Toddler Naps: Do’s and Don’ts

Naps are important- for both you and your child. It gives everyone a break and allows us to re-boot and prepare for the rest of the day. How often should your child be napping, and for how long? What should you do if you accidentally skip a nap or your schedule is off? And what are your options if your little one is absolutely refusing naps altogether?

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Toddler Naps: Do's and Don’ts


Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

JEN VARELA: Naps are important, for toddlers, it’s an opportunity to reboot, recharge for the rest of the day. But as your child grows older, they may become less and less interested in taking these little breaks. So what does your child actually need? And how can you help them catch those extra zizzys I’m Jen Varela, gentle sleep coach and owner of Sugar Night Night. This is Parent Savers.

[Theme Music/Intro]

SUNNY GAULT: Welcome to Parent Savers, broadcasting from the birth education Centre of San Diego. Parent savers is your online on-the-go support group for parents with infants and toddlers. I’m your guest host Sunny Gault.
Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who join us every time we release a new parent savers episode. And for those of you who like to participate in our conversations on Facebook and Twitter, we appreciate that. If you want to get even more great parent savers content, be sure to join our special Parent Savers club.

There’s more information about that on our website. And you can also check out our Parent Savers app that you can listen to all the episodes wherever you’re at whenever you’re on the go. So Colina, our producer is going to tell you more about our virtual panelist program

COLINA CAROTHERS: Alright so virtual panellist, if you cannot join us here in studio but you want to be part of the conversation, maybe get some more information, you can post like Sunny was saying. Twitter, Facebook, use the #parentsaversvp. And we will do our best to make sure you get included

SUNNY GAULT: Okay. So let’s meet everyone here in the studio. You guys know me, I’m Sunny and I own new mommy media which produces parent savers, Preggie Pals, The Boob Group and Twin Talks. I have four kids of my own, two boys’ ages four and two and two girls, they’re identical twins that are almost a year old. Scott

SCOTT KILIAN: Hi I’m Scott, I have a four year old boy. I’m always happy to be on the show. Particularly interested in this topic because I have a, because Alex is very disinterested in taking naps at home but he’s very interested in taking them at school

SUNNY GAULT: And Colina how about you?

COLINA CAROTHERS: I have a one son, he’s seventeen months old. And we’re currently going through a little bit of a nap strike but it was definitely not done because I can tell he needs them. But he will take them very sporadically now and he used to be very good. We had a morning nap routine. And he was kind of petering out on the afternoon nap before I went to work but, you know he, he was still pretty consistent and now he will go three or four days no nap. Up all day, want to be a part of the action by the time it is bedtime at night it is just milk download, so . . .

SUNNY GAULT: You know I have that too going on in my house. Yeah, I have, so my four year old is pretty much done with naps. I’m actually hoping to use this episode as a way to clarify, are we really done with apps, with naps, we’re going to talk about apps in just a sec, with naps and so , my two year old though is still a big time napper and I’m very appreciative of that. And my one year olds are of course are napping as well so . . .

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Before we get started today, we are going to talk about an app that we took a look at. We like to review apps that we think will be helpful for new parents out there. And this one is called Chore Monster. It is a free app available on the iPad and the iPhone. And if you look at the reviews and some of the information that’s posted on it, it does say it’s for ages three and up, I would say though that is if you have a more advanced three year old this is kind of on the upper age of that demographic.
Any child that kind of understands the chores system or a reward system would probably get something out of this. So, the idea is that kids are going to earn, your kids are going to earn points based on completing chores. It’s called chore monster because there is a monster carnival. They have over two hundred fifty monsters that they can earn and you’re trying to collect monsters.

The bigger goal of course for us parents is for them to collect points and then those points are assigned different rewards. So, what I like about this, the interface is fun, you know, it’s got some really great funny looking monsters which I don’t know, if your kids like monsters, mine do. You can select whatever chore you want, they do have some that are put in here like it kind of template like you know, take out the trash or feed the dog or brush your teeth. Some basic ones, you can enter whichever ones you’d want. You could choose the reward; you can keep track of a bunch of different things on this.

