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The Best Things about Naptime
by Rebecca Garland

Naptime might become a struggle with your little one when he realizes that there is much more fun to be had staying awake than sleeping. However, allowing your baby to sleep in a darkened, relatively quiet space for an hour or two in the afternoon is essential not only to his development, but to your sanity as well.

Babies and Naptime
Newborn babies sleep around the clock taking short naps offset by periods of wakefulness. Gradually the naps consolidate and your baby takes just a handful of naps in the morning, early afternoon and early evening. By the time your baby is fifteen months, he’s likely taking just a single nap in the afternoon and his sleep at night is a solid eleven or twelve hours at a stretch.

Babies need sleep to grow properly and to regulate their mood and general health. Children who don’t get enough sleep can have problems with their mood, with behavior, with attention and even with proper brain and body development. Learning to sleep and getting that sleep at roughly the same time every day is critical to keeping your little one as healthy and happy as possible.

Parents and Naps
For the parent at home with a baby during the week and for both parents on the weekend, naptime takes on an entirely different meaning. As much as you love your baby, there are times when you would love to take a shower without company in the bathroom or fold laundry without help from a toddler. Naptime provides a quiet sanctuary in the middle of an otherwise very busy day.

Parents who work from home also benefit strongly from having time in the middle of the day to get a few things done. And best of all, when you are tired from rough night of teething or simply want to relax without obligation or duty calling, you can stretch out in your bed, turn up the monitor and take a nap of your own. This helps to stabilize your mood and gives you a welcome break in your chores for the day as well.

Best Nap Practices
To establish the best naps possible, help your child learn to fall asleep with as little assistance as possible. Soothe your child to a point of extreme drowsiness and put him down to fall asleep on his own. This will give him the opportunity to simply roll over and go back to sleep without your help if the first part of a nap isn’t enough. Longer naps mean happier babies and parents.

Never skip naps. When you skip naps, you’re gambling with your child’s emotional well being for the rest of the day and also with his sleep for the next few days. A single missed nap can make your child slightly wild with exhaustion and his jittery feeling can last into the night causing night wakings rather than better sleep. A poor night’s sleep can affect the next day’s nap and so on. Do your best to allow your child to sleep at the same time every day in his bed or a special spot to maintain a routine. A routine helps him fall asleep faster, sleep better and make the entire process run more smoothly every day and every night as sleep begets sleep with babies.

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