The Nap-Resister: When Your Child Needs a Nap but Won’t Take One
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution
Daytime naps might last just a few short hours, but they can affect all twenty-four hours of a child’s day. Naps can improve a child’s mood and reduce fussiness, crying, whining, and tantrums. Studies show that children who nap daily get sick less often, grow taller, and are less likely to be obese when they grow up. Naps enhance attention span and brain development. Naps can also help make up for any shortage in nighttime sleep. Even a one hour shortage in overall sleep hours can have a negative effect on a child – compromising alertness and brain function, and increasing fussiness and fatigue.
There are many ideas for helping a child to take a nap, but the best idea in the world may not work for you if the solution doesn’t address the reason that your child won’t nap. There is not just one reason that babies and young children refuse to nap – there are hundreds of different reasons. Before you decide on a solution you need to understand your child’s motivation. Once you figure out the cause of your child’s “nonnappingness” you can put together a plan to overcome her resistance. Here are a few typical reasons kids won’t nap – and suggestions to solve each problem:
Problem: Has outgrown the current nap schedule
Solutions: Think about any changes in your child’s life, growth or development. Has he learned to crawl, begun to eat solid food or started daycare? Any change can also affect sleep patterns. Watch your child for signs of tiredness between naps and adjust your schedule to meet his new needs.
Problem: Nap schedule doesn’t match your child’s biological clock
Solutions: Naptime, bedtime, mealtime, exposure to light and darkness, and activity all can affect your child’s biological clock. Look at your child’s schedule to be sure these things occur at reasonable times every day. The improper order of things (such as active, brightly lit playtime just before bed) can affect your child’s rhythm.
Problem: Nap schedule isn’t consistent from day to day
Solutions: If on weekdays nap times, bedtime and wakeup time are specific, but on weekends they’re hit and miss, then your child will be functioning with a constant bout of jetlag. Other inconsistencies can also affect this, such as when your child naps at a certain time at daycare, but a different time at home, or if he takes a nice long nap on days when you are at home but takes a short one in the car (or skips a nap entirely) when you are on the go. Set up a possible nap schedule for your child and do your best to stay within a half hour of the nap times that you have set up.
Problem: Child is overtired and over-wired by nap time
Solutions: If you miss your child’s signs of fatigue he can quickly move past his tired spell, past overtired, and into a second wind – that state of artificial energy which often brings with it more crying, fussing, whining and tantrums. When you miss your child’s tired signs it also means he won’t be able to fall asleep when you do finally put him in bed.
To learn your child’s sleepy signs it can help to watch him in the hour after he first wakes up in the morning, when he is well rested. Compare this to his behavior during the time from dinner to bedtime, when most children show signs of fatigue. As his usual bedtime draws near, make note of how his behavior and body language differs from when he is alert and refreshed. Aim to put your child for a nap as soon as he shows signs of fatigue. A tired child will fall asleep easily and sleep longer and better.
Problem: Reliance on a specific sleep aid
Solutions: A child who is accustomed to falling asleep in one very specific way can easily become so used to this one method that if you try to have him nap under any other condition he would be physically unable to do so. The best way to understand a child’s association needs are to examine them from your own viewpoint. It’s possible that you sleep well in your own bed but struggle to sleep at a hotel or someone else’s home. Some children’s sleep associations are so strong it can only be compared to asking you to sleep on a roller coaster!
The most common nap-preventing associations are breastfeeding or bottlefeeding to sleep, being held by loving arms, or sleeping in a swing, bouncer or car seat. These are wonderfully comforting places for a child to nap – but when they become necessary for sleep then it’s likely to cause a problem for the parent who must provide naptime services. These associations are usually so necessary to your child’s sleep that they override every other reason or solution. Because these are complicated issues each of these associations has its own chapter of information and solutions in other parts of this book.
