Respecting the Nap by Christine Lee-McNaughton
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?
The winner is Stephanie with the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org