Cry it out for nap training. If you are against cry it out, please do not continue reading.
Nap is crucial. Nap training teaches your child to sleep independently, which leads to longer nap.
Dark and quiet place. Use blackout shades and noise machine. Nap in a crib if at all possible. If out and about, be creative. Choose a quiet place, buy black out cover/large blanket for stroller., carry a portable noise machine etc. You have to set your child up for success.
Child older than 6 months.
- Choose a schedule and follow it. Google “baby sleep how much when how long”. Or choose any schedule that seems reliable.
- Read BEDTIME SLEEP TRAINING . Your child need to know how to sleep unassisted at night first before nap training by cry it out method.
- Get rid of any sleep crutch ie. pacifier, mobile, swings etc.
- For each nap, ensure your child is not over/under tired, too little/too much stimulation and avoid micronap (sleep drive dissipates quickly)
- Use a modified bedtime routine for every.single.nap. No matter where you are. Make sure he/she is comfortable prior to nap. (well fed, not thirsty, dry diaper etc).
- When your child is ready, do the cry it out for nap training. Nap training is a lot harder than bedtime sleep training. Be patient and persistent.
- Be ready to implement temporary super early bedtime during nap training to prevent sleep debt.
- Stimulate as much as possible in between nap.
RULE OF THUMB
- Nap training is harder than night time. Nap is light sleep.
- Nap sleep cycle is around 45 min. Teaching your child to connect nap sleep cycles is the key to nap training.
- Beware of cat naps. Your child will be refreshed enough to stay awake for awhile, but not enough to prevent sleep debt.
- Protect nap time and MAKE your child nap.
- Motion sleep (stroller, car sleep etc) is light sleep. Best to sleep in crib.
- Nap < 60 minutes is not restorative.
- Beware of late naps. It will mess with nighttime sleep and create a vicious cycle.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION : (less than 6 months)
Single sleep cycle naps are normal. Not worth doing nap training. Ensure adequate nap by:
- Assisted sleep but follow your choice of sleep schedule. (See above). Use stroller, swing, baby wearing etc. Make sure your child get the appropriate duration and frequency of nap.
- Unassisted but frequent naps (4-6 naps): enough cat naps to make it to bedtime relatively well rested. (Sleep deprived children have bedtime struggle). This works for kids in daycare.