Children aged 3-6 typically need around 10 to 12 hours sleep per night in addition to about an hour or so of daytime naps. At age 3, most preschoolers still need daytime naps but as they grow older, naps become shorter and they eventually stop daytime naps.
Why napping is important
We all know the importance of sleep, especially for our children’s health, growth, and development. Research tells us that when children get enough sleep, they’re more able to:
- Learn faster and better: Children who take naps regularly are known to process information better, and do better at memory games.
- Are less irritated and tired: Parents know very well how difficult it gets to deal with a tired toddler: incessant crying, and tantrums. The right amount of sleep is known to help lift the mood of everyone
- Are less susceptible to infections and illnesses.
- Stay fit: Studies show that kids who do not get enough sleep tend to have higher rates of obesity. They get cranky and binge eat on unhealthy snack,leading to unhealthy weight gain. Also, as they get tired from not sleeping, they do not have the energy to be active and get exercise.
What causes disruption of sleep
A young child’s night sleep can be severely disrupted if they don’t get enough sleep during the day, of if their afternoon nap is too close to bedtime.
Children of all ages need adequate sleep and rest. Even if your child sleeps well at night, they still need a daytime nap, or two, until at least around the age of two and a half to three years.
A preschoolers nap can often get disrupted by several programs or even just life (school life basically). The transition from sleeping at home to now sleeping next to about 15 more people in an unfamiliar cot. Another reason for disruption of your preschoolers nap can be tiredness and also your little one’s resistance.
Why kids resist naps
Some toddlers are known to not want to take a nap for several reasons:
- They more often than not are engaged in an activity they do not want to miss out on
- They may be too anxious or excited about something
- They do not want to sleep alone
- Their usual routine does not include a daytime nap
- They are hungry or thirsty.
While all these may pose a problem to making a child sleep, with a bit of planning, you should be on your way to having a child who takes his or her required naps.
Tips for better nap time
- Give your child the opportunity to engage in physical activity and to get plenty of fresh air
- Set a routine and try as much as possible to stick to it
- When you see that your child is yawning or rubbing her eyes, put her down in a room that is cool and not totally well lit.
- Make sure she is comfortable and wearing a fresh nappy
- You can stay with her for a few minutes to make her comfortable or read a story
- Leave the room door open so she can hear your footsteps and know that you’re around
- Even if they don’t nap, the rest is still beneficial.
Above all, find out what works for you and your family and stick to it. What works for one family may not work for you, so find yours and stick to it. Also speak with your child’s teachers and let them know your routine. Make sure if your little one isn’t napping, you can commit to the early bedtime.