No other word in the English language brings parents more delight, or strikes more boredom into the heart of a preschooler, than “nap.” According to KidsHealth, preschoolers require at least 10 to 12 hours of sleep at night, plus one additional nap. Your preschooler might protest this process, especially if he is cranky and overtired. Getting an uncooperative preschooler to nap, or at least play quietly in his room, is possible without yelling or the shedding of tears.
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Lead your preschooler to her bedroom, but do not under any circumstances tell her it's “naptime.” This will cause more resistance. Instead, tell your preschooler that it's “quiet” time and that she must remain in her bedroom.
Play soothing music for your preschooler. A soothing song helps your preschooler relax and wind down. Avoid allowing the preschooler to watch television. Naptime is about relaxing and sleeping, not playing or watching a favorite TV show.
Turn down the music once your preschooler falls asleep. Resist the urge to move the preschooler to his bed; instead, give him a pillow and blanket and let him sleep where he lies. If he doesn't fall asleep, rest assured that the quiet rest time will still help to recharge his batteries.
Create a naptime routine. KidsHealth suggests parents set up a regular nap routine if a preschooler is acting sleepy during the day, becomes irritable in the late afternoon or has trouble focusing on schoolwork or other activities. These are signs your preschooler isn't getting enough sleep, and implementing a regular naptime helps recharge his battery for more afternoon play. Even if your preschooler refuses to sleep, a few minutes of quiet time each day goes a long way toward preventing a fussy meltdown later.
- Adjust your nap schedule if it's interfering with your preschooler's bedtime. If this isn't possible, and your preschooler insists on taking that late-afternoon snooze, KidsHealth urges parents to remember that a well-rested preschooler is easier to settle down at night than an overtired, unruly kid.
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