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Respecting the Nap by Christine Lee-McNaughton

21 January 2011 28 Comments

Guest Post by BornFreeMom.ca Panel Member, Christine Lee-McNaughton

The nap. There is just so much I would love to say about “the nap”.  Before I had a child, I never really thought much about naps.  I was never one to nap.  I was a go-go-go person who found naps a waste of time. I also found that if I did nap on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I wasn’t able to sleep later at night when it was time for bed. Definitely NOT a nap person.

Then I got pregnant and found that I’d get so tired all the time. By 3PM (on the dot!) I’d need to crash.

After Little One was born, I found that I *needed* to nap. Did I nap though? Of course not. Everyone always told me to sleep when she sleeps. Nap when she naps. As if! The only time I could actually get stuff done around the house was when she was napping.

Now, she’s a very busy, active, into-everything two year old. She used to take a nap in the morning (9AM-11AM) and then a nap in the afternoon (1PM-3PM). Her bedtime routine was supper, play, take a bath, brush teeth, read a few books, sing a few bedtime songs, and then sleep. She normally sleeps for twelve hours straight at night. Little One also had the uncanny ability to fall asleep wherever she was. Be it at a concert, in church, at a party, at a restaurant…It didn’t matter where we were. She’d have no issues sleeping.

She has since dropped her morning nap, but afternoon nap and bedtime remain the same. The only difference is that she has to get up earlier since she goes to her grandparents’ when I’m teaching.

Now I know what everyone meant by “respect the nap”.  Pre-baby, I used to balk at comments my mommy friends would make. For example: “I have to cancel our lunch date. The baby is napping” or “You just don’t understand. Wait until you have your own babies and then you’ll know what I mean about the nap”.  My thought was, “Ummm…So? Take him anyway”.  Oh, how naive I was. Okay, how clueless I was! Babies need their naps! My toddler needs her naps. Otherwise, I end up with a really crabby little monkey. She’s pretty good though. She tolerates me taking her all over creation and disrupting her routine if I  have to. I know young children need routines, and we stick to her routine for the most part. At the same time, we don’t stop living our lives. We accommodate Little One’s schedule and nap times, but we also continue to bring her places and occasionally let her stay up late if there’s a party or dinner with family and friends.

All children are different, and some need to have a perfectly quiet house to sleep in. Others can sleep through fireworks on Canada Day (yes, it happened with Little One! She slept through the entire fireworks display). Some kids are fine going to bed a bit later, while others need to be in bed by 7PM the latest. Parents know their own kids best and they know what works for them and what doesn’t.

What do you think? Do you abide by strict nap time rules or are you a bit lenient when it comes to routines?

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28 Comments »

  • Nicole P. said:

    I have found that I am much busier the second time around, thus, making me stick to a routine even more than before!

  • Kristin said:

    I keep my 5 month old within a half-hour of his routine. Mostly this is to make sure we can hit the normal bedtime without too much trouble. To be honest, he’s pretty good about his own routine so far – I haven’t had to “enforce” a whole lot.

  • Megan said:

    we try to respect the nap, but it doesn’t always work. Now that my 1 yr old is walking she is better with naps then before, I think she just wears herself out. She hates to sleep though, so when she finally goes down for her nap, we are so happy.

  • Lindsay Kester said:

    If we are home and we don’t have anything to do that day I am pretty strict. If I do have errands to run I usually try to do all of them in one day and as quick as possible as to get him home in time for his nap. If we don’t make it in time, he will just fall asleep in his seat and he’s fine with that. I can’t put everything that HAS to get done on hold because he has to nap. I don’t think it’s going to kill him to fall asleep in his carseat on day every week to two weeks.

  • Autumn said:

    I am so thankful that my 2 1/2 year-old, Bella, still takes a nap on most days. She just transitioned to a “big-girl” bed so it takes her awhile to fall asleep after jumping up and down on the bed and trying on all her outfits– but eventually she’s asleep with her stuffed bunny. :) I am now pregnant with my second daughter and Bella and I share nap time. While I rarely napped the first time around, I now cherish nap time as a rare moment of peace and quiet. Even if I don’t sleep, I just reflect on the day and relax. I know it will be even harder with two children on different schedules.

