Structure and routine are critical for easy naps.
It may seem amazing that your child manages to nap with a bunch of other kids in the room when you can’t get a short snooze out of her in her own comfy bed, but preschools have an advantage over home, explains Raffaelli. “Your child is with a group of other children who are doing the same thing, so it’s just easier to go along with the rest.” Even if you can’t import ten other 3-year-olds every day at naptime, there are some other tricks.
Mary Eltgroth, assistant director of New Horizon Child Care Center, in Savage, Minnesota, recommends that you first give her time to unwind before her nap—a half hour minimum—being careful not to suggest an activity that engrosses her so much that she won’t want to interrupt it to sleep. Next, create a routine: the same time, the same music, the same bed, and the same expectation: quiet or sleep.
Cutting down on distractions can also help, says Drolette, who runs a fan (out of reach) to block out background noise and suggests that restless kids cover their eyes with a blanket so they’re not tempted to keep looking around.