Naps, the final frontier

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Categories Napping, Sleep, Toddlers

How many times have we written about naps on here, about a million?  Well, that’s because it seems to be a never-ending saga.  You never seem to get more than a couple of weeks in a row (if that) where things work smoothly.  Then it’s an illness, a disruption, a shift in the schedule.  Maybe you get back to what you had before, maybe you shift to a new normal.

New normal is the path we’re on right now.  My kids are working on that long, drawn-out transition to one nap.  Oh, have I mentioned that before?  Yeah, that’s because it just keeps going.

Right now, actually, I’m in a period of relative predictability.  It just isn’t a predictability that I especially like!  My kids definitely still need their morning nap, and go down for it quite easily on the vast majority of mornings.  Yay, time for mommy to shower!  Except, if left to their own devices, they’d sometimes sleep until nearly 11AM (that’s from about 9).  Oh, such a terrible thing to complain about, huh?  Well, it would be lovely.  Except that if they sleep that long in the morning, they absolutely positively will not take an afternoon nap.  And that results in total screaming meltdowns in the late-afternoon and early evening.  Too late to try for a late nap, too early to put them to bed (and believe me, I’m a big fan of the early bedtime).  Harumph.

So, what’s the new normal?  It breaks my heart, because every morning I have to go in and wake my kids up from their nap no later than 10:15.  Some mornings they wake up on their own, but not often.  I know, it goes against the cardinal rule of parenting: never wake a sleeping child! Except that the one Weissbluth exception to that rule is when it’s in the interest of preserving the rest of the nap schedule.  Sigh.   So, I wake them up by 10:15, and then it’s pretty much required that they run around for at least 45 minutes somewhere outside of the house.  Our backyard will do, a park is better.  A trip to Target followed by playing with toys in our own house absolutely will not cut it.  And even then, I often don’t put them down for that afternoon nap until more like 1:30 (used to be 12:30 or 1!).  And even then, they sometimes still fight and/or skip it.  Oy.

I suspect I will soon adopt the tactic that I used when they dropped the third (late-afternoon) nap back when they were about eight months old.  They didn’t want to take that nap anymore, but they needed at least a little catnap to make it to bedtime.  So post-2nd-nap is when we’d do our outings, and then they’d usually doze off in the car for 20 minutes or so on the way home.  Perfect.  Just enough.  That, I have a feeling, will shortly become our morning routine.  Don’t put them down, but go for an outing mid-morning and they can doze off in the car or stroller for a brief snooze, then come home, play, do lunch, and do an early afternoon nap (that will hopefully last long enough that they don’t totally melt down at dinnertime).  We shall see.  I’m not there yet, but I can see it coming…

And yes, it gives me heart palpitations to even consider the day when they drop naps entirely.  I just don’t want to think about it.  Speaking of being outside… it’s 11:15, gotta get ’em running!

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5 thoughts on “Naps, the final frontier”

  1. Oh, I hate, hate, hate this nap transition. Napping too short a time. Trying to find the perfect nap time. SKIPPING the one nap. All hideous. I wish I had words of wisedom for you. I have none.

  2. Oh Goddess, how I remember that frustration…that as soon as we got in a good nap groove, the kids would somehow evolve/grow into a new daily cycle.

    You’ll all make it, but it truly is a crash course in parental flexibility!

  3. We’re doing the same thing at our house. My boys are 18 months and maybe wanting to drop the morning nap some days, but most days need both. I have to make sure they are up by 10:30 from the morning nap, otherwise they won’t go down again around 1:30. I have friends who can’t believe they are still taking 2. I say, I’m not gonna mess with it. I’m pregnant with number 3 and need both breaks during the day. When I think we can all handle it, then I’ll work on dropping that morning nap for good.
    Good luck.

  4. oooh, we are right there with you! i never know what to expect from naps anymore. i like your idea of getting them outside to play though, i hadn’t thought of doing that but i think i am going to try it tomorrow!

  5. I know this was posted nearly a year ago, but I’d love to hear how it finally played out. I’m in this transition now [I think????Who knows!] and am clueless and frustrated on what to do. They seem to be like your kids in that they’ll sleep forever if I let them and then refuse to take an afternoon nap. But, not quite ready for just one nap. I’m really nervous about not letting them nap at all that they wouldn’ t make it to 1 pm and I don’t want to have them on an odd nap schedule, you know?

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