Here are a few cardinal rules to follow to keep your baby a happy, consistent napper:
1. Routine: Being diligent about a napping routine is probably the most important thing you can do to keep your baby a happy napper. Skipping naps can entirely ruin a baby’s napping routine; and most pediatric specialists agree that toddlers cannot “make-up” for lost sleep by sleeping extra long or more deeply later.
2. Pay Attention: This gets more difficult when you have numerous infants, but pay close attention to your baby’s signs that are telling you they are sleepy. Look for their yawn, eye-rubbing, finger sucking or general fussing. Try darkening their room, giving the baby a massage or reading them stories to keep their naps in routine and on schedule within a half-an-hour.
3. Sleep Sanctuary: Try to create a special, similar place for your baby to sleep consistently. Their own crib in their own dark, cool room is ideal, but it can be a crib in a different house or a different room. The idea is to keep the sleep area similar so the baby understands that this is the time to nap. Use light blocking shades to keep it dark and put on a white noise maker or a soothing baby CD to block out any exterior noise that could wake your baby up. Put the dog in a place where he won’t bark, leave a note on your doorbell for your neighbors, and keep your phone on vibrate while the baby is sleeping.
4. Fun Awake Time: Another key to adequate napping is partaking in lively, interactive activities while your baby is awake. Like we said earlier, your baby is learning everything for the first time so giving them the opportunity to learn new things and then give the brain a chance to permanently place them in memory is extremely important. Try singing to the baby while you are doing laundry, challenging them to do five more jumping jacks than they did yesterday, go to the grocery store, count spoons, etc.
Implementing all of these suggestions could drastically improve your babies napping life, as well as your life. Naps are also extremely important for parents; it gives them their time to rejuvenate and give the parent the necessary energy to properly interact with their child while they are awake.