Summertime Naps and Quiet Time are Good for Kids
Ahhh, summer. For some, it’s a time of relaxed schedules, outdoor fun and laughing children. For others, it’s a time of unstructured days, disrupted schedules and cranky kids. When you’re on the go in the summer, it can be hard to keep a nap schedule or even slip in some quiet time. However, it’s worth the effort for both your kids and you.
When children are overtired, behavior usually takes a nosedive. They become irritable and emotional. Sometimes kids become “wired” when they’re tired, which makes it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime.
Daily naps help growing bodies and brains recharge. It does wonders for kids’ moods as well as yours. Children who nap have longer attention spans and are less irritable than kids who don’t nap. Researchers have even found toddlers and preschoolers who don’t get enough sleep are twice as likely to get hurt accidentally.
As babies, children naturally nap throughout the day, but no matter how tired they are, toddlers often begin to resist naps when they think they’re missing out on playtime. You can’t make them fall asleep, but you can create the right atmosphere to help them rest. During the summer, there are plenty of activities to throw off your schedule, but try to preserve an hour or two for naps or quiet time each day.
Plan Quiet Time Every Day
If your preschooler has given up naps, then work in some planned quiet time. Forgo the TV, video and games, and instead let your child look at books, work puzzles or do other quiet activities that are non-stimulating. The concept of playing alone is very important to your child’s development. All children need to learn to entertain themselves and play alone quietly.
- Newborns: Professional nappers, they will sleep at least 16 hours a day, often with three to four naps per day.
- 2-4 months: Still serious nappers, they’ll sleep about 15 hours a day, including two or three naps.
- 6-9 months: Naps get a little more predictable. They’ll sleep about 14 hours a day, including two naps. Usually one nap is in the morning and the other is after lunch.
- 9-12 months: The trend continues with 10-12 hours of sleep at night and two naps a day on a more regular schedule.
- 15-24 months: Many toddlers this age are giving up their morning nap. They’ll usually take one nap of 1-2 hours in the afternoon.
- 24-36 months: They still need about 12 total hours of sleep and benefit from an afternoon nap to keep their motors running.
- 3-5 years: Naps are starting to lose favor and are usually phased out completely by age 5, but a little quiet time in the afternoon each day is helpful to recharge. By age 5, these preschoolers still need 11 hours of sleep so bedtime may need to be pushed up to make sure they get enough rest.