dad and young son sleeping together

Is your little one going through a nap strike? A nap strike is when your child suddenly starts to refuse a nap (or all naps). It can be extremely challenging for everyone. However, nap strikes are often triggered by developmental milestones, teething, or sickness. Other variables you want to look at are nap transitions, wake windows, sleep environment, schedule and routine, and your little one’s night sleep. In this blog post, we'll address the different factors that may contribute to a child's nap strike.

Developmental Milestones
Is your child learning something new? Are they walking or standing up when they should be sleeping? New developmental milestones can be really exciting for your child. Once they learn something new, they want to practice it all the time! This is one reason why your child may be refusing to fall asleep. They don’t want to miss out on all the fun!

Nap Transitions
If your child is refusing to fall asleep for one or more naps, and it has been going on for a few days, it could be that they are going through a nap transition. Before dropping a nap, log your child’s information down for a few days to ensure that’s what they are truly experiencing.

Wake Windows
Take a look at your child’s wake windows in the day. As your child grows, they require longer wake windows. One of the reasons your child could be refusing their nap(s) is because their wake windows are not long enough. Adjust wake windows slowly to prevent them from becoming overtired.

Sleep Environment
Ensure your child’s room is dark! Sleep drive is low in the day and any light coming into your child’s room is not conducive to sleep. Light can cause them to become stimulated.

Schedule and Routine
Stay as consistent as you can with your child’s schedule and routine. Look at wake windows and keep an eye on the timing of their naps. Do they fall asleep easier at a certain time in the day? Are you rushing through their routine? I know the day can get hectic, but try to offer that solid wind down routine before your child’s nap. Keep consistent with the sequence of events leading up to naptime to help your child understand sleep time is coming.

Night Sleep
Night sleep is essential in helping improve your child’s sleep.  If your child is not getting enough sleep at night or is waking often, that can impact their day sleep. Ensure they are sleeping well at night before working on naps.
Stay patient--this is just temporary. Remember to not change multiple things at once. Work on one thing at a time and your child’s sleep should improve soon!
Author: Anita Patel, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Founder of Hush Baby Hush, helps create healthy sleep habits for families all around the world with newborns, toddlers, and preschoolers. Anita provides personalized sleep consulting services for families who are seeking advice and support to overcome common sleep challenges.

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