Naptime tips for babies and toddlers: the most important answers!

Naptime tips for babies and toddlers: the most important answers!

Newborns aren’t born with a regular day-night rhythm. The fact that they don’t realize that night is when they’re supposed to sleep, coupled with their need for regular feedings, means that they constantly wake up at night. However, sleep is particularly important for babies and children, as they recharge their batteries and process the information they’ve learned throughout the day.

As babies get older, their sleep rhythm also gradually becomes more regular. Over time, their sleep phases shift more and more into the night and they only need a nap twice a day. How often should your baby nap the first weeks after birth? And how about toddlers?

In this blog article, we show how you can use certain rituals to help your child fall asleep faster at noon.

Why are naps so important for babies?

Naptime for babiesIn the first years of their lives, naps are very important for childrens’ healthy development. Shortly after birth, newborns sleep almost the whole day, as they need sixteen to eighteen hours of sleep a day. Typically, babies wake up due to hunger and other needs about every three to six hours, day or night, which is why there is no need to worry about babies taking a nap.

Sleep is indispensable for babies’ healthy brain development. In the first twelve months of your baby’s life, their brain develops rapidly; by their first birthday, it will have already reached 75% of its final size. During sleep, babies' sensory perception is turned off, allowing their brains to rest and process the day’s events while they sleep.

Furthermore, sleep is important for babys’ growth. The hormone somatotropin is released while babies sleep, which helps them grow and develop.


What about toddlers? Why are naps so important for toddlers?

As mentioned above, during sleep children process the day’s experiences and what they've learned is repeated. Studies at the University of Arizona found that toddlers who take regular naps are better at remembering new things they learned the previous day. Special attention was paid to the child's language development. Children who took naps were better able to remember newly learned words after 24 hours than children who didn’t.

When should your baby's nap take place?

A regular daily routine is essential for babies. Babies who have a well-structured day are able to develop a day-night rhythm more quickly, which helps them sleep through the night. The baby's body learns to adjust to the sleep phases and thus gets tired faster at the same time. A regular daily routine has advantages not only for babies, but also for adults, because they can better plan their day.

For the child's internal clock, it’s best if the nap takes place between noon and two in the afternoon. A child often gets tired after eating, as the body uses energy for digestion. The child may also get tired again in the late afternoon. It's not a problem to put the child down again for a short time, but there should be at least 4 hours between the night nap and the last nap so that the child sleeps through the night without any problems.


How long should a baby's nap last?

Each baby is different, so they sleep differently and for different lengths of time. The duration of a child’s sleep depends on their brain maturity and each baby develops at a different rate. That is why your baby’s nap length should be adjusted to their individual needs.

The average sleep interval for six-months-old babies is about three to four hours. For toddlers, this should be about one to two hours long. For kindergartners, this should be thirty to sixty minutes long. You should observe your child and their sleep habits to find their right nap length.


Up to what age should children nap?

Just like the nap length, the age at which children need a nap varies. Some children can do without a nap as early as the age of two, while others still take a daily nap when they’re four or five years old.

Children may even nap more frequently and for longer when going through major changes, such as when they start school. This is not a cause for concern, because it only means that your child has experienced things that he or she must process during sleep. You will know whether your child still needs a nap by how quickly he or she falls asleep in the evening.


Where is the best place for children to take a nap?

The question of where is relatively easy to answer, because there is no set place for a nap. For babies, this can take place in their cradle, or for toddlers while outside in the stroller or at home in their crib.

The room doesn't necessarily have to be dark for children to sleep well during the day. Some experts even claim that it's confusing for children and their day-night rhythm if the room suddenly goes dark. So, it's okay to let some daylight in and for them to hear sounds while they take their nap.


What to do if your baby doesn't want to sleep - a baby nap ritual

It's advisable to always put your baby or toddler down at the same time so that they get used to the schedule. However, this usually only works in theory; the reality is often quite different. Babies get tired at different times, this depends a lot on how exciting their day is and what they’ve experienced.

Watch for certain signs your baby gives you when they're getting tired. Babies who are tired often suck their thumb, rub their eyes, or get fussy. When you notice these signs, it's best to put your baby down within the next 10 to 15 minutes, because the next window of time by babies falling asleep quickly doesn't come again for about 45 minutes.


What ritual works best to help infants fall asleep?

There are naptime rituals that can help your child get to sleep. The room can be slightly darkened (but not completely dark), and you can read your child a story or play a recording before bedtime. This way, even if the child doesn't fall asleep, at least he or she has some downtime and can focus on the radio play.

For babies with separation anxiety, a stuffed animal can help them fall asleep. These give your baby a sense of security and ensure that they don’t feel so alone and wake up less often.


Products from Zizzz that help babies at naptime

At Zizzz, we have many great products that can help your baby or toddler nap or sleep in general. For example, our snuggle toy is very popular with toddlers, which we offer in different designs. This was made from purely natural materials, namely virgin wool from sheep raised in the Swiss Alps and organic cotton.

We carry pyjamas for babies, toddlers and children. These are also available in adult sizes, so you and your child can have the same look. We completely avoid the use of chemical fertilizers in the manufacture of our products, as these could be harmful to their sensitive baby skin.

If your baby or toddler likes to sleep in the stroller during the day, we recommend our baby blankets made of breathable Swiss virgin wool. You can buy them from us in different colors and designs.

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