Naptime tips for toddlers

11 Naptime Tips for Toddlers

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If you’ve got an active toddler, you’ll want to check out these naptime tips for toddlers! these are tried and true methods that have saved my sanity.

Naptime tips for toddlers


From the time my fetus was 14 weeks old, I knew I’d have an active baby. Yup, you heard me right. The ultrasound technician didn’t believe me, but moms know best. He just wouldn’t stop kicking.

Sure enough, I was blessed with quite an active baby. He doesn’t stop moving for a moment. This is truly a blessing, however, when it comes to nap time it may not seem that way.

These simple tips help me in my day to day struggle getting him to nap. Sometimes it makes the whole difference between having a nap, or not. And that makes the whole difference in my sanity as a stay at home mom.

These naptime tips for toddlers are focused on helping them relax enough to go to sleep. Since this is my baby’s primary issue, that’s what we need to solve. Of course, knowing what the problem is helps…

Naptime Tips for Toddlers


1. A lovey or favorite toy:

Having a blanket, lovey, or stuffed animal that he likes can help him relax and calm down enough to put him to sleep.

Naptime tips for toddlers

2. Give it time

If your baby is a little hyper like mine, she may simply need some time to calm down. This means, that she might want to play in her crib for half an hour or so before actually going to sleep.

I’ve left my baby in his crib playing quietly for up to two hours before nap time. It sounds crazy but it’s the only way he’d get enough sleep, which is crucial to his health. My key is, once he’s been complaining for five minutes, or if he gets very upset, I take him out and try again later.

naptime tips for toddlers

3. Quiet time before

Establishing quiet play before can often eliminate the need for tip #2 above. It’s not always possible as sometimes he may not want to sit and read a book. Today this worked. Yesterday, I needed to give him the quiet time in his crib.


4. Dark-ish room

A dark room is calming. I try to avoid a totally dark room, as he sometimes gets upset when I make it dark. We don’t always have the ability to darken his room, but he definitely naps better on rainy days…


5. Don’t wait too long

Waiting until baby is very tired is a common mistake many parents make. Putting baby to sleep just as she is starting to feel drowsy is the best way. An active toddler can sometimes get super hyperactive when she is overtired…


6. Have a video baby monitor

This won’t actually help your baby sleep, but it will help your peace of mind. It allows you to see when she is sleeping without having to check in, which is a bad idea for obvious reasons…

I’ve tried this one and this one and I love them both! Choose a baby monitor that has the features you need (do you prefer one that streams to your smartphone, or that has a standalone screen? One that plays lullabies, or one that allows you to pan and tilt?)


7. Bananas

Feed your toddler bananas before putting him to sleep. Read why here. We’ve been doing this and it definitely helps!


8. Be calm

As I’ve stated in my breastfeeding tips, your toddler can sense when you’re nervous. This can create a cycle of not sleeping. While you most definitely are concerned about whether or not she’ll sleep, try and convince yourself that you’re not, so that she shouldn’t sense your anxiety. (Drink coffee?)


9. Calm her down with something external

Know what calms your baby. For mine, it can be having something to look at and observe (such as his hairbrush, or another interesting item he doesn’t usually play with). For some it can be soft music before bed.

It’s important to know your baby here. For some, having anything in the crib can be distracting… Definitely avoid bright and interesting toys.


10. Established routine

Putting your toddler to sleep at the same every day teaches her when it’s time to calm down. She may fight it, and you should definitely look to her for cues for when this time should be. But keep to a set schedule, and you’ll definitely see a difference!


11. Recognize an actual problem if there is one

Some babies are very sensitive. While you most likely put your baby to sleep on a full stomach, an hour later he might be hungry. Sometimes it’s a dirty diaper.

Many times it’s happened that something small (usually something that came about after I put him in) is preventing him from sleeping. Eliminating these can definitely help! Usually I check back in after an hour, if he seems to be calming down but still not sleeping. This is a pointer that something else is keeping him awake, not his inability to calm down.

12 mom to mom naptime tips for active toddlers. These naptime tips for toddlers are practical, easy to implement and have saved my day many times!

I sure hope this post has transformed your toddler sleep routine! Comment below with any of your tried and true naptime tips for toddlers… 


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  1. Great tips! Love the bananas one..I did not know that. We definitely have to let them wait a bit so they can calm down. I also don’t bother with naps if they are overtired because they just scream the whole time and it’s bad for everyone. I’m going to have to try a few more of these considering naptime didn’t happen today 😉

  2. We do a nice routine with picture books and Shema, and the baby is getting to where (at age 2 1/2) she is finally starting to settle down a little at bedtime. But my kids have ALL had a rough time of sleep and going to bed. I guess it stands to reason, since neither my husband nor I are very good sleepers.

    TOTALLY going to try the banana thing!! My kid can use every last bit of ANY kind of relaxer she can get! 🙂

  3. Thank you for writing this! My son was the exact same. He was super active from the time I could feel him move! I struggled a lot with naps with him because he’s so active I knew he needed them, or at the very least needed some down time with little stimulation but felt horrible leaving him in his crib. He never really cried much unless something was wrong, but he moves and talks and it looks no different then when he’s up. We need to transition soon to a big boy bed, hopefully we can figure it out! So thank you!

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