Problem: Sneaky micro-naps
Solutions: The very first stage of sleep can last as little as five minutes and can reduce feelings of sleepiness– it lifts the lid and let’s the steam out just enough. If your child hits a tired zone and is lying on the sofa, sitting in a swing, or going for a ride in the car, he may nod off for five or ten minutes. This micro-nap doesn’t give your child the full benefit of a real nap, but can be just enough to rejuvenate him and prevent him from being able to sleep when you put him in bed later for a nap.
To circumvent this problem, avoid putting your child in a nap-inducing environment, like a ride in the car, or time in his swing, at a time when he’s likely to need a nap, unless you can leave him for a full long nap.
Problem: Health troubles
Solutions: If any health issue is bothering your child it can definitely affect his sleep. Allergies and asthma are two of the most common childhood diseases. Both of these conditions can make it difficult for your child to breathe comfortably when lying down. Colic, reflux, ear infections and difficult bouts of teething are other conditions that can prevent a child from napping well.
If your child suffers from any medical issues good naps are especially important for his health. If this is the case with your child it will be helpful if you are very flexible and open to finding any solution that helps him sleep. Put aside any notion that your child must sleep in a certain place or a certain way, and open yourself to the concept that any nap is better than no nap at all.
At the same time, talk with various medical experts about your child’s health matters and look to find the best solutions for your child.
Tips for encouraging naptime
No matter why your child won’t nap, there are a few specifics that can be helpful as you encourage any child to take regular naps. Keep these basic principles in mind:
- Maintain a consistent daily schedule that works with your child’s natural body clock. Create a predictable pattern to the day – with meals and naptime happening at reliable times.
- Modify your schedule according to your child’s sleepy signs. No matter what the clock says, it’s nap time when your child becomes quieter, loses interest in toys or playtime, fusses, stares off into the distance, rubs his eyes or ears, and of course: if he begins to yawn.
- Have a relaxing pre-nap routine to cue your child that naptime is here and help him wind down and relax.
- Set up a sleeping place that is cozy and that sets the stage for sleep. Dress your child comfortably for sleep.
- Keep mornings bright and active, and the half hour before each nap session quiet, dimly lit, and calm.
- Keep in mind that you cannot force a child to sleep, but you can follow the basic rules of biology, gauge your child’s sleepy signals, and create a setting that is inductive to sleep and relaxation.
From The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, January 2009). Here is the link for information and more excerpts: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/
The professionals at TLC Family Care personally assist nannies, babysitters and families in St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, Charlotte, Miami and Orlando to find the right childcare arrangement. Our mission is to provide a safe and personalized approach for families and caregivers to connect with each other that is not an internet search. TLC has worked with families, nannies, sitters, newborn care providers, and tutors for over 35 years and looks forward to working with you! To find great nanny and babysitting jobs visit us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 314-725-5660.
Being a nanny is a very rewarding career. With more people entering the in-home childcare field the competition for jobs is getting harder. One way to stand out above the rest is to participate in nanny training. Keeping your skills set current leads to job security. Remember a good nanny is invaluable to a family!
TLC for Kids requires all nannies to be CPR and First-Aid certified. TLC also recommends taking continuing education courses in Childcare and Early Childhood Development.
A few in-home childcare organizations offer nanny training. Read the blog by Homework Solutions to learn more. Consider attending Nannypalooza West or Nannypalooza East this year, or maybe NAEYC is favorite. Don’t forget online options including Nanny Coaching Team, Nanny Care Hub, or NannyTraining.com.
It’s here…our newest blog feature. We’re excited to announce our newest blog series, “Three minute Q and A with TLC nannies.” Each month we’re going to bring you some great Q and A with our nannies so they can share some info and insight about the nanny profession and educate others on some of the fun aspects of the job. This week we interviewed Judy.
1. Why do you want to be a nanny?
I became a nanny after college when I realized teaching in a daycare setting was not for me. I have always enjoyed working with children, so when the opportunity arose, I jumped in with both feet! I love being a nanny, and can no longer imagine having a career in anything else!
2. What’s your favorite thing about being a nanny?
Being apart of a family! Working together as a team in raising the kiddos!