  • Miranda said:

    Our boys have always been on a schedule. They get up around 7am-8am and go to bed around 8pm. During the day they take 1 nap after lunch around Noon. My oldest only sleeps for about 1-2 hours and my youngest sleeps for about 2 hours. I think having a schedule of nap times helps them during the day. If we are out an about they will sleep in the car.

  • melissa said:

    I am lienient within limits. It makes my life as well as the babies.

  • Naomie said:

    Once I started committing to a strict nap time schedule, I realized that things got a lot easier! Kids are happy, and better rested, and I can plan “chores” to do during nap time, so I feel more organized.

  • Kelly Martinez said:

    I ABSOLUTELY respect the nap! Avery is a lot like her mom: we get cranky when we are tired! However, at 9 1/2 months and standing up all the time, laying her down for said nap can be difficult…on both of us. Lay her down and she stands up. Lay her down and she stands up. Repeat. She gets frustrated. I get frustrated. Now, this isn’t the case every time, but when it is, I like to compromise: we lay down and take a nap together! I get snuggle time with my beautiful girl as an awesome bonus! When I have no time for a nap, I’ll bring her to her crib and lay her down. At any rate, I’ve always loved naps, but ever since becoming pregnant and then having a very active sweetie, naps have become life’s second-most precious gift!!

  • Jen N said:

    We tried so hard to have a nap schedule and did for a while. Then teething hit and everything has been blown apart. I let him sleep when he needs it and just go with the flow. It’s not going to be like this forever (thank goodness!). :)

  • Julie A. said:

    I believe naps are so very important, so I guess I would be the type of mom that abides by strict nap time rules. Kids need a nap and I think it is only fair to them that they get their nap. I know from my personal experience my son (16 months) does not do well if he doesn’t get a decent nap in, so I’m all about the nap :) Now we will see how things go with my second baby (2 months :)

  • Kari said:

    I think it is important to try to establish regular nap routines, but to be reasonable about the changes that life brings, too. It’s also valuable for little ones to be able to adapt to changes in routines. Of course, when a good nap happens regularly, it helps babies to be better rested and in a better mood, but it’s important to have change sometimes, too. Life can’t always stop for the nap, but we can help little ones manage when the unexpected comes up!

  • Katrina Klauer said:

    we have an established time! Not sure when we start usually when they are really little it is sleep on their schedule but when they start getting to one nap a day it is always after lunch go down and then when they wake up.

  • Ashley @ Mama of All Trades said:

    We respect the nap as much as possible. We do morning playdates so we’re home by lunchtime. Bunny (2.5 years) takes an after-lunch nap, and so far, her little brother naps at the same time. It’s hell on Earth around here if they don’t get their naps in.

    There are times when we can’t help but skip the nap, but I try to sub in “rest time” with a video in my bed or let her go ahead and fall asleep in the car. It’s great to have a schedule, but life throws a lot of curveballs and you have to have a Plan B!

  • Wendy said:

    We TOTALLY respect the nap! I’m not so fixated on the time the nap starts, but she does take one between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, and between dinner and bedtime (she’s 6 months old). When she starts getting cranky/fussy we know it’s time to lay her down, and she’s usually out within a few minutes, and sleeps anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on the time of day and length of the nap before it. The first nap is starting to get shorter, so we’ll be figuring out a new 2-nap-a-day routine soon I’m sure!

  • Claudia said:

    I used to just go with the flow but my little one wasn’t sleeping through the night at 6 months so we decided to get on a schedule. Now that we have and see how beneficial it is to all of us we don’t mess with it. We plan all our days and activities around nap time.

