Moms everywhere, I know you're exhausted. The daily struggle of trying to get children down to nap when they don't want to miss out on the action is a real challenge. And how many of us have been guilty of lying down with our children only to fall asleep before they do? I must confess, I have given up on one or two occasions and let the situation play out until early bedtime, only to awaken again at 2 a.m. when they are going strong after their “extended nap”. Who wants to deal with this? The following will allow you to find ways to entice your toddlers to not only lie down with you willingly, but actually look forward to that time when they can rest and recharge.
Find a Schedule That Works
Believe it or not, a child thrives on consistency in their day. Providing a consistent schedule is one way children learn about safety and security, and having a set time or period of time each day when they expect to nap can ease any anxiousness around the activity of being put to bed. Our toddlers are busy and they don't want to miss a thing, so if they know that 2-4 p.m. every day is naptime, it is going to be easier for everyone involved to adhere to this schedule. Find one that works for your kids routines as well as your own and be sure to keep it the same.
Watch for Signs and Signals
Our children are always giving us nonverbal cues, and if you miss them, you might miss naptime. Looking for signs such as eye rubbing, yawning, and other telltale signs of dreariness will be things you want to capitalize on. When you start seeing these signs, implement your naptime routine (a favorite book, a snuggle with mom, etc.) and make it easier for them to slip off to dreamland.
Keep it Low Key
Sometimes naptime will work, sometimes it just won't, no matter what we try. Children are incredibly intuitive, and they will pick up on cues that we are sending out–anxious feelings, stress, anger—these cues will in turn affect their moods and behaviors. Relax, don't stress, and see what you can do to keep the den more zen. Make naptime a time of rest for you as well. Make it a habit to work quietly in your office, or do some light yoga or cleaning. The kids will realize you are resting as well. You can also promote relaxation and calm with dim lights, scents like lavender, and white noise. Use doTERRA oils in your home diffuser just before naps so kids pick up on the sights and smells of naptime.
We parents need to realize that naptime will soon be a thing of the past. Cherish this down-time while it lasts. One thing is for certain–when a child is tired enough, they will fall asleep. Keeping the mood light and fun will reduce stress and promote healthy beliefs and habits around sleep.