The aromas of lavender, chamomile, jasmine, sweet orange, and vanilla have long been used to entice relaxation. You can find scented pillows, stuffed animals, sprays, sachets or potpourri. (Don’t use candles where a child will be left alone.) These pleasant smells can enhance relaxation and can also become a cue for rest time.
The food that your child eats prior to the Hush Hour can affect his ability to relax. There are foods that can induce a feeling of calm and even drowsiness, so a well-planned lunch or snack can help your child relax. The best foods to aid rest time are: whole grains, green leafy vegetables, cow’s milk, soy milk, bananas, avocados, nut butters, seeds and warm milk. (And the best rest-inducing food: breastmilk.)
Many children respond well to massage, back scratching or gentle touch as a way to help them relax. Massage is also proven to stimulate circulation, digestion, promote rest and boost the immune system. Massage can also increase the connection between parent and child.
Decide on a time and place and create a simple daily routine leading up to Hush Hour. It might consist of having lunch, cleaning up, choosing a stuffed animal to rest with, selecting music, setting a timer, and settling into the Hush Hour nest.
One way to help your child relax is to assure him that that The Hush Hour has a specific beginning and a certain end. You can do this by setting an iPod or clock radio to play soft music for the entire one hour period of time. Tell your child that he can get up when the music stops. This is a wonderful method because if your child actually does fall asleep he will likely sleep even after the sound stops.
When to Discontinue the Hush Hour
Even if your child functions well without a nap there is no harm in continuing to keep a Hush Hour built into your child’s daily schedule. Every human being benefits from a break in the middle of the day, so if you and your child enjoy the peace and tranquility then by all means, continue the practice for as long as it works for your family.
This is an excerpt from The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, January 2009).
Elizabeth Pantley is a mother of four, grandmother, and author of the bestselling book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution plus 8 other books in the No-Cry Solution Series which helps Moms and Dads through all key stages of parenting. Visit her at nocrysolution.com