  • Elizabeth K said:

    I am slightly strict about naptime. I do make sure he gets his one nap a day (mine is also 2 years old and dropped his morning nap). I try to keep a semi-routine of haivng his nap soon after lunch, but sometimes a special occasion calls for a later nap. Like tomorrow we are going to the Fort Worth rodeo at noon! I’ll just make sure he get his nap right after. :)

  • Andi said:

    My guy is only three months old, and for the first 2 and 1/2 months I wouldn’t let myself nap. My husband works 70 hour weeks and I needed that time in order to ensure that we would not be overtaken by laundry and dirty dishes. I have recently gone back to working part time starting at 5:30AM and am now only able to remain relatively human by DEPENDING on nap time as sleep time. As for the laundry…it will get done eventually.

  • Katy Galloway said:

    Sticking to a routine seems to work great!! Every day between 12:30-1:30 my baby girl goes down for a nap. If I miss this nap she is way more fussy. Also sticking to a bed time routine seems to also work great for us.

  • Dusty B said:

    I think it really depends on the age. Unless our 11-year-old is having a truly bad day, we don’t bother. Our 4-month-old obviously has her own schedule.

    Kids between those ages really need the recommended sleep time, so naps can be important to use to make up for that time. It’s also important for their health!

  • Summer said:

    I watch 2 kids, so I am thankful one has a set naptime and is really good at taking naps, while the other well, wants to be held all the time. We are still working on him. I think it is so important to have a routine and stick to it. Thanks for a great giveaway!

  • Natalie Everitt said:

    I stick to our nap routine as much as possible for my son. (19months) he has had the same routine for about 6months. It took me awhile to get him to cooperate. LOL My first born, my daughter who is 4 stopped taking naps at 2 but I never really got her into a routine. My son goes down for a nap after lunch inbetween 1215 and 1230, and it works for all of us. My kids share a room and both go to bed at 800 and they don’t fight it because they are tired and just know that’s how it works :) While my son sleeps it’s a good fun time with my daughter just me and her.

  • Amy Szeto said:

    We absolutely respect the nap. My oldest has one nap and the baby takes 3. We try our best to be home or at least in a position to allow the baby to have all 3 naps. The oldest is starting to fight his naps, but he really needs them. We are starting to make the rule if you don’t want to nap you have to have quiet time, resting in bed. Nice thing about that is he eventually falls asleep. :)

  • Stephanie said:

    We respect the nap as much as possible though she refuses a nap routine, which is driving me crazy. She is in the stage of trying to reduce her daytime sleep, which equals to several failed nap attempts and exhaustion before bedtime. If I am lucky she will take two naps during the day, rougher days she will only take one.

  • Diana said:

    My son is 2 months old and is all smiles after his nap. He takes after his daddy because I am a cranky mommy when I wake up after an afternoon snooze.

  • Michelle Stice said:

    I have tried a regular nap schedule but my oldest almost 3 year old daughter. For the last year she fights it so hard it is more work than watching for the tired cues and putting her down for a nap once she begins showing signs of being tired. My 10 month old is another sleep fighter. She needs to be put into a separate quiet room, but once asleep sleeps heavy through noise. I would love a daily nap, if I could only get them to nap at the same time it would be heavenly!

  • Joni said:

    We’re not “strict” about anything. Routines are great but we feel that they need to ebb and flow as the baby needs. Some days little D takes a 2-hr AM and PM nap. Some days little D takes only a PM nap. I don’t begin to try to understand the complexity of his changing little body. I think it’s more important to be observant and sensative to what he needs. (read ‘Smart Love’…it helped me) Before I had a baby I thought I would set a “schedule” and then my little one came with his strong willed personality that is only happy doing what he needs/wants and OUT went the schedule but he’s a lot happier and getting better and better at putting himself to sleep. Yeah!

  • Cindy Sinor said:

    I believe so strongly in this philosophy, that I started a baby clothing company called Respect the Nap. Naps got me through those early years with my kids. I’m happy to say at ages 6 and 8 they’ve benefited from growing up with some structure and predictability…and they’re great sleepers!

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