Breaking Free of the Short Nap


I don’t know about you but I NEED my kids to take their naps. I don’t care what’s going on in the day, naps are always a priority. And when you can get all your kids to sleep at the same time, oh my…that’s pretty much equivalent to the best day of my life!!! (to be honest, I really wish it happened more often but that’s another topic) But the worst thing in this world is when you FINALLY get your kids down for their naps and 30 minutes later you hear them awake. Not only is it frustrating, but it’s exhausting. How can you begin fixing short naps to make them long and refreshing for your child…and you.

Here are a few causes of these short naps…

  • Your baby is overtired.
  • Your baby is not tired enough.
  • Your baby doesn’t know how to self soothe.
  • It’s too bright in their room.
  • Outside noises are waking your child up.
  • Your baby is starving.
  • There is no pre-nap routine.

  • How do you begin to fix these issues…

    Start by looking at the bigger picture. How are you getting your child to sleep? Are they fully asleep when you place them in their crib? Do they need to be swinging, rocking, moving in order to stay asleep? How you get your baby to fall asleep for their naps time can make or break a nap. If you are the one getting them to sleep, it’s time to begin teaching your child how to self soothe. It’s vital, especially if you want your baby to sleep longer then 30 minutes.

    If your child is falling asleep on their own, but it doesn’t matter what happens, they continually wake at the exact time each day, start by using the wake to sleep approach. You will start by setting an alarm for 5 to 10 minutes prior to your child’s set nap wakeup time. You will walk in and gently stir them, enough for them to just move a bit. DO NOT WAKE THEM UP!!! What this does is break up their sleep cycle which eventually breaks up their internal set body clock (what’s waking them up so early). If your child fully wakes as you are working out the approach, don’t stress too much. Try again. Continue using the Wake to Sleep approach for up to 7 days or until you see the habitual short naps cease.

    Often times I see the only reason why a child is waking and not falling back to sleep for their nap is because mom or dad run right in during the first sounds of movement and cause more stimulation then was needed. Instead of rushing in, give them a set amount of time to try and figure out how to put themselves back to sleep. Try this: For two weeks, give them at least a one hour nap time. If they wake early from this one hour duration, leave them in their crib UNTIL that full hour is up. Your goal is that they fall back asleep! Just know, this won’t be easy. Your child is use to being out once they start waking from their nap so there will definitely be some tears. If you don’t feel comfortable having your child cry for the entire duration, give them a time you feel comfortable letting them go to. Make a brief check with little communication and stimulation, step out, and continue your set time. Do this until the full hour is over. Remember, give this two weeks. Stay consistent and follow thru the exact same way, each and every time!



    Melissa Perry - Headshot 3

    I'm Melissa

    My name is Melissa Perry and I am the luckiest wife to my incredible husband and mother of three amazing children. I have been surrounded with children all my life. I began my career as a babysitter at the tender age of ten helping my father care for my three little sisters. During college, I was a full time nanny and gained experience in all ages from infants to pre-teens.

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