Why should a child take a nap? What is sleep good for?
The sleep needs of young children are very important. As a reminder, during their first weeks of life, the infantsare sleepingbetween 14 and 18 hours a day and wake up every 2 or 3 hours to nurse and play with their parents. From two months oldthem waking periods are getting longer but babies still have to take a nap several times a day to recharge their batteries.
If the nap is good at any age, it is essential in children until about the age of 3, recalls Dr. Rosa Jové, child psychiatrist.
In fact, babies get tired quickly and become very stressed by everything going on around them. They are permanently stimulated and need times during the day to recuperate. The naps help children to to rest. This way when they are awake they are in good condition to learn and develop their cognitive faculties.
How many naps should a child take per day based on their age?
Whether at the crèche or with a childminder, the daily rhythm nap toddlers. The number of naps in the day varies according to the child’s age and needs.
- Before the age of six monthsthe infant sleeps a lot and several times a day.
- ” From six monthsthe baby usually does two naps, the first one must be short (less than an hour) and the secondlonger (about two hours), says Dr. Rosa Jové.
- Next, at the age of one yearchildren often stop sleeping in the morning but continue to take a nap for about two hours in the afternoon.
- Then, the closer they get to the age of three years, the more the duration decreases.
Of course, these data are statistical and each child is different! “.
How long should a nap be?
There is no hard and fast rules about the duration of naps : this often evolves into depending on age and physiological needs toddlers. “When children are young, they take more and longer naps,” confirms Dr. Rosa Jové. The more they grow, the more the rhythm changes. The naps are short and especially less numerous. For example, a newborn can take four naps a day and sleep three hours in one nap; while a three-year-old child will only take a single nap during the day and this will not last more than an hour. »
Until what age should he take a nap?
The sleep needs being very important in young children for their balance, it is recommended that they do the siesta until the age of three. Do not hesitate to put baby to bed as soon as he presents signs of tiredness : he yawns, rubs his eyes, etc. Of course, as with adults, there are heavy and short sleepers. And that, parents can’t help it! Thus, some children will need less sleep than others. If baby refuses to nap, there is no need to force him. On the other hand, you can offer him a quiet timein his room.
Song, story: should we set up rituals?
Should you read a little story to your child before nap? “I don’t like rituals, neither for the night nor for naps, admits the specialist. If the child is sleepy and the person putting him to sleep is someone known and loved, the routines are not necessary. Sometimes they can even have the opposite effect: the child anticipates that bedtime is approaching and, since he does not want to sleep or is not sleepy, he becomes more nervous sooner! »
Depending on his age, should he sleep more in the morning or in the afternoon?
- Before the age of 6 monthsthe infant has need to sleep in the morning and afternoon.
- ” After 6 months of ageif baby takes two naps during the day, one must take place in the morningabout three hours after waking up and the other seven hours later, says Dr. Rosa Jové. That is to say that if he wakes up at 7 a.m., he must take a first nap around 10 a.m. and the second at 2 p.m. Of course, this is approximate, there is nothing fixed and the organization can change according to the needs of each child !
- Finally, when baby only takes one nap a day, it should take place about five and a half hours after getting up. So if he gets up at 7 a.m., the siesta should be at 1:30 p.m.
You tend to put your baby to sleep in the dark total and to walk on tiptoe as soon as he falls of sleep ? This is not helpful. On the contrary : leave shutters or blinds ajar and make some noise will allow your child to better distinguish day from night and build their own benchmarks. “The location doesn’t matter,” adds Dr. Rosa Jové. Better sometimes not getting your child used to a specific place because, like the naps are taken during the dayif he only knows how to sleep in his room, he will prevent his parents from doing other activities (shopping, walking, etc.). On the other hand, if the baby is very sensitive to noise and light, he is better to find a calm, silent and darker place, but it need not always be the same. »
Do you have to wake baby from his nap? For example, to eat?
Difficult to resign oneself to waking up baby when he is sleeping soundly. And this, even if dinner time is approaching! “During the first four months of life, it is necessary to avoid waking a babyexcept in special cases such aspremature babies or very weak babies, who need to be fed frequently, explains the Morpheus Network. growth hormone is secreted during sleep, so it is important that a baby can sleep as much as he wants”. Words echoed by those of the child psychiatrist: “If the child sleeps well the rest of the day and night, it is useless to get him out of his sleep, reassures the child psychiatrist. On the other hand, if he sleeps “too much” during the day and therefore less at night, you can wake him up. »
What if baby cries and doesn’t want to take a nap?
It happens that baby refuses to nap. The important thing is to ask questions about the origin of this refusal : Is he have digestive problems?Is it too hot? Is Ichild suffers from teething ? Sometimes it just happens that the toddler is too weary and that he paradoxically expresses his state by great agitation and a refusal of everything. The nap will then be necessary for him to recharge his batteries! Finally, if he has not taken a nap several afternoons in a row but shows no signs of fatigue, it may simply be that he has changed pace and that he grows up. And that is good news! Rather than forcing him to take a nap, offer him a quiet timein his room, with booksa toy or the music. If he falls asleep, so much the better… if he stays awake, too bad, this little break will already be beneficial!