June 21, 2019

Managing Nap Transitions

A newborn’s talent for sleeping can make even Rip Van Winkle jealous. It’s not uncommon for them to spend up to 17 hours a day snoozing. Of course, those 17 hours are broken up into a series of naps scattered throughout the day in a routine that’s not, well, routine.

Angela Sigmon, Infant Teacher at Kiddie Academy of Abingdon

Angela Sigmon, Infant Teacher at Kiddie Academy of Abingdon

During the first year of life, an infant’s sleep patterns always seem to be changing. The four or five naps a day they take as newborns typically reduce to one or two by the time they’re a year old. At first, the transitions can happen quickly and smoothly. But then, things can get tricky. As they move from two to one nap a day, and one to none, the changes can be challenging for both child and parent.

It’s a situation that Kiddie Academy teachers routinely encounter and they can work with you to make these transitions as smooth as possible.

Bree Ahna Jasper teaches at Kiddie Academy of Abingdon, MD. “When infants and toddlers come in, their sleep routines are all over the place. Parents fill out an infant/toddler schedule to let us know what sort of routine the child has at home and we’ll go over that thoroughly with them.”

Jasper says that for infants who enter the Academy at 6 weeks old, their sleep routine will become somewhat predictable by the time they reach 6 months. “The 6-week-olds might take three short naps – 20-30 minutes each – during the day. Around 6 months, they tend to cut back to two naps. Around one year, we usually have them take one nap, later in the day after lunch. That nap can last two to three hours.”

If a child is having a tough time with a transition, Jasper says teachers will work together to make sure someone is devoted to calming the child. “Sometimes kids have trouble falling asleep. When they do, we play soothing music, give back pats or rock them. If one of us needs to spend more time focusing on getting that child settled, other teachers will pick up the duties of that teacher so we can give the child the attention they need.”

Jasper says successfully dealing with the challenges of nap transitions also requires teachers and parents working together. “If anything in the home routines change, parents let us know. If we see any changes on our end, we let the parents know. Communication and consistency are the keys.”

Here are some tips from the National Sleep Foundation to help your infants and toddlers with their sleep routines:

– Maintain regular daytime and bedtime schedules

– Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine

– Establish a ‘sleep friendly’ environment

– Encourage the baby to fall asleep independently

For more information on sleep and nap transitions:

How to Manage Your Baby or Toddler’s Nap Transitions” – The Baby Sleep Site

Children and Sleep” – National Sleep Foundation

The 7 Reasons Your Kid Needs Sleep” – Parents

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