Elizabeth Pantley, the president of Better Beginnings, Inc. a family resource and education company, is a parenting expert who appears regularly on radio and in newspapers and magazines, such as American Baby, Good Housekeeping, Parents, Parenting, Redbook, and Woman's Day. She is the author of 10 parenting books, including the No-Cry Solution series of books that cover topics like discipline, potty training, separation anxiety, and sleep issues. She and her husband live in Washington and have four children. Pantley recently offered advice on solving children's nap problems.
What prompted you to write about babies and napping?
I set out on this venture knowing that parents struggle getting their children to nap; it's a frequent topic that readers write to me about, and they have lots of questions. Everyone knows that children need naps, but parents seem confused about how much nap time their children need and how to actually get them to sleep well during the day.
I thought I knew everything there was to know about naps, since I've written two other books and countless articles about children and sleep, but I was shocked and amazed at the new information I discovered while writing this book.
What are some typical problems associated with napping?
While adults would welcome a break during the day, children often resist a nap, and even when they do nap they often wake up too soon, so they do not get enough rest. The results are crying, fussy babies and cranky, grouchy kids who later have trouble sleeping at night because they are too tired to sleep!
What are some good nap strategies?
There are many ideas for helping a child to take good naps. The first key is to begin watching your child carefully for signs of tiredness and make sure he gets a rest time whenever he needs one. Also, to be certain that the nap room is quiet, except for soft music or white noise, and comfortable for your child. Darkness helps aid sleep, too.
As a child progresses through his day, his biology demands a sleep break to regroup and refresh. If a child does not get this break, the problem intensifies, building until the end of the day, so that a child becomes overtired, wired and fussy. The result is an overtired child who won't fall asleep, no matter how tired you know he is.
Do you have any other advice you'd like to offer?
Naps are a miraculous, life-enhancing activity. A nap can transform a crying, fussing baby into a cooing, smiling delight. A nap can convert a cranky, whiny child into a happier, healthier, and more adaptable little person. A nap can rescue a grouchy, moody parent and allow the loving mom or dad to reappear. Naps are magical breaks in the day that rejuvenate the entire family, so it's wise to put "naps" on the top of your priority list!
Where can we read more about you?
I have many excerpts, articles, Q & A and even contests on my website at Elizabeth Pantley.