Every child can benefit from a daily nap, but sometimes there is nothing you can do to get a child to actually sleep. But day after day without a rest break can result in a fussy child prone to tears, temper tantrums and whining. Today, Parents Ask expert Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Nap Solution offers an easy solution for all parents: The Hush Hour.
Q: Lately, my toddler has been resisting naps. He has an all out fit when I try to put him down. However, I can see that he’s still tired and isn’t entirely ready or up for playing (and neither am I!) What should I do?
A: A brief quiet time that I call a Hush Hour can provide a wonderful substitute for an actual nap. It also provides a much-needed break for a parent or caregiver. As much as we love our children, we still need some time off! Try these tips for creating your child’s Hush Hour.
The Hush Hour should take place in an environment set up to encourage relaxation. Sleep is not required, but the setting often brings about a peaceful aftereffect, much as a nap would. This can occur in your child’s bedroom or any undisturbed room in the house. If possible, remove toys and games from sight, except for a few stuffed animals or your child’s usual sleeptime lovely.
For most children it’s easier to feel relaxed in a darkened room, since bright light is alerting to the human mind and signals playtime to a child. Darkness can encourage restfulness.
Noisy distractions can prevent a child from resting. On the other hand, a perfectly quiet room might create anxiety instead of restfulness. To combat both issues fill the Hush Hour with relaxing music or white noise (a recording of rainfall or ocean waves.) These sounds can be comforting and will also mask any random noises that can distract your child. As an alternative choice, you can have your child listen to an audio book. It’s a wonderful way for a child to relax and can create an enriching lifetime habit.
The aromas of lavender, chamomile, jasmine, sweet orange, and vanilla have long been used to entice relaxation. You can find scented pillows, stuffed animals, sprays, sachets or potpourri. (Don’t use candles where a child will be left alone.) These pleasant smells can enhance relaxation and can also become a cue for rest time.