Q My 18-month-old re­fuses her nap af­ter lunch, but then falls asleep around 5pm. How can I get her to nap prop­erly?

Mother & Baby (UK) - - HERE TO HELP - Re­becca Abram­son, Lon­don

At this age, meal­times can be very emo­tional and in­volve power strug­gles, ne­go­ti­a­tions and tears, so your tot may be too hyped up to nap post-lunch. Try cre­at­ing a calm, peace­ful lunch en­vi­ron­ment – dim the lights, play a repet­i­tive lul­laby, and give her the free­dom to eat as much or as lit­tle as she wants. She can al­ways catch up with a post-nap snack!

Some foods can help lull your tod­dler to­wards sleep, too: try ba­nanas, cher­ries, oats, and turkey. And set a fixed time for lunch as far as is pos­si­ble, as this will mean her body clock knows when to pro­duce the sleep hor­mone and slide into a nice snooze.

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