So it’s primarily it’s an app but you can also log in on the website. So I noticed right when I signed up for the app, it sent me an email and allowed me to go on the website, it verifies your email address, stuff like that. So if you’d rather do more this online you can certainly do that. As a parent, if your child completes a chore it notifies you via email. And you can even brag about it, there’s a section where you can brag about your child completing a chore and you just click a button that goes to Facebook or Twitter.

So, I don’t know, I mean if, if that’s important to you, that is an option. So, we were talking a little bit earlier before the show started about how this might be a nice honey dew list for your significant other. So, if you’d rather assign chores to your spouse or your partner. Do so at your own risk. So what do you guys think about this? Is this something you think you might use since of course it is a free app. What do you think? Colina?

COLINA CAROTHERS: We’re not really at that phase yet. But I can see that we’re kind of good when you get really busy and you just need something to keep track of what’s going on especially when you have multiple children. I think that could be very helpful. And then it kind of it gives, it seems like it gives some good incentives to kids. So, if that’s something that they’re into, then, I could see it definitely working out.

SUNNY GAULT: What do you think Scott?

SCOTT KILIAN: Looks like, I have two comments about this, about this app. The first is that, I think it could be a very useful tool for developing a rhythm and routine of the day which I think is really important for younger, you know, for early childhood. So I think that, where that’s difficult in certain families to do I think this app could provide some direction to help with that.

What I don’t like about the app is the points system because I think that the achievement of doing a chore could desensitize a, somebody to actually doing the, the child to doing the chores, if there is no reward and there’s no, there’s no reason to, to do it. But the dogs still has to be fed; they’re not to get a brownie at the end of the day

SUNNY GAULT: That’s true. And maybe that’s why they have both options for your collecting monsters and you can also assign points. So, I mean, it might be different if they’re just collecting virtual monsters as opposed to you get to go to whatever place or you know what I mean, you get some sort of special treat or something at the end

COLINA CAROTHERS: But the points could be really good if it’s for your spouse.

SCOTT KILIAN: Yeah you know it’s like, you know, okay so if I do the, if I do the dishes then I get to, you know earn enough points to sleep in the same bed . . .

SUNNY GAULT: You’re not in the dog house right

SCOTT KILIAN: Just the little things

SUNNY GAULT: If you go to bed on time




SUNNY GAULT: Turning it in to nap time and stuff like that right. Okay so again this is called Chore Monster. It’s a free app available on iPad and iPhone. And it sounds like if you’ve got children in the right age bracket, then this will be a thumbs up. Thanks guys

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: As new parents we all love the nap. Sometimes we love them even more than our children love them. And that’s what we’re talking about today. Jen Varela is one of our featured experts on the show. She’s a gentle sleep coach and owner of Sugar Night Night. Welcome back to Parent Savers Jen

JEN VARELA: Thank you. It’s my privilege and pleasure to be here

SUNNY GAULT: Awesome. So let’s talk about naps. Let’s define it first, what is a nap?

JEN VARELA: Yeah. So, I have to make a joke first which is if it’s spelled with an S it’s a four letter word right?


JEN VARELA: So, in some families it is. Naps are really, can be a great thing in the household but they can also be a challenge. To define a nap, I would say, if I was to snap shot it, that it needs to be an hour and a half to be considered a restorative nap. Otherwise, if it’s something shorter than that it’s probably enough to take the edge off but it’s not meeting the physical or mental nourishment.

So, that’s in general right? But depending on age, I mean we can just go on and on and on I mean as far as, you know, at what age is an hour and a half enough right?


JEN VARELA: Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. So, how would you want to break that up? Do you want to know like a certain age is?

