer goes off, they are able to get up. At times, the child would fall asleep during rest time, because it was still needed.
Do you have any tips that has helped you prolong naptime for your toddler or preschooler?