Sleep solutions served up here, III

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  June 30, 2009 06:00 AM

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Naps. Wouldn't you like one about now? Why can't we just take them instead of our kids who clearly don't appreciate a good thing when they have it.

My son is 15 1/2 months old and still takes two naps. He seemed to be giving up the morning nap as he wouldn't sleep so we tried one afternoon nap but he was miserable. He doesn't always sleep a long time in the afternoon though and is very tired at night, even with the 2 naps. He used to fall right asleep at night but now he rolls around for awhile regardless of what time we put him in. He doesn't cry or get mad, but he takes a long time to fall asleep now.

Should we force the one nap? Is there something we should do in order for him to fall asleep faster? Or, is this nothing to worry about and he will transition on his own when he is ready?

Thanks,
From: Lynn, of Boston

Hi Lynn,

Two things: (1) If you put a child down and he or she rolls around for an hour, the bedtime is too early. (2) At this age, a second nap is probably to blame for him not being able to fall asleep.

Pediatric sleep specialist Richard Ferber of Children’s Hospital Boston suggests going with your instinct and imposing a one- nap schedule, right after lunch.

But be patient. His body may need as much as two weeks to accommodate the new schedule and it’s only repetition and consistency of doing this a bunch of days in a row that will give his body the signal to redistribute the sleeping needs and hours.

“It’s like changing time zones, or having jet lag,” Ferber says. "It takes time to adjust to and there's a lot of irritability that goes with it."

By the way, the new edition of Ferber's "Solve your Child's Sleep Problems" has a whole chapter on naps.

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2 comments so far...
  1. What worked well for us when transitioning to one afternoon nap was to make sure there was a good snack in the morning, then be sure to be doing something fun and distracting during the nap time (playground, etc). Go home, have lunch, right to nap. There were a couple of days where lunch wound up being after the nap, but at least the nap was at the right time. It was very smooth.

    Posted by akmom June 30, 09 01:38 PM
  1. Maybe your child is just using the time to wind down. If he's not complaining, that time might be just hitting the spot for him. Also, it could be that the daylight, this time of year, is confusing him. Lots of times, young children, who are used to going to bed when it gets dark, get confused when the dark comes well after "bed time."

    Posted by wg67 July 1, 09 03:11 PM
 
2 comments so far...
  1. What worked well for us when transitioning to one afternoon nap was to make sure there was a good snack in the morning, then be sure to be doing something fun and distracting during the nap time (playground, etc). Go home, have lunch, right to nap. There were a couple of days where lunch wound up being after the nap, but at least the nap was at the right time. It was very smooth.

    Posted by akmom June 30, 09 01:38 PM
  1. Maybe your child is just using the time to wind down. If he's not complaining, that time might be just hitting the spot for him. Also, it could be that the daylight, this time of year, is confusing him. Lots of times, young children, who are used to going to bed when it gets dark, get confused when the dark comes well after "bed time."

    Posted by wg67 July 1, 09 03:11 PM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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