Establishing a Nap Time Routine

Establishing a naptime routine

How not to do nap time.

Some babies settle more quickly into a nap routine than others, but the majority of babies are ready for a two-nap routine by about 6 months old.

I started creating a daily routine with my daughter at about that age and I could definitely tell that she was ready for a more predictable nap time at that point. I’ve never been much for strict schedules where things need to happen at the same time each day, but our days certainly go smoother when things happen in the same order each day. If you are nearing or at the point of creating a nap routine, hopefully our experience can give you some helpful ideas.

The first thing that I did to establish our nap routine was to pay careful attention to my daughterʼs tired signals for a week or so. I kept track of when we got up for the day and when she fell asleep for naps. I found that she generally fell asleep for her first nap about two hours after we got up for the day, and then fell asleep for the second nap about three hours after her first nap ended.
 With that knowledge, I began creating our nap routine.

About half an hour before I expected my daughter to fall asleep for the morning nap, I would change her diaper, read a story and then nurse her. By the time she was nursing, she was nice and sleepy and would go down for her nap very easily. I did essentially the same thing for her afternoon nap.

I made sure that lunch happened about an hour or so before I expected her to be tired so that I had about a half an hour free to get her all ready for her nap in time for her to fall asleep easily.
After just a few weeks of this new nap time strategy, our days became comfortably predictable.

My daughter does really well with this type of nap routine, and I love how flexible it could be. No matter what time we woke up or how long a nap lasted, we had a great guideline for the day that helped to facilitate good naps. Hopefully our strategy can be helpful to others who are looking for a great, flexible naptime routine!

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and newborn boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!

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