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah let’s talk a little bit about ages. I mean we’re defining this as toddlers and I guess toddlers can mean different ages to different people. But for, what would you say toddlers? What would age bracket was that?

JEN VARELA: Well let’s just say if we were to pick eighteen months. Maybe that’s a safe spot to kind of push off of. They might still be taking two naps a day. Probably transitioning to one nap a day. And they could still be getting somewhere between two and three combined total of nap in a day.

So, if they were on a two nap schedule, it might be an hour nap which is on the edge right restorative in the morning and then a two hour nap in the afternoon. If they are on a one nap schedule, then they could be taking like a two and a half hour nap in the afternoon. So, as you go up, in age so, like two years of age, you’re probably somewhere around an hour and a half up to three hours is the range on a nap.

And then at three the average is about an hour and a half. And at four is where we may see that the nap is no longer happening

SUNNY GAULT: Yes you just hit the nail on the head in my house. My four year old is like, what? Nap? Why would I do that? So, we kind of talked up about this at the beginning but lets kind of go through and for Scott and Colina, how do your kids feel about naps right now? Scott I know you have an older child, so tell us a little bit about that

SCOTT KILIAN: Yes, so, Alex is four and you know for us, when he’s at school everybody takes a nap and he’s right there taking a nap and it’s somewhere you know around the two hour mark, and that’s everyday Monday thru Friday. When he’s at home so on the weekends when there’s no school, yeah I mean it’s like kryptonite.

So, he doesn’t want to do it and we suspect it’s just cause he doesn’t want to miss any action, you know. So if we both, you know if we all got in bed and we all took a nap and of course he would also fall asleep, so it’s not that, you know he’s opposed to sleeping, he’s just opposed to not being a part of everything so, that’s kind of where we are

SUNNY GAULT: That’s a good way to test it. If you all get in bed and see then if your child knows okay. Everyone I care about is in this room so I’m not missing anything. Is that a good way to test it?

JEN VARELA: Yeah, the other dynamic is so interesting to me as far as how there’s this lovely peer pressure that happens in pre-school. And I give it all the time with my parents that I work with it like, yeah, day care, pre-school, they nap, great! But they won’t do it for me at home. And I think its two parts. I did think one is I look at the parents and its like you are there perk, right? They want to be with you and they are excited to be with you. And so they can push through their sleep needs in order to stay in the action as you, you know, as you said.

So, I think. I think it’s important to take a look at and we can maybe go over some of these kind of questions a little later I think there was one was how do you, how do you determine if they still need a nap right? But I guess, I guess what I would say is maybe it’s not so bad if five days a week he gets to nap and on a weekend he isn’t if he’s four. That might be enough for him. It might be that it’s not a problem. However, if your child’s cranky and fuzzy and upset and not sleeping well at night, well then I’m going to say, yeah you’re going to have to figure out a way

SCOTT KILIAN: It’s, I mean, it’s interesting because I think that in most cases it’s fine. Now, you know, now it’s fine but there are, there are still regular times where I could look at his eyes and they’re blood shot and he is not, he’s really, he is lack lustre but he just wants to keep fighting, fighting, fighting and he wants to be up. He doesn’t want to go to sleep and you know that he’d be so much, he feels so much better if he just lay down for a little while


SCOTT KILIAN: Doesn’t want to miss it. He’s also putting his needs aside to meet another need which may not be as important [inaudible] things

JEN VARELA: Right. So we can talk as we go let some strategies on that. That maybe laying down with them is not a bad idea just get them going right, so

SUNNY GAULT: So when your child is born, how do you know, I mean are there some kids that are just two or even three naps a day kids versus kids that, because I feel like with my older boy, so I have a four year old and two year old they never took two naps a day. My twins have to have two naps a day and I don’t know, I just knew because they were fuzzy and with my twins. And I’m like oh I’ve never had a child that really needed that showed signs of physically needing two naps a day. Whether or not that’s what they really needed or not. I guess I was just waiting for the signs that they needed more sleep. So how do we know what our child needs? Are there some kids that really only need one nap a day even from the get go?

