Self Settling and Nap Transitions

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Read on to find out some of my best tips for dealing with teaching your little one to self settle and handling nap transitions.

Self Settling


4 KEY points when teaching your little one to self settle!


Start At The Beginning of the night

I always recommend starting from the beginning of the night. So I don’t make changes from the naps, I begin with the night time then move into naps the next day.


Ensure your little one is wide awake

For little ones above 3 months I find even getting them drowsy first can mean they will still be reliant on whatever their prop is to get to sleep. The aim is wide awake when going into bed. For example if your little one is reliant on being rocked to sleep a number of times throughout the night and you rock them till they are drowsy at the beginning of the night there is a good chance that habit won’t change.


Don’t try and make changes when your little one is overtired

Be mindful of awake times. Trying to teach an over tired baby to self settle is a nightmare. So during the day on the day you begin, get your little one sleep however you can. Then from that evening make the changes you plan to put in place.


Have A Plan

Have a solid plan and make sure your plan doesn’t set you up to swap your props. So ensure your plan isn’t setting you up to drop the dummy but pat and shush to sleep instead, as an example.


Nap Transitions

Nap transitions can be a roller coaster but here are some great ways to help smooth the process.


Don’t Rush The Process

If your little one starts refusing their last nap of the day add 15-30 minutes to the awake time prior to that nap and keep it for a while longer.


Add Some Time

When they still refuse that nap then begin to shuffle naps out by adding around 15 minutes before first and 15-30 before second nap (for example).


Take A Stroll

Take a stroll in the later afternoon to give your little one some down time in the pram. The added Endorphins can’t be bad for you either.


Change It Up (A Little)

Bring bedtime forward if the drop of the nap then leads to a lengthy awake period before bed. 5:45 pm to 6 pm is completely reasonable.


The period between morning waking and first nap is generally the shortest. Be mindful not to make that awake time too lengthy too quickly.


The Gentle Sleep Specialist xo

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Tara Mitchell

Tara Mitchell

As a qualified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant, paediatric nurse, and mother, I have supported thousands of parents and families to create healthy sleep habits with their little ones. My caring nature enables me to build lasting rapport with families and create the best plan based on each individual child. Sleep provides much needed help to the physical, emotional and mental well being of the child and parents.

Your complete guide to naps, awake time and feed schedules (Your entire day!) from 3 months to 2 years!