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How to Know When it is Time to Extend Waketime Length Between Naps
What do you do if your baby/toddler/child suddenly stops going right to sleep for naps? If your baby starts playing in the crib before the nap is supposed to start, then it is likely you need to extend waketime length. Before you do extend waketime, though, consider some things:
- Did you put baby down at the normal time? If not, try putting baby down at the same time as usual the next day and see if it continues.
- Is this a continuing trend? Sometimes baby will just stay up one day. If it is a few days, though, then baby likely needs a longer waketime.
- Is baby learning a new skill? When baby is learning a new skill, often times naps will be disrupted. See: Playing in the Crib/Bed and Nap Disruptions: Rolling, Standing, Crawling, etc:
- Is baby teething? Sick? Ear infection?
- Is baby over tired? This is a tricky part. If baby was up too long, then there will also likely be playing in the bed before naptime because a second wind will have entered. That is why I say if baby starts playing in crib despite a normal waketime length, consider extending waketime.
- Are conditions the same as usual? Same temperature, noise level, etc.
Once you have considered those items, decide if you think it is time to extend waketime length. If so, your next decision is how much to extend it by. With Kaitlyn, I extend only 5 minutes and see how that goes. That is usually enough for her. With Brayden, we usually did about 15 minutes. As you get to know your baby, you will have a better idea of what to do, but I would recommend you err on the side of caution since too much waketime will result in poor sleep.
If your baby is not to the point of waking up happy, he might cry instead of playing before a nap. But use caution with the younger babies because usually crying (that isn’t normal) means too much waketime.
When you are extending waketime, I recommend that you do not force longer waketime. Follow the cues of your child. If you force a longer waketime before baby is ready, you are likely to have a shorter nap.
- Waketime: Length, Extending, and Calculating
- Optimal Waketime Lengths
- All Babywise Related Sleep Posts