Busy days, changing schedules, and fussy babies can cause you to forget about a nap routine and try to just get to the NAP already!
Here is why you want to prioritize a nap routine:
If you have not yet gotten your child to independent sleep through a sleep training method, then this nap routine will take longer because you likely need to help them to sleep. You may want to read my article that explains more about Sleep Training.
Once your child has achieved independent sleep, then the goal of the nap routine is just to help them calm down from their daily activities and signal to their brain that sleep time is coming.
Note that she is 11 months when I’m writing this although her routine has been very similar since 6 months.
1. Go into her bedroom.
2. Dim light
3. Quiet play time (This is about 3 minutes of my normal routine but when we can, we may allow her to have quiet play for longer)
4. Nap Routine Signaling song: For us it’s Baby Beluga
5. Put into Sleep Sack (during song)
6. Enjoyable things: spin globe, kiss animals (this changes based on her current favorite things in her room)
7. Read a short book: My daughter’s current nap time favs are:
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8. Turn off the light
9. Time to Sleep Signaling Song during hugs or rocking (same used with nighttime: For us it’s Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
10. Goodnight Phrase: For us it’s “Night, Night, Sweet Dreams”
11. White noise on, room DARK. It doesn’t matter when the nap is or who is doing the routine, we stay CONSISTENT.
Like bedtime routines, nap routines should be ECC: Enjoyable, Calming, Consistent.
I use the same signaling songs every day for every nap. My daughter now knows that Baby Beluga means we’re starting to get ready for her nap and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star means now it’s time to sleep. As soon as we starting singing this, she starts to rub her eyes and put her head down on me. It’s like she is signaling me: “I’m ready for my nap now, Mama!”
Normally the play time is about 3 minutes, and then the rest only takes about 2 minutes. If you have a 10 or 15 minute routine that works for your family – No problem! Yours does not have to be the same as mine! As long as it is “ECC” and prepares your child for sleep, then it’s a great nap routine! It’s important to note that the songs and the rocking is not to get your child to a sleepy state, it’s to be enjoyable and calming. If your child is sleep trained then you do not need to put them down “drowsy” or about to pass out. You can put them down totally awake! If you want support with getting your child to independent sleep, book a Free Sleep Evaluation Call with me!
What is your child’s Nap Routine that works?