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.
Our guest post today comes from International Nanny Association.
You’ve finished your search and have finally hired the best-fit nanny for your family, but where do you go from here to ensure that you develop the best possible nanny relationship ongoing?
In every new job, both the employer and employee will be trying to make the best possible impression. Venturing into new territory will mean that the nanny may try different approaches and end up keeping some, while changing others. Adjusting to the expectations of the job and forming a bond with the children and family will take time. Rome, the perfect romance, and a long-lasting nanny relationship aren’t built overnight (or in two weeks); be patient and realistic.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
You hired this professional for a reason. That being said, she’s human. She may do things differently than you do, or would do. That doesn’t make them wrong. People have diverse ways of handling children. It’s easy to pick up on these variances, especially in the beginning, but try to be respectful and give your new nanny the space she needs to blossom in your household. Carefully weigh what really matters. Certainly, something involving a safety concern or a personal boundary you’d communicate about, but if she gets your child dressed in another order than you do or has a varied teeth brushing routine, it may not be worth worrying about. In fact, many parents comment on how much they’ve gained from having another adult around, with years of childcare experience, who second handedly taught them a great deal, if they were open-minded and willing to see other methods through this lens. At the end of the day, if your children are well cared for and you trust her, then that speaks volumes.
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.
“Not paying your nanny taxes may seem like an easy way to save some money and not have to deal with the hassles of calculating and remitting taxes. Plus, if you don’t pay nanny taxes, how is anyone going to find out? Your nanny is on board as she gets a few extra dollars in her paycheck. You’re not running for political office or being nominated for a position in government. And those are only the people who get caught not paying nanny taxes, right?
There are a number of ways to easily get caught if you don’t pay nanny taxes. Most will end up with you paying much more in fines and penalties than in the actual tax responsibility you chose to ignore.”
Our friends at GTM Payroll Services have laid it all our for you, and what can happen if you avoid Nanny Taxes.
If you have been to the toy aisles of your local EverythingMart lately, you know how overwhelming shopping for toys can be. There are so many choices! Do you choose based on age? Gender? Television show or movie tie-in? How in the world can you figure out how to best stock your playroom with toys that the kids will actually play with? It is very disheartening to buy a toy that you’re sure your child will love, only to have them play with it for a day and then shove it in the bottom of the toy box. In this article I am going to share some tips for getting the most bang for your buck in the toy aisle!
There are many things to consider before bringing a toy into your playroom – especially if you are concerned with creating an atmosphere that is fun, supports your family’s values, and promotes early learning. The toy industry’s marketing machine is a huge behemoth that will make you feel that if you love your children, you always have to be buying the latest and greatest buzzing, light up, battery-operated monstrosity. Don’t get me wrong- some of those toys can be FUN! There is certainly a time and place for them.
However, there are a few other things to consider when choosing a toy … read more from Nannypalooza.com
As a nanny, the family you work for is like your second family. You want to find the perfect gifts for the parents and children you adore, but they may be a bit difficult to please. This holiday season, take into consideration the family members’ personality types, brainstorm thoughtful gifts, identify undeniably helpful, practical items and employ efficient and skillful shopping methods. With the right approach, you are sure to find gifts that will wow. Here are some tips and methods that will help you find the perfect gifts for your nanny-family:
A gift won’t make an impact unless it is something that relates to the giftee’s personality. You want your gift to reflect the child or parent that you give it to. Have a brainstorming session where you write down each family member’s name and explore the most prominent parts of their personality. Identify traits, hobbies, likes and dislikes so you have a thorough list for each individual. Record your list and brainstormed thoughts on a digital or physical notepad so you can use this as a guide when you shop for gifts. If you struggle to come up with ideas on your own, write down some questions you can ask the children or parents to find out more about them. Make sure you do this in a tactful way, so you don’t come off as too intrusive or give away the fact that you’re searching for the perfect gift.
Separation anxiety does not have a particular “cause.” It is a perfectly normal and important developmental adaptation of a child’s emotional and mental growth. Nothing you have done has “made” your child develop separation anxiety.
Even though separation anxiety has not been caused by any particular action or event, there are caregiver actions that can either heighten or reduce a child’s normal anxiety. There are many things that can help build a child’s trust and confidence in his relationship with you so that he can transfer these feelings to other trusted adults who will help him feel safe away from his home base.
