Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hello, kids sleep show. Welcome. If this is your first time joining us, I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. And we are going to chat about all things, naps today, and how to basically keep your naps around for a long time. A lot of families give up naps too soon, because their toddlers start to protest it. They don’t really know when they should stop napping, or Hey, they’re actually Okay, if they don’t nap, but maybe a little fuzzy. So I wanted to spend some time today, actually talking about some hacks that I use with my clients to keep naps around for the foreseeable future. If you have a toddler, that sort of borderline, right, so my son actually napped pretty much until he left for kindergarten, which was great for me. And for him, frankly, he did feel and I think act much better when he had those naps. But certainly by the time he was five, he was kind of getting ready to grow out of them. And he started waking up a little bit earlier. But we’re going to chat all about that now. So first things first, when I talk with clients the question around when they should drop a nap, or what that looks like. It really frankly, depends. And the reason being is that the American Academy of sleep medicine puts out guidelines for a range of sleep based on a child’s needs, right. And so if your little one is going to bed at seven o’clock at night, for example, and sleeping until seven o’clock in the morning, they may not need the full two and a half hour nap, right. So for example, kids between three and five years old, need only 10 to 13 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Okay. So if they’re getting, you know, a three hour nap, they’re not going to sleep for 12 hours at night, right. So sometimes you have to first look at the sleep needs, I would say that a five year old is probably closer to 10. And a three year old is closer to about 13 hours of total sleep. Okay, so start there. And then the first thing you want to do is break the day up. So somewhere between 11 to 12 hours in the overnight, right. So you know, going down at about 730. And then waking for the day between six and seven is kind of age appropriate for three to five year olds, okay, and then that still allows an opportunity to have a nap somewhere around 1230 or one o’clock until no later than three o’clock. Right. So that’s kind of your typical structure for a day, when your little one starts to recognize boundaries, right? So you guys go away for the weekend, maybe you’re down at the beach on vacation, they don’t need to take a nap because you’re out and about, all of a sudden they get it in their mind that they don’t have to nap, right. So then you try to come home and go back to normal. And they don’t want to nap anymore, right? And so suddenly, as a parent, you’re kind of questioning like, do I give this up? Or should I keep it I don’t know what to do. They seem all right. And so the questions around that are really going to vary by family. If you decide to drop a nap, your little ones just likely going to need more sleep in the overnight. So they should go to bed at like seven then instead of 730. And we’ll probably sleep till seven 730 The next day, right and they’ll wake feeling restored and refreshed. I still think quiet time is a good opportunity. Even if you you know decide to drop the naps, it gives you a chance to reset and it gives their brains a chance to take a break. Sometimes it’s just given a kid like a picture book or a flashlight with a book or something where it’s like, Hey, you have to stay in your room for an hour. But you can read maybe they take a Lego person or two and use their imagination, right, but just something to create some, I would say quiet time. Now if you’re a parent who’s struggling, which was the whole point of today’s show around how to keep naps around, there’s a couple of fun things that I do with my toddler and school aged children who still need that rest in the day but are a little bit pissed about having to do it. The first thing is make the sleep space. Fun, right, which I think sounds weird. Coming from a sleep consultant, right? You know, most sleep consultants would say hey, you know make it a calm, dark, serene place, but kids not going to want to sleep in the same old boring place, right? So if you make that place fun, there’s a better likelihood that they’re going to take a nap and a couple things that I used to do with even my own son. The first was build a fort, right? So if your little one is now out of the crib and they’re in like a big kid bed, you may have an extra crib mattress laying around. So what I do is throw crib sheet on there, put it in the corner of the room, throw some pillows down there and some blankets, maybe some stuffed animals and then take a sheet. And basically tack or tape it on to like the bed where they’re now sleeping like kind of on the side, and then tack it up onto the wall. So it kind of forms almost like a tent, but it’s pretty cheap, gangster way to do it. And so it forms kind of this like little reading nook slash tent slash fort in their room that all of a sudden becomes this fun place, they can books in there, you know, take your couple things, I hung some like Christmas lights in there for my son when I did this for him. And that was what he kind of used, it was a little bit of a dimmer light. But enough that he could still read I used the rainbow Christmas lights, and I made sure I tacked them so that, you know, they were up high enough in the form that they weren’t like a hazard or anything. And they were also only secured with small pushpins. So that if you did tug them, they would come out of the wall. And so you know, I did that for my son and he loved it. It was like his own little private place, you know, so I tell clients and like, make the sleep space fun, build some sort of a fort with your kids in their bedroom, or you know, in a spot in the house, maybe even in the basement if it’s finished, where they will willingly go and chill because most of the time they’re gonna fall asleep. Another trick is the five minute nap, right? So this one is amazing. You basically entice your child to do something, right, maybe you’re going to go to the park after the nap, maybe they get to have a treat, maybe you’re going to go build and dig for worms, whatever it’s going to be right. You tell them that they have to take a nap, but that they only have to sleep for five minutes. Okay. And you have to tell them that the timer doesn’t start until they’re asleep, but that you’ll wake them up in five minutes. And two hours later, you mosey up to the room and you wake them up and tell them it’s only been five minutes, they have no idea. They have now slept for two hours and they feel great. So that’s another little trick, the five minute nap. The next thing is around sleeping bags, right? Every kid loves a sleeping bag. They love sleep overs, sometimes letting your kids have a sleep over for naps, right. So if you have siblings let them nap in the same room, you can sometimes just have a child put the sleeping bag on their bed. And believe it or not, that changes the environment enough where they feel super excited to do that maybe they get to sleep in a sleeping bag, again, kind of in the basement or in another part of the house that’s quiet, you know, but sometimes just the sleeping bag in their own bed is enough or a sleeping bag like on their floor, they think that’s kind of fun, too. You just want to make the environment and the space somewhere fun, where they kind of look forward to napping versus the same old place. You know, like the bed. So those are a couple things that you can do as little hacks or tricks to help extend the naps and how long they do it. And again, every child is going to be a little bit different, right? There’s going to be some kids who still like the nap and enjoy taking the nap and feel really good because they took the nap. And there’s gonna be other children that somewhere between two and three drop the nap. But yet they’re okay, because their sleeps being made up at night. I think the biggest thing to remember is that every child is unique and different. They have specific amounts of sleep that they need. And it’s optimal for each child. So if you kind of go within the range again from three to five years, the range is 10 to 13 hours in a 24 hour day for optimal health to help them feel refreshed and recharged. And believe you’re going to know with some excess whining, fussing and struggles of overtired. If they’re missing the mark on the amount of sleep they’re getting and the you may need to add something in here or there. So hopefully you have found this tip in today’s episodes to be helpful. And if you have any questions, don’t forget, jump out to Facebook search slumber Made Simple. And you can join my facebook group where we do chats all the time, about all things sleep, I have weekly Q and A’s and all kinds of good stuff out there for my friends who are struggling with sleep. So with that, have a great rest of the day, and look forward to chatting with you soon. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community that’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search lumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.