JEN VARELA: So how do we know? So, well first, one of the things that are fascinating to me about sleep is how the brain organizes sleep. So as they get older, their ability to go from nap to bedtime stretches and stretches.
So if you start at the beginning like maybe it was an hour. At three months it’s about two hours. At six months it’s about three hours. At four, at one year it’s about four hours right, before Kerson kicks in. So one of the things that happen is like when you have a two naps schedule going to a one nap schedule, how do you know and why is it important and one of the ways that you know if your child is ready to switch.

I’m going to say ideally, I would like to see it around fifteen months not at twelve months. There are a lot of families that have little ones that start pushing through and they think; ah I guess we’re on a one nap schedule. Well maybe from sleep on a twenty four hour okay. But that distance between last nap and bed time might not be on a one nap schedule. So you might have a kid whose getting enough sleep in a twenty four hour, but that distance between last nap and bed time is still not where it needs to be.

So that’s why I like to keep a two nap schedule as long as you can because that allows you to place it in the right part of the day. But how would you know it’s time to transition? One is if they’re sleeping ten, twelve, eleven hours at night and its uninterrupted and its good sleep and it’s taking them longer to fall asleep for that first nap in the morning. Or, they’re consistently taking a shorter nap in the morning. Or, they sleep so much in the morning that they there nap strike you in the afternoon. And if those things are happening for like fourteen days straight, then you can kind of go, alright it’s time. It’s time to make the transition right?

So, but, but what you need to know is that naps correspond with our energy dips at least a bit, Elizabeth Pantley talks about this where basically the naps enable the body to release cortisol and hormones like adrenalin that combats stress and tension.
So, it’s really important for toddlers to be getting a nap because it helps with their, increase their learning capacity. So, one of the things that a nap does is it, it’s like a midday pause that they can take all that information and log it, so now their brain’s ready for new information. It can actually fill in the gaps for poor night time sleep which is interesting so you can kind of make out for bad nights with naps. And I’m not going to tell you anything, any other parent doesn’t now already which is hello behavior right? Fuzziness right? When they, when they’re getting good naps then they’re less fuzzy and whining. And of course it helps with the time routine too right because they’re not overtired when it’s time to go to bed so

SUNNY GAULT: Colina did you start Adam off with two naps? How did that work?

COLINA CAROTHERS: Yeah he kind of started himself off that way I think. He was not even something I mean and especially in the beginning I think it’s also to foggy you just like he’s tired I’m just putting him to sleep and maybe I can get some sleep. But, and so we just kind of fell into that routine. But our schedule’s a little bit interesting because I work in a later shift. I work my other job three to midnight. So I’m not there for a second nap usually if he’s doing it later, I leave around two from the house. So he’s either right about to hit it or hasn’t yet. And then, I’m not there for bedtime.

So, he’s with his grandma usually right when I leave from work or for work. So she kind of is in the role of afternoon nap. And then my husband does bedtime. So it’s been a weird dynamic figuring our schedule between, okay did he sleep for you? No. Is he going to sleep for you? I don’t know. Let’s see what happens. But yeah, he definitely start out with the two and, but I’m, he’s pretty much cut out morning naps with me. So, I think we’re, I think we’re at that point where we’re searching because he just, he has no interest.

SCOTT KILIAN: Yeah we started off with as many naps as was necessary for him like we try to put him down as much as possible. He was good about telling us when he needed to nap and I think, you know he was in the longer end of the two naps, the two nap schedule. And then there was just like a switch that flipped and then it just kind of, kind of he just made some decisions, you know, to not, maybe nap as much as we’d like him to

SUNNY GAULT: How important is it to stay on a schedule Jen as far as the specific time of day? I knew we talked about the amount of time, you know, between your last nap and bedtime, but how important is it, you know for, you know, toddlers to always nap at one o’clock, and this time. You know what I mean?