Nearly all children experience some aspect of separation anxiety. For some children the stage begins earlier, even at a few months of age. For some, the effects begin later, and some children have anxiety that lasts for longer spells than others. Some children have very visible, intense or obvious indicators of their feelings, but there are also children who have less apparent reactions. There is no exact pattern or set of symptoms, but almost all children have it to some degree.
The development of separation anxiety demonstrates that your child has formed a healthy, loving attachment to you. It is a beautiful sign that your child associates pleasure, comfort, and security with your presence.
This stage, like so many others in childhood, will pass. In time, your child will learn that she can separate from you, that you will return, and that everything will be okay between those two points in time. Much of this learning is based on trust and experience, which, just as for every human being young or old, takes time to build.
by Elizabeth Pantley, Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution (McGraw-Hill, 2009).
Children need to be taught the proper way how to care for their teeth as soon as their teeth begin to develop – and if you start them on the habit early, they’ll have good dental hygiene as an adult.
You’ll have to carefully brush a baby’s teeth with a soft brush and don’t use any toothpaste until your child is aware that the toothpaste shouldn’t be swallowed. For most children, that awareness is around the age of two.
By this age, under adult supervision, children should be in the habit of brushing their teeth – and if you make it fun, children will want to brush their teeth. By the time a child reaches kindergarten age, he should be able to brush his teeth without adult supervision.
Children should avoid sugary snacks like lollipops that coat the teeth with sugar for long periods of time – and they should also avoid high sugar beverages that can damage the tooth enamel.
Though it’s a fairly common practice, discourage your child from thumb sucking, which can lead to buck teeth and poor tooth alignment. Teach your child to keep his fingers out of his mouth, since this is one of the main ways that kids pick up germs.
If your child is very young, to help him understand and get into the habit of taking care of his teeth, use a colorful chart to teach about good oral hygiene. You can use a blank calendar that has squares for every day of the week and let him put a check mark in the box every time he brushes his teeth.
Kids should learn about flossing as soon as they’re able to hold the floss and should floss every single day. Regular dental visits should be begin as soon as your child starts to have teeth, because regular visits can catch small problems before they become big problems.
Children should brush at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. If your child isn’t old enough yet, and you need to brush for him, brush the outside of the teeth first from the back to the front and then switch to the back of the teeth. Make sure you brush the tongue as well.
Your child’s toothbrush should be changed regularly – every twelve weeks – or sooner, if the bristles are damaged. Also, your child’s toothbrush should be changed after every illness because the bristles can house the germs that caused the infection. Don’t store toothbrushes in covered containers, since this provides a breeding ground for germs.
Saturday April 20th is National Nanny Training Day. TLC For Kids is proud to sponsor this event and we are looking forward to spending time with all the great nannies in St. Louis. We have a few spots remaining so give us a call today!
Here is the agenda:
Session #1A (9:30-11:30): FEW SPOTS REMAINING
Safe to Sleep/Sleep Training/Knowledge from the NICU
Kelly Weygandt ( a TLC client) will present Safe to Sleep program, which strives to educate parents, caregivers and medical personnel about how to reduce the risk of SIDS and SIDS related death.
Learn strategies that caregivers may share with parents to promote healthy sleep habits in young children in order to help them to independently and peacefully go to sleep and stay asleep.
Anna Schmidt is a registered nurse in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital NICU. She will share with our nannies tips on comforting newborns and feeding preemies.
Session #1B (9:30 – 11:30)
Why Won’t They Just Behave? – Addressing challenging behavior and inclusion of preschool-age children.
United 4 Children http://united4children.org
Come to this training and learn ways to work with even the most challenging children. If you want to learn more then redirection and praise this class is for you. We will talk about all forms of positive discipline as well as ways you can be proactive with all the children in your care to teach them conflict resolution, emotional literacy, and impulse control. You will leave with practical strategies you can begin using in your program on Monday morning. Working with children with special needs will also be discussed in this training.
Break (11:30 – 12:15)
Chat sessions with other nannies/temp sitters/Lunch.
Bring your own lunch.
TLC’s Jessica Friedman will initiate the chat session by introducing nannies and temps to her Meetup Group specifically designed for nannies to get together. We know working as a nanny can be quite isolating, but it needn’t be!