The nap makes small children fit for the next round of play and learn. But not always work falling asleep. And sometimes the kids make the nap earlier than hoped again.

During the lunch Silence is golden

Toddler nap Teaser

Photo: © Vasina

Parents know instinctively: The nap is an important break for her baby or child, in which it get new energy to explore his world. But he also makes wise: "In sleep what they have learned is repeated until it has firmly established"Explains sleep researcher Professor Jürgen Zulley of the University of Regensburg. The same neural connections are activated as when learning awake. Daycare should even use the day sleeping specifically when it comes to sleep researcher Prof. Jan Born of the University of Lübeck: "If the children hold regular afternoon nap, to thereby significantly improve long-term learning achievement," said Neuroendocrinology Born. When growing up sleeping also helps by the way, because while the brain releases a growth hormone.

When babies body clock ticks differently than the family clock

But that keeps the nap, what it promises, the young must first go to sleep. And that does not always work right away. "I can (6 months) Always lie Noel when I picked up our Great (5) from kindergarten, although he usually is tired because since half an hour. If I would put him to sleep earlier, I would have him even tear out of the crib after half an hour. When we get back, but he often whines forever to himself without his "eyes close, says Christine Peters (39) stumped.

Noel that no longer falls asleep after picking up the sister, has a simple reason: His body clock ticks differently than that of everyday family life. It yawns, is tearful, avoiding eye contact, bobbing, makes fists or his eyes or ears rub: It is optimal if a baby is then put to sleep when it shows signs of fatigue. But this is not always possible. Here parents should be patient, advise sleep experts. For babies and toddlers have called for sleeping time slot. When they are tired, but can not be put to sleep, the opportunity to sleep will pass for now. The next window will appear after 50 to 60 minutes. Christine could distract a while and put him down for an hour once Noel so.

The ideal time: right after lunch

Similar problems falling asleep, it can also be when children remain over lunch in the day care center and can be picked up until the early afternoon. The famous "dead point" is then often overcome the child kicking and untwisted or. The best time for napping, it Studies show between 12 and 14.30, so right after lunch. The body now needs rest in order to devote himself to digestive work. Here, too, you have to wait until the next time window opens to sleep. Better it can be there when the child be "Power Nap" (nap) is still taking in Kiga. But even here, teachers should not force anything. Not every child can sleep in kindergarten when the older children to continue.

successfully attract the Sandman

For a child to noon asleep well, help the same rituals that reconciled in the night sleep: Tightening of pajamas or sleeping bag, the gentle melody of favorite music box, the rocking of the rocker or the Schuckeln the office car and a quiet song. Just rocking particularly easy to fall eyes, so moving "sleeping quarters" as cradle or bassinet with wheels in the first months of life are better than fixed Cots. But some babies sleep well liked day one on the arm and then with kid gloves must be put down gently.

Sleeps a baby or toddler, despite all the effort and although the time is right only a cumbersome, it may have had in the morning just too much program. "Forbid a child downright against the nap, though it obviously would have him urgently needed, it may be because it has too much to receive input ', as baby courses, trips or visits," says physician Dr. Andrea Schmelz, author and editor of a parent counselor.

At noon there may remain bright

Many parents believe that the place where your child sleeps at night, which is best for a nap. But the nap has its own rules. Many a baby is sleeping where family life plays more easily than at home, quiet room - or about on the sheepskin, the rocker, traveling in a stroller, and in the car anyway. Older children have more of a need for rest, however: Scientists have observed that children need even more silence, the older they are. Wherever sleeps a child - the room in question should be at most slightly obscured. Because simulated one night, gets especially in babies feel for when it's really night (and thus time for a more extended sleep) is messed up.

As long as the nap should last?

Most babies do in their first year about two to three days nap, morning, noon and early afternoon. Because after three to five hours of activity it is for them again time to rest. Babies sleep during the day, taken together, about three to four hours, but this can vary greatly from child to child.

Eventually, however - usually between nine and 18 months - put children to sleep and only once a day. And there really are: children who afternoons sleep for three hours and still evenings are again ready for bed at 19 o'clock. But these are exceptions. Many children sleep at night, a difficult if they have the afternoon rested too long. Here you can try to limit a nap to one to one and a half hours. Because the total sleep needs of a child over 24 hours can be neither larger nor smaller - but you can redistribute it. should be between the end of the nap and the evening Insbettgehen are at least four hours, experts advise.


Lunch instead nap

"I despair just! Mika is 20 months old, and the nap is becoming increasingly difficult. He always takes up to two hours before he sleeps. Then it is usually already 15:00, and he sleeps only one hour, "a mother complained in an online forum. Pediatricians emphasize that a child who is not asleep after 20 minutes, is not tired enough. "Many a toddler wants to noon not sleep even with just under two years. Therefore, parents should focus on the needs of their child, "advises Dr. Melting in such cases. "But I think Mika needs noon yet his sleep because he constantly gets hurt and falls down because he is tired," observed his mother.

So Mika is in an intermediate stage: He is not tired enough for a nap, but has problems, without this to survive the afternoon well. Such children helps a lunch break instead of sleep. During this time you can snuggle with the child, read him something, let it listen to an audio book or hang up a CD of relaxing music. So a break does not have to last longer than 30 minutes.

A quarter of all children heard early on with the nap

Mika is not alone: ​​A quarter of all children will stop with the nap before the third birthday. Half makes him until the age of three to four years. And only a quarter enjoy it longer even at the age of five years or more. "There are huge individual differences in sleep duration. should force you an afternoon nap did not, "says Professor Zulley. A lunch break may be the best solution when a child is picked up until the afternoon of the care and did not sleep there. Otherwise lie between the end of the afternoon nap at home and the nightly bedtime often no longer the recommended four hours, which may cause the child falls asleep at night difficult.

Sometimes the day sleep comes back

Some children who have early left off with the nap, but start off again when they come to kindergarten. "Leon (3) sleeping actually been around for nine months no more," his mother told Bärbel. "But since he goes to kindergarten, he's noon so flat that we started again. Even when picking up he cries with fatigue for every little thing, and sleeps at home after a few minutes. "

Normal: feeling low when you wake up

After the mid-day nap often appears a phenomenon that makes many parents perplexed: "My daughter (2,5) is after the nap is always something of a bad mood, no matter if I wake her loving or she wakes up by itself, does not matter, how long or how short she is sleeping, "a mother complained in an online forum," it needs 40 to 60 minutes until it goes again. "" I know, our two-year-old is always totally tearful after the nap. When ye also lasts up to an hour, until you can do something with it, "says another mother. But why are many children after waking up as "bad mood"? "Most sleep little lunch not as deep as night, and they find it difficult to reorient aware from one situation to the next within a short time," explains graduate social worker Christiane Schuster in her parents' advisory board. Best leave it to the child time to wake up while listening to music in bed or cuddle with the stuffed animal. "The mother or other caregiver should while staying within earshot."