Shifting Schedules – When to Change from Two Naps to One Nap
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution
During the early years of life, nap schedules are in a continuous state of change. After a newborn period of all-day napping, babies eventually settle into a regular two-nap-a-day routine. Most children switch from these two daily naps to one nap sometime between the ages of 12 and 24 months. However, that year of difference is a very long span of time. This shows that age alone is not the only factor to consider when changing your baby’s nap routine.
Changing your baby from two daily naps to one nap isn’t about what your child thinks he wants, nor is it about the schedule you’d like to have. It’s about the biological need for two naps versus one. Naps at different times of the day serve different purposes in mind and body development at different ages. For example, morning naps have more dreaming, or REM sleep, which makes them important for young babies who require it for early brain development. You don’t want to rush the process if your child is still benefiting from this important sleep time.
There is another consideration when deciding to make a schedule change: The length of time that your child is awake from one sleep period to the next has an effect on his mood and behavior. No matter how well your baby sleeps at night naps are still very important. The older your child is, the longer he can go between sleep breaks without getting cranky. The biology behind this reason dictates that young babies need to divide their day up with two naps, but older babies can handle a full day with only one nap.
Since there is a wide range of what’s normal it’s important to study each child’s behavior to see when he is ready to transition to one nap a day. Use the following lists as a guide.
Signs That your Child Needs TWO NAPS Daily.
• Your child is under 12 months old
• When you put your child down for a nap he plays, resists, or fusses for a while but always ends up sleeping for an hour or more
• When you take your child for car rides during the day he usually falls asleep
• If your child misses a nap he is fussy or acts tired until the next nap or bedtime
• Your child is dealing with a change in his life (such as a new sibling, sickness, or starting daycare) that disrupts his nap schedule
• Your child misses naps when you’re on the go, but when you are at home he takes two good naps
Signs That Your Child Is Ready to Change to ONE DAILY NAP.
• When you put your child down for a nap he plays or fusses before falling asleep, and then takes only a short nap, or never falls asleep at all
• Your child can go for car rides early in the day and not fall asleep in the car
• When your child misses a nap he is cheerful and energetic until the next nap or bedtime
• Your child naps well for one of his naps, but totally resists the other nap
How to Make the Transition When Signs Point to Change
Instead of thinking in terms of dropping a nap it’s better to think in terms of a schedule change. The change from two
naps to one nap is rarely a one-day occurrence. Most often there will be a transition period of several months when your child clearly needs two naps on some days, but one nap on others. You have a number of options during this
complicated transition time:
• Watch for your child’s sleepy signs, and put your child down for a nap when indications first appear.
• Keep two naps, but don’t require that your child sleep at both times, allow quiet resting instead.
• Choose a single naptime that is later than the usual morning nap, but not as late as the afternoon nap. Keep your child active (and outside if possible) until about 30 minutes before the time you have chosen.
• On days when a nap occurs early in the day, move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes to an hour to minimize the length of time between nap and bedtime.
The Danger of Dropping a Nap Too Soon
It’s my belief that the reputation that toddlers have which is known as the “Terrible Twos,” is very likely caused by inappropriate napping schedules. There are a great number of toddlers who switch from two naps a day to one nap, or – heaven forbid! – drop naps altogether, many months before they are biologically ready. This can result in a devastating effect on their mood and behavior: the dreaded and horrible“Terrible Twos.”
For those parents whose children suffer the “Trying Threes” or the “Fearsome Fours,” it’s likely your child is misbehaving for the same reason: an inappropriate nap schedule may be the culprit. The good news is that a modification of your
child’s napping routine can make a wonderful and dramatic difference in his day – and yours.
From The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, January 2009). Here is the link for information and more excerpts: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/
By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Discipline Solution
Children resort to aggressive behaviors because of a lack of wisdom and self-control. It is not a sign that a child is hateful or mean. Kids are human beings and human beings will get angry, we can’t prevent that. What we can do is teach our children how to handle their frustration and anger in appropriate ways. If your child uses these physical acts to express her feelings, use some of the following tips to change her behavior.
Intercede before it happens
Watch your child during playtime. When you see her becoming frustrated or angry - intervene. Coach her through the issue. Teach her what to do, or model what to say to her friend. Or if she seems too upset to learn, redirect her attention to another activity until her emotions level out.
Teach and explain
It’s one thing to tell a child what not to do or to step into an argument and solve it yourself. It’s another thing entirely to teach her what to do in advance of the next problem. This can be done through role-play, discussion, and reading a few children’s books about angry emotions.
Examine hidden causes
Is your child hungry, tired, sick, jealous, frustrated, bored or scared? If you can identify any feelings driving your child’s actions you can address those along with the aggressive behavior.
Give more attention to the injured party.
Often the child who hits gets so much attention that the action becomes a way of gaining the spotlight. Instead, give more attention to the child who was hurt. After a brief statement, “No hitting!” turn and give attention to the child who was wronged, “Come here and Mommy will give you a hug and read you a book.”