JEN VARELA: Right. Why is, because it’s really inconvenient sometimes too right? I mean let’s just, that’s where the four letter, naps comes in right? Because it is, and I like to look at this at a schedule from the standpoint of you have a track to run on so you have a baseline to, if you break the schedule you know how to get back on the schedule right?

So, I try to look at it more from the standpoint of it’s something to help you, not to, you know, but from a, okay so how does it affect the little ones? I mean I think that’s really the bottom line right? As we want to know what’s best for them and so it’s interesting because naps really build a reservoir so they can get off a fresh start. So, if you think about it, the nap, the night sleep gives you a fresh start and then that kind of wears off.


JEN VARELA: Right? And so, they help relieve that sleep pressure. Meaning, I like how Elizabeth Pantley calls it the volcano effect that if you don’t get enough restorative rest then this stress builds, and builds and builds until the little ones lose it, right? And so it’s really, it’s called a homeostatic sleep drive. That basically that your body builds that sleep pressure, and little ones, they can lose their ability to have concentration so they can’t take on any new information. And they’re not able to stop that explosion, right? So they just get more and more inconsolable. So, I think it’s really significant to know that naps can make up for night sleep but night sleep cannot make up for naps

SUNNY GAULT: Wow, okay interesting

JEN VARELA: So you can’t go oh okay, well as long as he’s getting, he’s supposed to get twelve hours and a twenty four hours if he gets all at night then he doesn’t need nap. Well okay, but are they fuzzy, irritable, unhappy, less flexible, you might have a little one that knows how to push through his needs, but that’s not really what he needs, right? I think it’s really funny that the dictionary actually has a definition for what we call the bewitching or fuzzy hour right? It’s called the arsenic hour. And it says the time of day when children and parents have come home but dinner has not yet been served. Seen as being difficult due to everyone being tired and hungry. And I just think that it’s funny that it’s actually in the dictionary right? So, I think, you know, you know when it’s working or not working for your child. But basically how you need to know is that there is a sleep pressure that the nap helps relieve that. And, so it’s important also to make sure that then, we’ll talk a little more about this but then the nap is not too late in the day. Because then there’s not enough sleep pressure when it comes time for bedtime.

SUNNY GAULT: And then you have kids that just don’t want to go to sleep

JEN VARELA: Exactly, right? And so, I think it is important where it’s placed in, and there are different thresholds for different children right? So you can’t always go exactly, oh the book says this, you’ve got to be paying attention to what’s working for your child

SCOTT KILIAN: A gentleman asked a good question, this kind of expand on what Sunny just asked, but with kids, do they respond better to the predictability of being able to, you know, if they are used to napping at one and four, something like that. Is that better than just having this right moment to get two in, it could be whenever. I mean do they respond?

JEN VARELA: Yeah. I mean I think structures ideal, right? For little ones because they know what to expect and they can make that transition. I think if you have a day care, pre-school situation, it’s ideal to keep your schedule the same as what the structure is there which is sometimes also inconvenient. But, yeah, and I think too, you know, maybe even having a bit of a short and routine with nap. Which just allows them to let their subconscious make that shift? So I would say yes, I think the structure and routine and placement, it’s all benefits you in the end right so

SUNNY GAULT: Okay. Well when we come back, we’re going to learn more about the ideal environment for taking a nap and we’ll also get some more great tips from Jen Varela. We’ll be right back

[Theme Music]

SUNNY GAULT: Welcome back, today we’re talking about the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your toddler and your toddler’s naps. So let’s start by talking about nap environment. I know when I’m sleeping I like certain things done or you know dimly lit if possible and you know, I know my children have blankets and stuff that they like to have with them. So, what is the ideal environment like we’re talking about earlier? It’s not always going to be ideal. But if we could make it ideal, what are we aiming for?And is that subjective? Is that dependent on the child? You know,

JEN VARELA: Right. So I think there’s, you know, some bullet points I can just go, bam bam bam through.


