1. Provide a good meal right before nap time. Keep this time free from over stimulation. No TV or iPad. The blue light in screen can signal brain to halt melatonin production (That’s our sleepy hormones!). Instead, use calming and soothing music during meal and nap routine. Then turn off and use true white noise and leave on the entire duration of nap.
2. Anticipate “relaxed state” cues, NOT overtired cues! Begin nap routine after meal, 10-15 mins prior to laying your child down for nap time is all it takes.
3. Make it the same routine every time in the exact same order. This routine signals to the brain and body that sleep is about to come, which helps increase melatonin production, setting your child up for nap time success!
4. Don’t over- soothe! Or your child will catch a “second wind”, miss that perfect sleep window, and become overtired. An overtired child has a much harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.
5. To help your child stretch those short naps into longer ones, allow them to remain in crib/bed for one full hour before retrieving them. This helps to set their internal sleepy clock when it is time to sleep and when it is “wake up time”. A nap needs to be at least one full hour in order for it to be restorative.