Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nanny Confessions: Children Need Regular Naptimes

Meltdowns Solved – Take a Nap
By Elizabeth Hawksworth

One of the biggest concerns for parents and nannies is naptime. Some families advise nannies to let their children nap when they want to sleep, while other parents prefer to prescribe how long their children should nap.
My nanny confession this week is: naptime routines are essential to help children get the sleep they need and prescribed naptimes often don’t work.

Some children get enough sleep when they have a set naptime in which they sleep from a specific time and wake up at another specific time. However, more often than not, waking up children from their naps before they are ready can have unwanted consequences such as tantrums, emotional meltdowns, and lethargy. Sleep deprived, cranky children make nannies impatient and cranky as well.

Well rested children are happier, learn better, eat better, and sleep better at night. Naptime routines are helpful when putting recalcitrant children down to rest. Look for signs that children are tired (such as rubbing their eyes) and put them down at the same time every day to create a naptime routine. Make sure toddlers are dry, full, and warm when putting them down to nap.

Here is a chart to help determine whether the children need one long nap or several shorter naps during the day from The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley.

"Happily Awake" span
of time between naps
1-2 hours
6 months old
2-3 hours
12 months old
3-4 hours
18 months old
4-6 hours
2 years old
5-7 hours
3 years old
6-8 hours
4 years old
6-12 hours

What do you do to help your charges or children nap better? What works for the kids you look after?

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