JEN VARELA: So, you know, it’s a dimly lit room that you just said. Yes that would be ideal, however if you have a child who’s mixing up day and night? Then you probably need to keep more light in the room for nap in order to get them on that circadian rhythm. So, it doesn’t necessarily need to be black out situation because the brain, you want the brain to still know its day time so that’s kind of interesting. White noise, you might often have that louder during the day than you need to at night because of a phone ringing or other high pitched noises that are happening. Room temperature should be between sixty eight and seventy two degrees. You know it’s an interesting thing but not all mattresses are the same and so you really need to make sure that your’s is meeting all these safety guidelines. And I would recommend that you make sure that there’s not any recoils especially if you bought something second hand.

And some mattresses have flip sides. So if you have younger ones that you have used to toddler mattress pad, you know, crib that’s going to next one either might be infant side or toddler side so take a look at that. You want to eliminate any suffocation hazards right? That could be involved. And then for older children, toddlers, I think you really need to make sure that all your heavy furniture’s secured to the wall. Because if they get up from their nap and they’re like, oh I think I’ll climb up this dresser, all of a sudden what happens right? So I think that’s important. [inaudible] naps and ideally is your stationary naps are better. They’re more restorative. However, a motion nap is better than no nap, right?

SUNNY GAULT: So like, being in the car kind of thing?

JEN VARELA: Yes. It’s what I’m talking, cars, stroller, baby wearing right? And one of the things to keep in mind about the car that are suspends car seat. There have been things that have come up recently right? About these little ones that have had their head bent forward and so their air ways restricted. And that’s a real issue. So, car seats are my, I used to be like, oh it’s all good. Car seat, bring it in the house. I kind of changed my status on that or my opinion on that. You know, can you keep your child from not falling asleep in the car, probably not. But it would be the place that I would recommend that you bring that car seat in and just let them still continue to sleep in that. And with that you know, if there’s little ones I guess swing keep that in mind too. You know, it’s kind of the same concept. And then one other thing I think is really cool and Doctor Sears talks about it and the book The Baby Sleep book. That sometimes you can entice a toddler to take a nap if you’ll make a nest. So if you like make a cozy little spot behind the couch or you have a card board box that you’ve cut out and they can make their little nest in there. Sometimes, little ones just feel kind of lonely in big bed on their own. And being in a little nest you can make it this special thing and they might be enticed to take a nap.

SCOTT KILIAN: Yeah I was going to ask you about that because we found that barricading him in with, you know, Andrea had this, this like, this, this kind of like horseshoe shaped pillow that she used when she, the pregnancy pillow, yeah.

SUNNY GAULT: Best friend.

SCOTT KILIAN: So she kind of like put him in there and tuck him in and all that. And that and making him

JEN VARELA: Feel more secure right?

SCOTT KILIAN: In a smaller area. And a lot of times when I come and pick him up from school, I’ll see him, if he’ still napping he’ll be inside of a [inaudible] or something dragged over the top. It seems to work, work really well so you’re

JEN VARELA: Yes so maybe a nest, yeah. I think that’s really cool for toddlers because you don’t worry so much about their safety as much so I think it’s really. And it’s worked for some of my clients which is been the . . .

SUNNY GAULT: Colina what do you do to help Adam sleep?


SUNNY GAULT: Pray really hard

COLINA CAROTHERS: Yeah. Because even now, because he still breastfeeds and that used to be my fallback. Like we had a little routine where for his morning naps anyways he would sleep in pretty good for me. And so we’d get up, you know, we have breakfast so we do or play a little bit usually then have breakfast. And then he usually be really messy but after breakfast so then we, you know, give him a little shower wash off and then he’d nurse and fall asleep. And that was his morning nap. He doesn’t nurse and fall asleep in the morning though now he nurses and he looks at me and says yey it’s time to play and off he goes. I’m like, that was my like guarantee like if I nurse him at least I knew he would drift off to sleep and that’s not working now either.
So, I don’t have any good advice because I’m trying to figure it out

SUNNY GAULT: Well now that it fits now with my next question. So Jen what do we do about reluctant nappers?

