I'm sure you've heard it before..... Day time napping is one of the most influential factors when trying to improve our little ones night time sleep. But what happens when your little one refuses to nap, only takes 30-45mins each time before bursting back into life again?
How can we improve the night time when we cant get past the daytime??
Lets start with some of the key factors affecting day time sleep,
Consistent morning start time, this is absolutely necessary and often times over looked. As a parent of a child who has awoken multiply times throughout the night, the thought of waken them from their slumber at 7am, is well....... unthinkable! You may have other children to get out ready for school and its easier to do that with one less fighting for you, or you may be exhausted and need the extra zzzzz yourself. Trust us when we say, having a consistent start time is absolutely so important.
when we wake our little ones at the same time every day, you as a parent, are in control of the nap times. You cant expect your infant to be ready to go down for their 12pm nap if they only woke at 10am! Knowing your little ones wakeful windows and what is expectable for their age plays a big role here. Are they resisting there nap because the are over/under tired???
Reading the signs, do you know the difference between hungry cues and sleepy cues? these are very subtle cues, that we can use to determine what it is our little one needs from us. Each child is different and as a parent, know one knows their child better than you but sometimes they can get a little confusing as they closely align. Take the time to note, what your little one does before eating or sleeping and see if you can identify their cues.
depending on your little ones age, will determine how they display each of these cues and more information can be found in out Sleepy Tots Online programmes.
Wakeful Windows, again this is a BIG ONE! knowing what is achievable for your little one when it comes to their sleep needs is crucial! It is unreasonable to think your 2month old little bundle will be able to stay awake for four hours, because you have other commitments and wont make it home, alternatively its unreasonable to expect your little 9month old to sleep the night through if they had a long evening nap!
The same as adults, children have sleep needs. Dependant on their age, will dictate how long they can stay awake between naps, how many naps per day and how long these naps usually last.
A child that over sleeps in the day, simply does not have enough sleep debt built up to have a restful restorative sleep a night.
Setting the environment for sleep, in an ideal world, once your little one is past 4months you would be putting them down to sleep in their bed, the room would be dark using all the same associations each time, white noise/music etc.
What happens if this isn't your situation? what happens to your little ones sleep, when you ABSOLUTELY have to be out of the house on a regular basis???
I remember coming home with my little boy, my first born miracle baby. I had read every book, I had the schedule already outlined and truth be told had started to implement some sleep associations while still in the hospital for the first 10 days!
I knew the how's, when's and where of his sleep..... until I didn't!!
Once discharged from the hospital, I had to be seen by my GP, PHN or back into the hospital daily for the first 4 wks, and having had a C -Section I relied on others, working on their schedule not mine! After this, due to ill health of a parent, I had to assume responsibility of my college going sister.... who couldn't drive.... and living in the west of Ireland, there is no reliable public transport! Between college runs and hospital visits, my ideal daytime nap schedule was not going to happen.
During this time, I had to improvise ALOT! As have alot of you, I'm sure. I planned as best I could to facilitate his sleep, I packed a book and sat while he got a decent nap in the car or I popped him in the buggy and took off walking, if it was around the time of his long lunch time nap. I made sure I had as many of his sleep associations implemented, white noise on the go, swaddled him in the buggy.
While my little man didn't have the ideal by "the book" sleep environment, we made it work as best we could. It was ALWAYS a priority, and because of this he was able to find his groove and started sleeping through the night at 10wks..... to our complete AMASEMENT.
(this definitely falls outside the norms)
Consistent Bedtime, and bedtime routine. A bedtime routine is allows your little one to know what is going to come next and set up the expectation of sleep. Your little one doesn't understand time, but their body does. Having a consistent bedtime, will allow their body clock to get into sync, and their bedtime routine is like setting the timer. Once all the steps (you decide how long or short this routine is but remember to be consistent with it) are completed, your little one knows exactly what is going to happen next...... SLEEP!