3. What activity are your looking forward to doing with your charge(s) this week?
This week we are going to grants farm and to the train store to play with friends!
4. Where do you get your ideas for creative activities? What’s your favorite craft?
Pinterest, Facebook groups, friends, and google is my best friend!
5. Do you follow any blogs or websites to share with other nannies?
Working as a nanny is a fun and rewarding job. In fact, more and more people with experience in childcare are finding that being a nanny is a great career. Nanny jobs allow skilled social workers, teachers, daycare providers and nurses the same thing: the opportunity to help children.
As a nanny you are with children everyday in their home. You are able to provide a loving and stable environment for kids. Childcare experts and parents agree that this type of environment is beneficial for kids. Being a nanny allows you the opportunity to spend time with a child everyday. You watch them grow and develop. You will be there to see a child sit up for the first time, you will be there when they are learning to crawl, then walk and run.
A nanny also has the opportunity to teach kids. You are one of the child’s first teachers. Everyday nannies are singing the ABC song, counting out the number of swings at the playground, and talking about what color the flowers are in the garden. Watching a child learn is very rewarding. Along with teaching, nannies are coloring, cutting, gluing and stamping fun art projects and gifts for mom and dad.
Being a nanny is all about taking care of children while providing support for the family. It is a fun and challenging career for anyone with childcare experience.
If you are interested in becoming a nanny in Missouri of Florida please visit our website today to learn more and fill out an application.
Thank you to Greta Schraer from Nanny 101 for this helpful blog on what to wear for your nanny interview.
“The first interview is your one and only chance to make the right first impression. The saying is true about never getting that second chance. It is important to think about what your clothes, hair, make-up may add or take away from your first impression.
Nanny Sonya carefully placed her resume in a folder with her impeccable references, left 15 minutes early just in case of traffic, and remembered to leave her cell phone in the car as to not take away from the time she would spend with Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. As Mrs. Johnson welcomed Sonya into the house she was greeted with a warm smile, but recognized the messy ponytail in Sonya’s hair… “had she just woken up?” she thought. As they sat around the dining room table Mrs. Johnson couldn’t get past the bright orange chipped finger nails as Sonya pointed to and explained her resume. Sonya had the right experience and the Johnson’s saw her eyes shine bright as she spoke with the children. But as Sonya left, Mrs. Johnson said to her husband… “She was wonderful, but will she teach our girls to care for their bodies and look respectable?”
While the small details such as hair and nails may seem petty, they communicate how you care for yourself and in turn how you will care for children. These details can speak volumes when you are under a microscope. No matter who you are interviewing with, you should put your best foot forward, so to speak.
In my personal opinion, a nice, clean casual outfit is best. For example: khaki pants or pressed jeans and a simple collared shirt. Stay away from tight fitting clothes or plunging neckline. Also, strong perfumes and heavy make-up may leave a lasting impression, and not the good kind. You will want to dress comfortable enough to get on the floor in case you end up playing with kids. Hair can be up or down, but out of the eyes. Finger nails should be properly manicured. I personally think that dressing up in a suit or heels is too much and doesn’t fit the casual nature of the job. It is unlikely that in the privacy of their own home that parents play with their kids dressed to the nines.”
TLC for Kids is looking for experienced nannies to fill full time and part time jobs. Contact us at email@example.com to learn more.
Are you interviewing for nanny positions? If so, chances are the family may want to set up a phone interview. The phone interview helps makes a large group of candidates more manageable. Typically, phone interviews are held prior to a face-to-face interview and last about 10-15 minutes.
During a phone interview you can expect:
1. General questions like, “What drew you to our position?” or “What do you like about being a nanny?”
2. The family will probably go through their schedule and job requirements over the phone to make sure they still fit your needs.
3. Know the family’s salary range and be prepared to tell them what you are looking for in terms of a salary.
4. Have a list of references and their contact information handy in case they ask.
5. Make sure you have your calendar with you so you can set up a face-to-face interview if asked.