JEN VARELA: Right. Because it’s amazing how they can will themselves not to sleep as toddlers’ right? They’re so powerful. And they realized, oh I’m so powerful, I can do this, right? So obviously exercise is a great thing, I call it running the pony’s right, just like for adults you got to wear them out you know and then they’re going to sleep better. It’s a fresh air outdoor play socializing. If you have a busy morning then they’re going to be more up to give you a good nap in the afternoon. However, you have to watch out that you don’t over stimulate them right? And then now you’re like, oh we missed, we missed it right? We missed the window when we . . .

SUNNY GAULT: They got their second win . . .

JEN VARELA: So a couple of things to keep in mind is that screen time, you know the back lit lights they kind of block the melatonin kicking in. So, screens would be good to have off at least an hour before you are going to take a nap. So there’s to let melatonin kick in. And, make sure you’re not giving the nap too late right because you’ve missed that first sleep window. And then you know maybe you need to transition with them right. So you have a little bit of a routine where you guys, there’s a lot to be said about progressive muscle relaxation basically what that is, I would like with my son I have a story right and I tell the same story every time and we start in his toes and we talk about his toes and how his toes fell heavy and like little rocks. And now his feet become statues and he can feel the sunshine coming up his legs and his body feels all warm.

Like you can talk them through being aware of relaxing their body right? And if you the same story every time, it’s like they know it’s coming and they know to do that. So I recommend that you look for a way to make that a positive connecting time but a downshift right. So it’s just like if you have them in the park and you didn’t give them the ten minute warning what are they going to do? They’re going to freak because they didn’t get to say goodbye to the slide, the swing and the sand.
So, it’s the same thing, you need to give them the warning that the nap is coming. And if you do a routine in the same method, same order and you help them learn how to be in touch with winding their body down.

SUNNY GAULT: That makes so much sense because that is what you do for night time when you’re ready to go to bed right?

SCOTT KILIAN: Yeah. I guess that’s an awesome idea. I’m a big story teller with Alex. I love the stories and I never once ever thought about actually bringing that to nap time. I just never made that a connection but the stories work. They work a hundred percent of the time and you know when you tell it to them, so that’s . . .

JEN VARELA: And engaging them and with their bodies too to relax their muscles right?

SUNNY GAULT: All good. So, what about parents lying down with their children during nap time because this is the situation that I find myself in. And it still does not work so let me set the scene her so, my four year old and two year old share a bedroom. They have separate beds, they’re in twin beds that can be bunk beds but they’re not bunk beds right now they’re too young. So, but they’re both, you know, in the same room and so usually what I’ll do is I’ll lie down with the two year old because the two year old will fuzz if I’m not in bed with him. If I lay down with his brother he will not lay down. So I can reason with the four year old and say, you know, I’m going to lay down with your brother when you’re brother falls asleep I’ll come over to you or something like that usually works. But what I’m finding now is two year old will fall asleep pretty quickly usually. But then the four year old just fights me, and fights me and fights me. And so, I end up spending, I get frustrated because if I’m going to be in there laying down with my kids I would rather be napping, you know, not fighting with my child to sleep. I would rather catch them seeds, so, do you find that it’s helpful for parents to lay down with their child and what’s your advice on that really?

JEN VARELA: So and we’re talking about like the four year old, the two year old

SUNNY GAULT: I don’t know I just need help with my situation. I’m talking about me Jen . . .

