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Swimming and the un-planned nap

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This blog will take you through a common nap scenario which for the purposes of this blog I have used swimming and the un-planned nap.

What is it about swimming that makes little ones so sleepy after. Maybe the thrill of the swim, the sensory exploration or the warmth of the pool and environment. Whatever it is, I do not know of many babies (maybe even adult too) who will have or at least want a nap post swim.

Picture this familiar scenario: you’ve just enjoyed a delightful swim with your little one, but as you head home, they start to get cranky. Then, just as you’re nearing home, they drift off to sleep for an un-planned nap, leaving you fretting about how it might disrupt their nap schedule and the rest of their sleep for the day. Sound all too familiar?

If you’ve found yourself in this predicament, I want to ease your worries and boost your confidence in managing those un-planned naps, and mastering awake windows, especially when it comes to activities like swimming lessons or baby classes.

Danger Naps:

The term ‘danger nap’ may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s commonly used in parenting circles to describe any unscheduled nap that can throw off your little one’s sleep routine or mean that bedtime will be significantly delayed. These brief naps, also known as micro naps, often occur spontaneously in the car or pram, influencing subsequent naps and the bedtime routine.

Understanding why these micro naps happen and learning how to navigate them is key:

  • Timing Matters: Taking your little one out for a drive or stroll towards the end of their awake window is almost a guarantee that they’ll doze off.
  • Adapt and Overcome: If a car nap wasn’t part of the plan, try to keep your child awake by engaging them with toys or snacks. If they start to nod off, a strategic stop or fresh air might help rouse them.
  • Adjusting Awake Windows: Should a danger nap occur, consider tweaking the next awake window or bedtime slightly to balance sleep pressure without causing overtiredness.

Awake Windows: Finding the Sweet Spot

An awake window refers to the duration of time your child stays awake between naps or before bedtime. Getting this timing right is crucial for ensuring smooth transitions to sleep and a good night’s rest.

Here’s a rough guide to awake windows based on age:

  • 0-6 weeks: 45 mins – 1 hour
  • 6-12 weeks: 1 – 1 ½ hours
  • 4 months: 1 ½ – 2 hours
  • 5 months: 1 ¾ – 2 ½ hours
  • 6-7 months: 2 ½ – 3 hours
  • 8-9 months: 3 – 4 hours
  • 9-11 months: 3 – 4 hours
  • 11-13 months: 3 ½ – 4 hours (2 naps) or 5 – 5 ½ hours (1 nap)
  • 14/15 – 18 months: 5 – 6 hours

Recognising Sleepy Cues and Overtiredness

Learning to read your child’s sleepy cues can help you avoid overtiredness and ensure they get the right amount of rest. Look out for signs like yawning, glazed eyes, or a sudden disinterest in activities. You can find out more about tired signs in this link.

On the flip side, signs of overtiredness include ear or hair tugging, fussiness, or inconsolable crying.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s braving the occasional danger nap or fine-tuning awake windows, consistency and observation are your best allies in managing your child’s sleep patterns. Remember, the goal is to create cherished memories while ensuring both you and your little one get the rest you need.

If you learn that their tolerance for being awake is not near the recommended, you may need a little guidance and so feel free to jump on a free 15-minute phone call to see how I can help you.

Get in touch and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep.

Take care!

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