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The secrets of a nap routine to for longer naps and better night sleep

Are you tired of short naps struggles and battling a baby who just won’t sleep, no matter what you try? If so, I have a game-changing routine tip that could be your saving grace.

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The topic of routines is hotly debated in parenting circles. Yet, regardless of where you stand on the idea of routines, you are going to hear me promote the benefits of simple routines to get better sleep.

I want to introduce you to the concept of a pre-nap routine. It’s something I recommend to all my clients and despite what you are thinking, it’s not about rigid or restrictive sleep schedules. Instead, it’s 20 years of experience working with parents from around the globe, that’s shown how powerful a wind-down routine before naps can be.  From soothing fussy babies to calming energetic toddlers, the pre-nap routine lays the foundation for better sleep, particularly during developmental milestones, nap transitions, sleep regressions, and chronic catnapping. Let’s dive in to learn how this could transform your family’s sleep routine.

What is a nap routine?

Quite simply, a nap routine is a shortened version of your bedtime routine. This isn’t about putting your baby to sleep. Instead it is a secret weapon parents need to use to promote better sleep. Using simple, predictable activities before every nap cues your baby to wind down and prepare for sleep. The result, easier settling and longer naps! 💃

Do I have your attention?

Yes, this simple tip could be the solution to help your baby love naps as much as you do. So lets break it down…

Do I really need a nap routine?

If you have a unicorn baby that settles quickly, calmly and sleeps well day and night, you can sit back and high five yourself, nothing needs to change for you. But if you, like most of us mums,  struggle with sleep, this is a great starting point.

How do I introduce a nap routine?

Consistency is key. Keep it simple and repeat that routine before every nap.  Your  nap routine should be short, predictable and calming and be a maximum of 5-10 minutes in length.

The main elements to a pre nap routine would be:

  • Move to a darkened room

  • Pull the blinds/curtains.

  • Turn on your white noise

  • Offer a calming activity - one lullaby, a cuddle standing over their cot whilst you stroke their face ten times, a short massage. Whatever works for your family. Keep it simple and calming. And remember it’s not about putting baby to sleep.

When should I introduce a nap routine?

Consistent routines are great to start early - so you all get used to doing them and they become habitual. There is no “right” time to start. There is no perfect age to start, every family is different. But after working with hundreds of children, of all ages, I am yet to meet one that hasn’t benefitted from this simple ritual. But we must remember, this is not about adding stress or workload to the parent. Life with a newborn can be a steep learning curve. Don’t worry introducing routines when things are so new. But babies as young 8-16 weeks have been seen to benefit from a nap routine. And even those 2-4 year olds can benefit as us mums try to hold onto that nap just a little bit longer!!!

Why is my nap routine not working?

If the calming activities in your routine are causing your baby to become drowsy or fall asleep, you may be doing too much. Remember, the aim of the routine is not to put baby to sleep but to help them start to wind down.

Nap routines started too late or dragging on too long may leave baby bored, overtired or over stimulated. None of which will help them sleep. Try to keep the nap routine down to 5-10 minutes, keep it short, connected and calming.

In conclusion, implementing a pre-nap routine can be a game-changer for your baby’s sleep. By incorporating simple, repetitive activities before each nap you can help baby feel calmer and ready to sleep. Whether you're navigating developmental milestones, nap transitions, or sleep regressions, a pre-nap routine provides a reliable anchor for smoother sleep transitions.

Mums inside of my community, The Gentle Sleep Tribe, joined struggling with short naps and have found the tips and cheat sheets for sleep routines, schedules and transition tips to be a game-changer. Being a part of this affordable membership could help your family sleep too. Want to know more?

Love this blog and want to read more?

✨ Ready to stop the short nap struggle? Read the blog HERE.

✨ Want help making a bedtime routine work for your family? Read the blog HERE

✨ Want help making a routine work for your family? I’m here to help, book a consultation HERE...

What my members are saying about Gentle Sleep Tribe:

“Sleep was messy when we first joined the group. I'm not actually sure anything was going right. He was taking short naps, woke at 4am and the night wakes were crippling me. A friend mentioned The Gentle Sleep Tribe and I couldn’t say no! It's so affordable and Tessa does so much for us mums inside the group. Knowing there is someone there to answer questions has been so helpful. Plus, I have made amazing friends. Our babies are now growing up together and I don't feel so alone. Thank you Tessa for setting up such an amazing group.”

gentle sleep tribe, Sydney sleep consultant, motherhood supported, maternal mental health matters

Come join me on Instagram @enhancesleep to see sleep tips, solve your sleep issues and hear of upcoming promotions and consultation availability. Don't miss out. Our free tips could solve your sleep issues!


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