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What Do I Do When My Child Takes a DANGERNAP?

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

The “DANGERNAP” is yet another new term that has popped into the “parenting vocabulary” in the last year or so and is being used as an excuse for a crap night or a hellish bedtime. However, if a child is usually getting the right amount of sleep at the right time, and they have good sleeping habits, it shouldn’t be a problem. It should actually work to your benefit.





For example, this photo was taken on our way home from a busy day out at the water park. If our son had stayed awake for the whole journey home, he would have been tired and a pain in the arse once we got home and were trying to make dinner. Instead, because he’d had his powernap, he was happy to play while we cooked and he then ate his dinner and went to bed late, but perfectly!


So the “dangernap” becomes a powernap if you have a good bedtime routine and positive sleep habits!


Babies and children will fall asleep at random times ONLY if they really need the sleep. It is their way of saying, “Hey grownups, I’m knackered”! So if you try to keep them awake, you’re actually heading towards a more difficult bedtime and potently a difficult night because they are likely to be totally OVERTIRED.


However, if you allow them to have a powernap of one short sleep cycle, either 20 or 40 minutes, this will take the edge off their exhaustion and allow you to go through a RELAXED proper bedtime routine at a slightly later bedtime, which will signal to them that they are going to bed for the night. If you stop them from taking the powernap, you risk them having a wild and adrenaline filled bedtime that becomes stressful, leading them to having a disrupted night due to the adrenaline in their system.


Alternatively, you stop them from taking a “dangernap” because you’ve heard/you know it will make bedtime hell and you put them to bed an hour early. BUT this is likely to lead to early-rising which is really tricky to fix once it sets in.


So if your little one does take a “DANGERNAP!!!” (a nap a bit late in the day), here’s what you need to do:

  1. Let them sleep for 20 or 40 minutes

  2. Ensure they have a good dinner

  3. Start your bedtime routine 30-45 minutes later than usual

  4. Ensure the bedtime routine is relaxed, NOT RUSHED

  5. Look for tired signs and then put them to bed 30-90 minutes later than their usual bedtime.

DO NOT TRY TO PUT THEM TO BED AT THEIR USUAL BEDTIME UNLESS THEY ARE GIVING LOTS OF TIRED SIGNS.


And if you already have a child who sleeps well, their late nap shouldn’t affect their bedtime, their night or their morning.

However, if your little one isn’t in the best sleep habits, you may still have a tricky bedtime. I’m which case, we can help you sort out their general sleep which will mean that the “dangernap“ isn’t a problem either.

Call us on 07977 462252 or email info@sleepfairyparentrescue.co.uk

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