Whether you are staying at home this summer or heading away on holiday, there are many reasons why your child might not be able to nap as well as usual. First of all, there’s the heat. You might also have noisy school-age children rampaging around for six weeks. In addition, if you are travelling anywhere, the change of routine can also affect their sleep.
But we all know that naps are important for younger kids and the consequences of missing them can be stressful for everyone. So here are some tips for helping your child to nap better this summer.
Battling the heat
It is bad enough for adults getting a good night’s sleep during the hottest days of summer, but when your child needs a nap at the warmest part of the day it can seem an impossibility. Whether you are at home or abroad in summer, it is likely to be much warmer than usual. However, there are some things you can do to keep their room as cool as possible and give them the best chance of nodding off.
- Don’t open the curtains or windows in the morning. Direct sun can heat the room up and open windows allow the warmer air from outside in. During hot weather, it is actually cooler inside than out.
- Make sure they are well hydrated. Often the issues with napping are down to dehydration. So ensure they drink regularly all morning and provide them with a cup of water during their nap.
- Fill a hot water bottle with ice cold water. When it’s time to nap, take it out and put a cover over it. This is really important so that the icy water bottle doesn’t make direct contact. This will cool down their cot nicely.
- Get them some cotton pyjamas. You might be tempted to strip them off to their nappy, but actually this isn’t that helpful. Sweat is designed to cool us down. Cotton absorbs it and helps keep kids cool in their cot.
Overcoming the noise
Your young child’s older siblings and their friends have six weeks to fill and boundless energy to work off. This can create a noisy environment during the summer, which is not ideal when a toddler is trying to kip. If you have gone away, they can also be gidy at having somewhere new to explore. Here are some ideas for keeping your older children quiet during nap time.
- Stick a film on the TV. In the summer, older children can often just keep going all day. But it is actually beneficial if they take an hour or so to calm down every day. Coincide this with nap time and you solve two problems in one.
- Set them a daily craft task. Children can get lost in craft. The need to concentrate focuses their minds for a short time at least. When the younger child goes to sleep, set your older ones up with glue, card, glitter and scissors and get creative. If you are heading away on holiday, either pack these items with you or make a beeline for a supermarket when you reach your destination.
- Send them outside. If you have space on the side of your home or the place in which you’re staying away from where the toddler naps, you can send the older kids there to complete a bug search, treasure hunt, game of football or whatever.
Naps are part of your child’s routine and routine is important for kids. The change in routine of having elder siblings at home or of being somewhere new for a week or two can affect how well they nap. Thankfully, there are some ways to minimise the disruption to them.
- Try to keep your usual routine as much as possible. As annoying as it might be to have to make time on a day out for your young child to eat or sleep at their regular time, it will help them feel more settled.
- Bring some home comforts. If you are going away, make sure you bring your child’s favourite teddy and anything else they usually have at nap time. For example, bring their special night light or sleeping bag.
- Use the same cot at home or away. Having their own cot with them will help them feel more settled when they go to nap. It might sound ridiculous that you could lug the cot your child uses from home to your holiday destination, but it is possible. The Graco Foldlite Travel Cot is great for use at home, with its durable build and wipe clean surfaces. But it also folds down in seconds to just 26cm wide for storage and even tinier for travel, meaning it is really easy to take on holiday, in the UK or abroad. It is also 30% lighter than traditional travel cots.
Read our review of the Graco Foldlite Travel Cot to find out more.
Whether at home or away, visit Graco’s dedicated advice hub for tips and advice for a stress-free summer.
Note: This article was produced in partnership with Graco