Toddler Naps: Developing Healthy Sleep Habits

Toddler Naps: Developing Healthy Sleep Habits

As adults, we know the feeling of not having enough sleep. We are grouchy and unfocused. All we have on our minds is going back to bed. For a toddler, not having enough sleep can be a miserable feeling for a little body. Toddlers are learning to work out their emotions, and being tired can exacerbate the tiniest of annoyances.

The solution to all of these sleepy woes? Healthy sleep habits.

What Is Healthy Sleep?

We all need sleep. Our body needs it to rest and recover from the day’s activities. Our minds need to help with our memories and learning. For our fast-growing toddlers, sleep is especially important to keep little minds and little bodies healthy and growing.

Research shows that children who have consistent, healthy sleep are better behaved, can pay more attention and focus, learn easier, remember more, and have better physical health. All the signs point to having healthy sleep habits.

We know the importance of a healthy diet, which means eating plenty of healthy foods. As much as we may wish, eating junk food all day and having one healthy snack is not necessarily eating healthy. Same with sleep, healthy sleep also means getting enough sleep.

For toddlers, a healthy amount of sleep is between eleven and fourteen hours. This is the total amount of sleep per day, including naps and overnight sleeping. Your toddler needs varying amounts of sleep depending on the day’s activities, and you’re the best judge of how much sleep your toddler needs to have a good day.

Why Is Nap Time Crucial?

Your child’s nap will help get them through the day. Younger toddlers may need two naps in their nap schedule, one in the late morning and another in the afternoon. As your toddler gets older, you can whittle that down to a single nap according to the amount of sleep your child needs. You can determine your toddler’s need for a nap by paying close attention to their attention span and behavior throughout the day.

Daytime sleep, thanks to naps, can help prevent your toddler from getting overtired. An overtired toddler can feel irritable and have a harder time falling asleep at night. Then the vicious cycle of not being able to sleep and not getting enough sleep begins. Naps are the best tools in your toolbox to keep your toddler content and well-rested.

As a parent, you may start to see that an afternoon nap can affect your toddler’s bedtime later on. If you see that your little one is at the point of not needing a nap routine anymore but is still a little cranky and overtired when bedtime comes, adjust for an earlier bedtime. Your toddler will likely be ready for bed after a full day of playing and learning.

How Can I Create a Healthy Sleep Environment?

Developing a healthy sleep environment is important for developing healthy sleep habits for younger children. Research also supports healthy sleep environments as well, showing that better quality sleep is obtained when rooms are better suited for sleep.

Make your toddler’s room a healthy sleep environment and ensure they get plenty of zzzs by setting them up for sleepy success.

Dark & Cool

A dark and cool room is like extending a personal invitation to sleepiness. Blackout curtains are great for daytime naps and when the sun lingers in the evening during the spring and summer. We don’t want any of the sun’s pesky rays to interrupt your toddler's circadian rhythms while doing their job at helping your toddler unwind for bed.

Exposure to light can affect your toddler’s circadian rhythms and keep them awake, even though the clock shows that it is bedtime. You want their surroundings to be dim and mellow close to bedtime so they can meet their sleep needs.

Although sunlight can be a culprit in keeping your toddler awake, light from screens can do the same. We know the hold that Cocomelon has over the toddler population, but cutting out screen time at least an hour before going to sleep helps your toddler unwind and get ready for bed.

Toddlers may not want their rooms to be pitch black, which is understandable! Install a dim night light so they have a little light in their room if they wake up in the middle of the night to keep them feeling safe and secure.

A fan keeps things cool and makes your toddler want to snuggle and get cozy in their blankets. A lower temperature is also conducive to sleepiness.

Cut Out the Noise

It’s a no-brainer that a noisy room is not a room where sleep can take place. A quiet room is a more welcome place for the zzzs to visit, and that means taking into account any outside noises that can be heard from indoors. Using a fan or white noise machine can drown out the traffic or household noises.

Bedding

We want our bedding to be comfy. Now that your toddler is over a year old, they have likely graduated from the crib to a big boy or big girl bed. Allow your toddler to pick out their bedding and any loveys they want to cuddle with.

The more buy-in your toddler has with their sleeping arrangements, the more likely they will be excited to be tucked in with their choices.

What Should a Bedtime Routine Entail?

Your toddler can have the most sleep-friendly bedroom on the block, but they also have to be prepared to shut their eyes and head to dreamland. Enter the sleep routine. Having a consistent bedtime routine paired with a sleepy environment is one of the best ways to ensure that your toddler gets the quality and healthy sleep they need, and it may even help prevent certain sleep problems in young children.

Toddlers respond wonderfully to routine, and the bedtime routine is certainly no exception. Keep the bedtime routine consistent and simple. You want to have a routine that your toddler is able to predict easily. This gives your toddler stability and a sense of feeling secure.

Your toddler’s bedtime routine can have as many steps as you like, but the simpler, the better. Starting a bedtime routine while your child is young sets them up for success, as they will likely stick to some form of a bedtime routine as they grow older.

Little Yawn Collective has your back when it comes to a bedtime routine. Our sleepy solutions fit perfectly into the steps leading up to the final cuddle and kiss goodnight.

When it comes to naptime during the day, you can run through a mini version of their bedtime routine. Your toddler will recognize the cues that it is time to unwind and relax for some quality shut-eye.

Snack Time

A healthy bedtime snack and drink keeps your toddler from using the famous phrases to avoid bedtime. “I’m hungry” and “I’m thirsty” may be less likely to occur if you proactively plan for a bedtime snack.

You can give your child our Calming Probiotic & Organic Chamomile Sleep Drops during snack time. Simply mix the drops into your child’s cup of milk, juice or water and they’ll be off to a great sleep!

These naturally sourced sleep drops are melatonin-free and help to encourage restful zzzs as you go through their bedtime routine.

Bath Time

It feels nice to climb into bed when you are nice and clean. A warm bath is just the thing to start to unwind from the busy day of being a toddler. Get your toddler squeaky clean and feeling relaxed with a Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula.

This gentle cleanser is perfect for your toddler’s sensitive skin and is infused with our NaturalSnooze fragrance, featuring scents proven to create an environment that helps with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Jammy Time

After a towel-down and hair brushing, allow your toddler some buy-in by having them select their pajamas. Offer two options, and let your toddler choose which pair they would like to sleep in.

Moisturize their skin with our Body Lotion and Oat & Shea Butter, making your baby smell wonderful and getting them cozy and ready for their nighttime sleep. This product is infused with our NaturalSnooze fragrance so your toddler feels snoozy from the bathtub to their bedroom.

Storytime

Storytime is a wonderful time of the day. Your clean toddler is snuggled close to you, and they are ready to hear a comforting story from their favorite person, you! Give the room a spritz with a Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray, and breathe in the dreamy scents.

Your toddler will feel fully relaxed and ready to head to dreamland. A sweet cuddle and kiss goodnight helps your baby sleep feeling loved and comforted.

The Bottom Line

Toddlers need sleep, and you also need your toddler to sleep! Setting up your toddler with healthy sleep habits will be one of the best gifts you can give your child. Being well-rested sets them up for success in playtime, schooltime, and the rest of their life.

Your pals at Little Yawn Collective want you to rest easy. With our sleep solutions, we’re here to make bedtime a breeze!

Sources:

How Much Sleep Do Babies and Kids Need? | Sleep Foundation

Naps (for Parents) | Nemours KidsHealth

Bedroom Environment: What Elements Are Important? | Sleep Foundation

Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms | NIOSH | CDC

The Importance of Sleep for Kids | Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

 

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