JEN VARELA: Okay so here’s what I would say, it’s that same thing I always say, if you fell asleep in your living room and you woke up in your bedroom you’d be like, one too many mojitos, how did I get here? Right? As compared to if I fell asleep in the bedroom and the pillows on the floor, not so shocking right. So the whole concept of learning how to self regulate or self sleep. However, I get it, that nap time is not the same as night time right. So, I like the idea of patient stretching versus, so, here’s what I would say. If you could take the nap then I would say “yey” for you right? If you can, and I don’t see anything wrong with that I think. I have no problem with co-sleeping if you’re doing it safely I think it’s a great thing. The concept is the ability to self sleep or the ability to be able to put yourself to sleep and not be dependent on that special little caressing touch or you know that nice little spooning and they can only fall asleep that way, that’s the bummer. Because when they go through a sleep cycle they will wake and not necessarily go in and extend that nice nap to something closer to an hour and a half right?

So that’s the detriment. The detriment is if they can’t self suit and being able to take a long enough nap. So if that’s the case and that’s not working for you to take the nap with them, then I think Dr. Harvey Cart talks about patient stretching where you start working on their ability to contain themselves for a little longer, a little longer, a little longer. And you can do that outside of nap time first, and then you can start doing like, you start to do the whole little lay down with them that kind of routine and they go, oh, you know what, I forgot to turn off the light out there right? You know, so then, you say, you stay right here I’ll be right back right? And then you go do that, and then the next was, oh mama needs to go to the bathroom, I’ll be back right? And you’re gone a little longer. So I know it’s a little tricky right? But sometimes it’s better to be a little tricky than to have to do a head on battle, right? Because it’s really going to help them go to sleep if you’re having this crazy raging battle between them it’s not. So, I would be more mindful of, is it causing a problem, if it’s causing a problem then that means that you probably need to help them learn how to do that on their own. And it’s better to patient stretch them on that than it is to just battle it out with them.


JEN VARELA: Does that help?

SUNNY GAULT: Yeah. I think so. Well Jen, thank you so much for joining us today. For more information on toddler naps or if you want to learn more about our expert, you can visit our website at This conversation continues for members of the parent savers club and our bonus content, Jen will give us some tips for what to do when you need to skip a nap or nap on the go. For more information about the club visit our website.

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ALISA DILORENZO: Hello Parent Savers, this is Alisa DiLorenzo co-founder of One Extraordinary Marriage where we educate, entertain, encourage and inspire you to have mind blowing intimacy in your marriage. Today we’re going to talk about the benefits of cuddling with your spouse. Making time to cuddle with your spouse before and after sex can do wonders for your marriage. You know that your skin is the largest organ on your body. And because it is, you should be using it to the benefit of your marriage. When your skin is in contact with your spouse’s skin through cuddling, you’ll connect at a deeper level, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
It’s time to enjoy cuddling with your spouse. Cuddling releases the hormone oxytocin, the feel good hormone which can lean to overall feelings of happiness. It also releases endorphins which are the same hormones that are released during a good workout.

Non verbal communication makes up ninety three percent of how you and your spouse interact with each other. By cuddling together there’s talk without the words. Making time to cuddle with your spouse will also help you sleep better. Recent studies have shown that cuddling may lower levels of cortisol which is released during response to stress. Less cortisol in your body means better sleep for you. When it comes to foreplay, take the time to enjoy that skin on skin contact before moving forward. Allow yourself to physically be present in the moment as you bond, build trust and companionship. Take back your bedroom. Remember what your bed is intended for. Leave the book, TV, phone, tablet and other items out of your bedroom.

Cuddling helps to focusing on the two of you and not all the other stuff. It’s time for you to cuddle up in your marriage. Make sure to check out our bestselling book, Seven Days of Sex Challenge at and to promo code parentsavers at check out and save twenty percent off your entire order. Thanks for listening to this sex talk and be sure to listen to parent savers for more great parenting tips in the future.

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SUNNY GAULT: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Parent Savers.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed and
• Twin Talks for parents of multiple kids.

This is Parent Savers empowering new parents.

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series or if you’re a business or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit .

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