Teach positive physical touches.
Show your child how to hold hands during a walk or how to give a back rub or foot massage. Teach a few physical games, like tag or cat’s cradle. Under direct supervision, children who are more physical can gain a positive outlet for their physical energy.
Teach the clapping method
Tell a child to clap his hands whenever he feels an urge to hit. This gives him an immediate outlet for his emotions and helps him learn to keep his hands to himself. An alternate is to teach him to put his hands in his pockets when he feels like hitting. Reward with praise anytime you see he’s successful.
Give your child a time out
To use Time Out when a child acts out aggressively, immediately and gently take the child by the shoulders, look him in the eye and say, “No hurting others, time out.” Guide the child to a chair and tell him, “You may get up when you can play without hitting.” By telling him that he can get up when he’s ready, you let him know that he is responsible for
controlling his own behavior. If the child gets up and hits again, say, “You are not ready to get up yet,” and direct him back to time out.
Avoid play hitting and wrestling
Young children who roughhouse with a parent or sibling during play time might then use these same actions during non-wrestling times. It can be hard for them to draw the line between the two. If you have a child who has trouble controlling his physical acts then avoid this kind of play.
Don’t lose control
When you see your child hurting another child it’s easy to get angry. This won’t teach your child what she needs to learn: how to control her emotions when others are making her mad. You are mad at her, so she’ll be watching how you handle your anger.
Don’t let your child watch violent TV
Children can become immune to the impact of violence, and they may copy what they see depicted on television. Avoid viewing shows that portray aggression as an appropriate way of handling anger.
Don’t assume your child can figure it out
If your child comes to you about a difficult situation, don’t send him away for tattling. But don’t step in and handle it for him, either. View his call for help as an invitation to teach him important social skills.
Don’t focus on punishment
More than anything your child needs instructions on how to treat other human beings, particularly during moments of anger or frustration.
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) http://www.nocrysolution.com
"Dooowwwn Dog!" I sing in my universal key of B Minor and suddenly my daughter, who is 11 months old, bends at the waist from a sitting position towards the floor, until her forehead is actually touching the carpet! She pops up with the most accomplished grin on her face. I melted. Again I sing "Dooowwwn Dog!" and there she goes, leaning towards the floor. This time I demonstrate. I sing "Dooowwwn Dog!" and come into Downward Facing dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana myself. I do it one or two times and as she watches me, she rises to her feet, bends at the waist and comes into the most perfect Down Dog I have ever seen.
Suddenly my life felt complete...as funny as that may sound to some. You see, I am an Itsy Bitsy Yoga instructor and a proud 1st time parent to my little Delaney Mae. There is a huge sense of pride when any of my students come into a pose knowingly for the first time on their own. It's a feeling of accomplishment, combined with the joy of seeing a parent's face when their little one not only masters a pose, but does it during class, for all to see!
As moms we know first hand how your perspective changes the minute you become a parent. There isn't an exact way to describe the change within yourself, but it happens, naturally and it feels good. It feels right. For me sharing yoga with other is natural. It feels good. It feels right.
My daughter and I began practicing Itsy Bitsy Yoga when she was just six weeks old. We went to class weekly and put the poses to use at home. We used Apana (In and Out) often for relief when she had those squirmmy moments of gas pains. Then we used Corkscrew to aid in digestion when she began to eat solids. Sure enough, not long after a few circular movements of her chunky monkey legs, a rumble in her diaper would bring a smile to my face, as well as hers'. I raved about Itsy Bitsy Yoga. We practiced almost daily, whether it was doing actual poses or singing a yoga song. It naturally became a part of our lives, almost as naturally as you will see a child "do yoga" in their everday movements! They are natural yogis and now I aim to bring it out in all of them! IBY opened the doors to a whole new array of tricks to use in everyday life, whether it was to calm and sooth, to get us through a long wait at the doctor's office or simply to get moving and be active on a cold, rainy day. In fact, I fell in love with Helen Garabedian's Itsy Bitsy Yoga program so much, that I knew shortly thereafter that I must share it with others.
This past summer I became trained in Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Babies, Tots and Tykes. I am able to offer yoga to children from the age of 3 weeks to 4 years old. I love this because I will be able to watch my students flourish over the years, not just as yogis, but as little humans! In a recent interview I did for a dance magazine I was reminded how special IBY is, as it is the one of the only programs where a child can begin at such a young age, which allows moms on maternity leave to participate in an activity with their newborn before returning to work, if that is the case.
Babies can begin IBY at just 3 weeks and modifications of the poses are made to accommodate their tiny, new bodies. I strive to be a healthy role model for my daughter and my students and I encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for children of all ages. A healthy baby equals a healthy tot, which equals a healthy tyke, a healthy adolescent, a healthy teenager and inevitably a healthy adult. So come join us, meet new friends, learn something new and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle for your little ones. It may even inspire you to practice.
Osterville Family Dental is offering a complimentary back to school dental screening for kids for the month of September.
If you are interested, please call the office to schedule an
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