Nap Time Nightmares: How to Get Kids to Relax
If you have children who refuse to go down for a nap, you know that you are in for a very long day. Fortunately there are some things that you can try with your child to help them to relax and to get the sleep they need. Nap time doesn’t have to be a nightmare, especially when you follow the advice below and work with your child to give them the rest their growing bodies need.
Schedule Nap time After Lunch
You have probably realized that you often feel more relaxed and calm after a meal. Your child will feel the same after they eat which is why it is a good idea to schedule a nap following their lunch. After a few days of this, your child will know once he or she has lunch, they will lay down for their nap. This way, there are no surprises, and eventually it will become routine. Make sure you can stick to the schedule as well, as your child depends on you to make the routine.
Put a Routine in Place
Speaking of routines, many parents will have a bedtime routine at night, but many don’t do this for naps. It is equally as important that children have a routine at nap time just as they do for night time. Something simple like a quick story, singing a quiet song together, or any other activity that will relax your child and can be done in less than five minutes is a good place to start. Make it daily and constant, something they will come to expect.
Make Bedtime Earlier in the Evening
One of the reasons children won’t easily go down for a nap is because they are overtired. Again, you know that it is easy to get grumpy and upset when you do not get enough sleep. Your child is the same, and they just don’t know how to handle it correctly. By giving them an extra 30 – 60 minutes at night, you might be able to fix the problem of fighting a nap during the day.
Play Relaxing Music and Cut the Lights
You also might have good luck with playing relaxing music and making sure the lights are low to help your child relax before nap time. There are CDs available specifically for relaxing children, but you can just as easily play soft classical music like Beethoven or soft new age music like Enya. You can also try natural sounds like a white noise machine, or the sounds of nature.
Massage and Relaxing Touch
Finally, you might want to try some massage on your child to relax them at nap time. This might not be the type of massage you are thinking of though. Miniapple International Montessori School suggests trying a massage on their hands where you just put a bit of pressure on the palms and make a circular motion with your own fingers. Children’s programs in Minneapolis have also had success with light stroking of the arms. You can also try slowly and gently rubbing their back or their heads.
Now that you know some of these methods for relaxing your child at nap time, you might want to give some, or all of them a try. Hopefully, with the next week or so, nap time will no longer be a nightmare, and you will easily be able to get your child to bed with no worries.
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