Kids & Naps
Nap time can be a treat or trouble – it all depends on your outlook and your child. It’s best to begin by establishing a nap time routine as early as possible – infants require almost 12 hours of sleep and most kids up to age 3 need both a morning and an afternoon nap. Parents look forward to nap time since it may be the only free time they have all day but naps are essential for children. In order to learn and retain information a child must literally “sleep on it”; daily and regular napping helps to promote both learning and cognition.
Set aside both a time and a place for napping – the bedroom may not be the right choice since bed time has its own set of issues; a darkened room, a special couch or a comfortable chair might be suitable or you may wish to invest in a nap mat. Napmats are similar to sleeping bags and often have a built-in pillow; they roll or fold for easy transport and are handy when traveling or on play dates. Most daycare centers and pre-schools require that each child have a nap mat so by beginning the nap practice at home on a mat the transition to school and travel napping may be easier.
A nap mat is quite helpful when traveling as it serves to reinforce some sense of familiarity and routine for your child. You will find a wide range of nap mats available when you shop online at the major bed and bath stores – look for ones which are machine washable.