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Does my pre-schooler still need to nap?

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This may surprise you, however it is likely that your pre-schooler still needs a nap. On average children give up their afternoon nap at 4 years old. Keep in mind that this is an average; some 3 year olds are perfectly happy and well rested all day without an afternoon nap.

Napping Statistics in Young Children:

 Age 3 – 92% of kids are still napping

Age 4 – 57% of kids are still napping

Age 5 – 27% of kids are still napping

Source: A clinical guide to Paediatric sleep: Diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems by Jodi Mindell and Judith Owens 2013

Why do they still need sleep?

Sleep has been proven to help with growth, development and encourages the body to have time to heal. A study by the PNAS journal has proven that midday naps enhance learning in preschool children. They have evidence that shows that classroom naps support learning in preschool children by enhancing memories.

What if my child does not want to nap?

 We know that naps can support our child’s learning at school. However, it can be a real challenge to get your pre-schooler to nap, especially if they are out of the habit of taking naps. This is where I can help. There are a few things that you can do to encourage your little one to nap.

  • Find out about the nap schedule at your child’s preschool and what talk to them about how you would like them to encourage your child to nap. If this is not an option at your preschool, then you could try to help your child nap whenever they are at home.
  • Create a mini pre-nap routine. Read a favourite book (preferably sleep related)
  • Perhaps your child may be more willing to nap if you are resting in your own room at the same time?
  • Turn off the television or any electronics well before naptime, as the blue light from these devices inhibit the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.
  • Keep a consistent routine with lunch and nap around the same time each day. Kids thrive on routine, as it is comforting and predictable.

Have you tried all of these and it is still not working?

Some kids can be very stubborn, and I understand that it can be an exhausting battle. If you have tried it all and your child still won’t nap, then don’t despair, you can always encourage “quiet time”.

Quiet time is all about trying to get your child to lie down and rest. It is like naptime without the requirement to sleep. This is particularly important for kids under the age of 4. If your child is older than 4 years, a slightly different quiet time may be appropriate. Older kids may wish to enjoy quiet activities alone in their bedrooms.

Remember to observe your child’s behaviour and look out for signs of sleep deprivation.

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