Picture this: You’re relaxing on the couch, feet propped up, sipping your favorite iced beverage and snuggling up to your favorite book, right before dozing off and getting some much needed rest. All because you got BOTH kids down for a nap simultaneously! Ahhh, life is good.
Isn’t it every mother’s dream to nap while her children nap? Or perhaps it’s her dream to simply relish the moment and quietly tackle that never-ending to do list.
Whatever the reason for wanting your children to nap at the same time, believe me, every mother in the world understands it.
If you have a new baby or even an older baby, it’s important that everyone naps at the same time. Not only does it help keep your sanity, it’s a lot easier to have two kids sleeping at once so they don’t wake each other. Here are some tips for getting baby and toddler to nap at the same time.
Wear Them Out
After having several kids, one major tip I can give you is to make them tired. Let them run around, be crazy, and get excited because they are that much more likely to get to nap. Think about how much easier you fall asleep when you’ve been physically active and running around: You fall asleep that much easier!
It’s a simple, yet often overlooked tip to keep in mind.
Lay Them Down at the Right Time
Kids can become overtired (or not tired enough!) at different points in the day. You have to nail down exactly what time they are tired and get them down for a nap. It’s called the window of nap opportunity. Trust me mamas, you do not want to miss this opportunity! Keep an eye out for those tell-tale signs of a tired kid: eye-rubbing, yawning or simply a calm demeanor.
Keep Them on a Schedule
On top of trying to wear them out and lay them down at the right time, you’ll want to keep kids on a schedule. Waking up at the same time, having lunch at the same time, and even going to bed at the same time are great examples of having a schedule. Kids seem to do best whenever they know what’s coming. It’s quite amazing how the brain can adapt to a consistent schedule for the benefit of everyone!
Know What Time Works Best
Over time, you will start to notice what time works best for your kids to lay down for a nap. Some babies and toddlers nap better in the mid-morning and some nap better in the mid-afternoon. You really just have to start looking for patterns and see what works for them. You may find that after a few morning naps, your kids actually naps longer in the afternoon. It may take some trial and error, but you’ll figure out what works best for both.
Lay off the Sugar
Most kids are not going to nap at the same time as their baby sibling if they are full of sugar. The baby may be getting tired, but the toddler could go all day long. Watching what your toddler eats can help them sleep better at nap time. The same goes for a nursing baby, you may want to watch drinking caffeine at certain times to make sure it doesn’t interfere with their nap time. Think back to the last time you had coffee too late in the day, you couldn’t sleep, it has the same effect.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes awhile to get your baby and toddler to nap at the same time. Sometimes it just takes a little time for everyone to get adjusted.
However, if you follow these tips and are consistent, you will start noticing that what seemed impossible isn’t so far out of reach and soon BOTH kids will be snoozing at the same time, each day so you have a little hands-free time to yourself!
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.