Sleeping Babies and Nap time - Strategies for success!
Nap time and Sleeping Babies are essential for healthy growth and development for infants, all children and your sanity.
This can be the most challenging time of day for a child care provider. When the babies or kids are tired, cranky, and fussy it can make EVERYONE feel the same way. Believe me, you'll want to establish a routine for naps-this may be the only time of day that you will get a break! All the kids will benefit, as well as you.
Of course, all infants, toddlers, and two year olds have different sleep schedules- One day they may require a 3 hour nap, then the day after that they'll sleep 1/2 hour, and the next day they won't nap at all! That wears YOU out!!
What can you do? I have some ideas for you to help get sleeping babies!
First we'll discuss napping infants in your child care home.
Be sure to ask the parents daily how the baby slept the night before. You need to know this so you can get an idea of what your day may be like and it can help you prepare.
Each baby has their own unique sleep-wake schedule/cycle. And of course some can be WAY out of whack and perplexing! They'll cry and fuss (for what seems like no reason) usually at your scheduled nap time! When you don't have a sleeping baby it will usually wake up the other kids, then they are all crabby... wow is that frustrating!
But hang on... you CAN get them on a schedule... really! You will love it, so will their parents, and your other sleeping kids will appreciate it.
And for heaven's sake, PLEASE don't let a parent tell you (and convince you) not to put their baby down for a nap so they will sleep all night. That's not fair to you or the baby. Absolutely nothing is worse than a crying infant all day because they are exhausted! AGH! Do NOT agree to this! I can guarantee that you will want to quit this awesome business for this issue alone. I don't want you having regrets and I don't want you to give up!
Next---Make sure you have an area that you have setup or can be converted for nap time. Promoting sleep is a big part of the challenge as you can see on my Childrens Sleeping Area Let's get to it then...Here are the lessons I've learned in the past 30 years to help you get those "sleeping babies":
BABIES REALLY DO TELL YOU!
Pay attention to the "cues" they show you that they are tired- they will give them to you and they are not all the same. If the baby is new at your home, ask mom or dad how quickly (or slowly) the baby will fall asleep. Ask them WHAT "cues" he or she gives them when they are tired. Hopefully they can tell you what they are. You may have to give them some ideas like:
Some will cry,
rub their eyes,
wriggle back and forth uncomfortably,
pull on their ears,
move their head from side to side,
or turn it away from you,
snuggle their head into your chest, into your hair or shoulder,
maybe suck their thumbs- all in attempt to tell you "I want to sleep!"
So here is WHERE you need to figure out what takes them to dreamland...
It has also been proven, that a firm Baby Crib Mattress will not only help your baby sleep, but it's also safer than a softer crib mattress.
What ever method works for him/her to sleep, STICK WITH IT! You need to remain consistent for when they sleep, how often and where- they are fast little learners and they catch on. You'll find their sleep will become more predictable and that will help YOU with your schedule.