Solving Naptime Problems

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Napping is an important element of your child’s healthy mental and physical growth. A daily nap refreshes a child so that she can maintain her energy, focus, and ability to learn for the rest of the day. Some studies even show that children who nap every day are more flexible and adaptable, have longer attention spans and are less fussy than those who don’t nap.


How can you tell if your child needs a nap?
Here are some of the signs that your child needs a daily nap:
* Wakes up in a good mood, but gets whiny and cranky as the day progresses
* Has more patience early in the day, but is easily aggravated later on
* Cries more easily in the afternoon and evening than earlier in the day
* Has an afternoon or early evening slump, but gets a second wind afterwards
* Yawns, rubs eyes, or fusses while getting ready for bed
* Often falls asleep in the car or when watching a movie
How much naptime does your child need?
Children differ in their sleep needs, some needing more or less than shown here ? but what follows is a general guide that applies to most of them. Even if your child’s sleep hours add up to the right amount, his or her behavior tells you more than any chart possibly could. When in doubt – always try for a nap, since even a period of quiet time can help a child feel more refreshed.
Average hours of daytime and nighttime sleep
Age
Number of naps
Total length of naptime hours
Nighttime sleep hours**
Total of nighttime and naptime sleep
Newborn*

 


3 months
3
5 – 6
10 – 11
15
6 months
2
3 – 4
10 - 11
14 – 15
9 months
2
2 ½ - 4
11 - 12
14
12 months
1–2
2 – 3
11 ½ –12
13 ½ –14
18 months
1–2
2 – 3
11 ¼ -12
13 – 14
2 years
1
1–2 ½
11–12
13 – 13 ½
2 ½ years
1
1 ½ -2
11–11 ½
13 – 13 ½
3 years
1
1–1 ½
11 –11 ½
12 – 13
4 years
0 -1
0 -1
11–11 ½
11 – 12  ½
5-6 years
0 -1
0 -1
11
11 – 12

*Newborns sleep 16-18 hours daily, spread over 6-7 sleep periods.  ** These averages don’t signify unbroken stretches of sleep.
© Elizabeth Pantley, The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers (McGraw-Hill)

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