The Importance of Naps for Young Children
The main importance of naps for children is simply because they are exhausted by mid-morning and mid-afternoon. You’re the parent so you set the rules. You can tell when your toddler is cranky so you know it’s nap time. It’s important that you make sure you give your child a nap twice a day as long as you possibly can. If you also give them an afternoon nap make sure it’s not too close to dinnertime or your child will be up until 10 pm at night. If your child doesn’t get enough sleep they will be able to catch colds easier and also they will not be able to listen and follow your rules. Their little immune systems are still developing and if they don’t get enough rest, they more likely to become sick.
Sleep for your little ones is important for them to stay healthy and that is why naps are important. Childhood is when the development of mental and physical health is critical. Naps are good because they help children grow and regenerate. Naps also prevent kids from becoming too tired. When kids become overtired, just like adults, it is harder for them to fall asleep at night. Naps also allow parents to take a small break and catch up on rest or other chores that need to be done around the house.
When infants are old enough they usually sleep 14 to 18 hours daily. Newborns usually wake up every few hours for feeding and by the time they reach 4 months old, they start to sleep longer. The majority of babies sleep 9 to 12 hours at night and might wake up for a feeding. They usually take 2 to 3 naps a day, anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours.
When kids reach 6 to 12 months, they require about 14 hours of sleep a day. Kids take about two naps daily, which might last an hour each and 20 minutes for other kids. Most kids don’t wake up at night to eat but may develop separation anxiety. This anxiety can start a few sleep problems.
When toddlers reach 1 to 3 years old, they tend to sleep 12 to 14 hours a day. This may also include naps from 1 to 3 hours. Toddlers might still need two naps and make sure the naps don’t happen too close to bedtime. This is because they won’t fall asleep very easily at night.
Your child has reached the preschool age and they usually sleep 11 to 12 hours daily. All preschoolers require an afternoon nap if possible. Most are done with the afternoon nap by five years old but in some cases, all day kindergarten makes these kids very tired so they might want to take a nap after school. Some kindergarten teachers have nap time but many times there is too much for them to keep the kids busy with so a nap isn’t in the lesson plan.
Now your child has reached school age and these kids require about 10 to 11 hours of sleep at night. There are still 5-year-olds that still need a nap or you can give them an earlier time for bed.
Lack of Sleep
Many parents have such a busy life that they don’t realize how much sleep their children really need. Make sure you watch your child and make sure they are not sleep deprived. They can start to be cranky, have behavior problems, become emotional or don’t keep up on their homework. There are some questions you can ask yourself for more clarity. Here are a few tips for you as parents.
- Is your child sleepy during the day?
- Does your child get irritable during the late afternoon?
- Do you have problems waking your child up in the morning?
- Does your child have attention problems?
- Does your child have trouble with homework and chores at home?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, your child might need to have their sleep time adjusted. You may have to make a schedule and talk to your child’s doctor if you are having issues.
The best way to start a great napping schedule is by sticking to a good routine that revolves around your work or schoolwork if you are a student. Make sure that you get up early enough, take your kids out and tire them out, feed them lunch and you are bound to get a good 2 to 3 hours out of them for a nap. Looks for things like them rubbing their eyes, yawning, cranky behavior and if they look sleepy lay them down. This is how they learn to fall asleep fast and by themselves. You can always read them a story or try flash cards if they are learning to talk.
Sometimes routines can be challenging but not if you are firm. Most kids look forward to naps, others don’t like to nap but you are the boss and it’s your job to let them know it’s rest time. You can’t force a child to sleep but in most cases, if your child is healthy, they will fall asleep unless they are scared. Sometimes, if they don’t feel like napping, they can play quietly in their room. Sometimes a few quiet moments and your child falls asleep. You can always say after naptime, we will go to the park and stick to your word. Fresh air also helps children to sleep faster.
Don’t end nap times too soon because they might not sleep at night. A well-rested child is more apt to fall asleep faster at night than an overtired child. Watch out for late naps because then they might have problems sleeping at night. Make sure your child takes a nap between one and three pm and you shouldn’t have a problem with a 7:30 pm bedtime.
You can always try waking up your child from their nap although they might be grouchy. This way they can play longer so it’s very important to have routines and make some leeway before you completely give up on naps with your child. You and your child will both be less crabby if you have a break from each other.