The double-edged sword of naps: As parents, we live for them, count down the minutes until they begin, savor them when they arrive. But babies and toddlers don’t just lay their sleepy heads down at 9:30am, noon, and 4pm on the dot and drift peacefully into slumber. Establishing a consistent nap schedule takes a lot of work, and it’s not uncommon to spend entire days simply trying to get your cranky, overtired child to take one! For something that supposed to be relaxing (for both baby and parent), naptime can be pretty stressful. Here are 17 smart strategies to ensure that your child gets the sleep she needs (and you can get a break too!)
Don’t Expect Your Newborn to Nap on a Schedule
During the first three months, let your baby catch her daytime zzz’s wherever and however she can. Night sleep develops before day sleep, says Kim West, author of The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight book and workbook. Don’t focus on establishing routine naps just yet, she says. Your sleep goal for now should simply be to help your baby’s biological clock develop by creating a strong bedtime routine (bath, books, songs, etc.) and differentiating between day and night.