*Create a nap time routine - Similar to your bedtime routine (but more abbreviated) a nap time routine is a series of soothing, predictable activities that help transition your child from play time to sleep time.
*Watch for sleepy cues - sleepy cues are signs that your child is getting tired. Common sleepy cues are: becoming fussy, zoning out, increased yawning, eye rubbing, ear pulling, wanting to nurse even if recently fed, looking for security object and/or pacifier (if applicable), and slowing down during activity.
*Create a good sleep environment - Make sure your child's sleep environment is at a comfortable temperature, dark and quiet.
*Follow a nap schedule - Your child's schedule does not need to be rigid, but your little one will do best following at least a basic sleep and feeding schedule.
*Sleep begets sleep - While it may be tempting to skip a nap in the hopes that your child will sleep longer for the next nap or at night, the exact opposite is true. Lack of sleep actually makes falling asleep more difficult. A well rested child sleeps better and longer than an overtired child, so it's best to make sure that your little one is getting the appropriate amount of daytime sleep at the appropriate times for his/her age.
*TV time - While it can be tempting to allow your little one to "unwind" in front of the TV, that screen time can take the edge off making it more difficult for your child to fall asleep. Alternatively, some action packed TV shows can be overstimulating, causing children to have a hard time slowing their bodies down before nap time. If you allow TV time in your house it's best to save it for well before or well after nap time.
If your child is not getting the sleep he/she needs and you are interested in learning more about an alternative to the cry-it-out approach, please contact Rest Well Baby for more information on our professional pediatric sleep coaching services & to schedule a FREE 15 minute initial phone conversation for prospective clients anywhere in the United States.