Fathers who section of a portion of the day to allow their young children to take an afternoon nap may be doing more than just getting some quiet time.
According to new research that was presented at the June 8 Sleep 2009 conference, children between the ages of 4 and 5 who were not permitted to take daytime naps were reported by their parents to display more instances of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression when compared to children who regularly took naps.
Dr Brian Crosby, lead author of the study and postdoctoral fellow of psychology at Pennsylvania State University, said that previous research had linked poor or inadequate sleep to symptoms of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.
"There is a lot of individual variability in when children are ready to give up naps," Crosby said. "I would encourage parents to include a quiet ‘rest’ time in their daily schedule that would allow children to nap if necessary."
But how does one get their child to actually take a nap?
Fathers who are new to naptime will have to use their parenting skills to ease the activity into a child’s daily schedule.
The first step is to decide on a regular time for the nap and to make sure that time sticks. Incorporating a routine is important.
Friends, relatives and other potential distractions should be barred from visiting the home during nap time. This also includes no running errands or taking phone calls on the father‘s part. In fact, it may be a good idea to unplug the phone from the wall and turn the cell phones off.
The room for the nap should feel comfortable and calming. Achieve this effect by dimming the lights and maybe playing some soft music in the background.
Finally, avoid giving children any food that has a high content of sugar or caffeine, since they will run counter to them taking a nap.