Gables Montessori Blog


Naps are those periods of sleep in the day, morning or afternoon, which are so necessary for growing children. Parents may find hard to handle this theme because for some kids naps during the day are difficulties to fall asleep at night, but they are crucial for physical and mental development.  There is not rule about how much daytime sleep kids need, it depends on the age, the temperament of the child, the environment where he lives and other factors. Sleep needs are very specific, they should be evaluated and understood by the parents in order to  obtain the best of the naps (for parents is free time, a period of relaxation).

Commonly, from birth to six months, children need about 14 to 18 hours of sleep per day, infants wake every 3 hours to eat, but after four months of age sleep rhytms become more established. In this period maybe they need two or three daytime naps from 30 minutes to 2 hours of duration. From 6 months to one year old babies spend 14 hours sleeping (naps included) and for toddlers (1 to 3 years) it may be necessary 12 or 14 hours of sleep and only one nap in the afternoon. And in average, preschoolers sleep 12 hours at night and take a short nap in the afternoon.

Some parents can think erroneously that all their children must have the same patterns of dream, but even the behavior of brothers in a same family can be different. Some children may need more hours of sleep and others need less. Some may have some sleep habits that seem strange as singing, holding a toy or choosing certain body positions, in all cases the best thing is to observe and let the child rest.

To be sure if your child´s sleep time is enough watch for certain physical and emotional signs as: sleepy or tired behavior during the day, cranky or irritable mood in the late afternoon, the easy (or not) way to get him out of the bed in the morning, problems doing school work and other tasks or changes in his attitude (aggressive or impatient). If you notice any of these signs you should change or adjust your child´s sleep schedule or routine of activities.

What to do so our children get a good sleep and take a short, a good and repairing nap? The best thing is setting up a routine. Watch certain unmistakable signs as fussing and rubbing eyes, yawning, crying for no reason or intense flicker and then establish a sleepy environment. Take your baby to his bed so he knows it is time to rest. You can invent associated activities as listening to soft music, turning off the light and talking (slow and quietly) or reading a story. Try to get a comfortable environment to your child at sleep time.

For toddlers and preschoolers don’t let naptime become a battle. It is very common that children from 3 to six don’t want to waste any second of their lives and refuse to take a nap. In that case don’t force your kid just ask him get relaxed, read him a book or let him play quietly in his room, this way at least he is going to rest. And don’t be afraid, the nap (a short one) is not going to interfere with the bed time. It is easier that a  well rested child can settle down at night more than an overtired.

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