Friday, March 12, 2010

the beloved nap

A couple of weeks ago we started letting Julianna skip naps on the weekends.  It just seemed to be easiest when she was only taking a nap about 4 days a week anyway and the other days she just played with books quietly in her bed.  Then as I was working with Joshua trying desperately to get a nap schedule going with him, I sort of let naptime for Jules slide on a weekday or two.  I told her she could either have quiet time playing nicely in her room or she could sit on the couch downstairs and watch TV.

Of course, this has turned in to an everyday thing now because it has worked out so well for all of us.  She enjoys not having to stay in her bed and she goes to bed easier at night.  We enjoy being able to put both kids to bed at the same time and have them wake up at the same time.  Also, I am thankful to not have to go upstairs and put her down for a nap and there's freedom to be more flexible with leaving the house in the middle of the day if necessary.  I can tell that her not napping will be especially nice as the weather warms up.

Julianna turns four in about a week and up until now it has been really important for me to uphold a nap/quiet time schedule.  I just didn't want to be one of those parents that made their kids adapt to their own wake/sleep habits because it was convenient.  I knew I wanted to teach my children to sleep at the appropriate times for a child their age and provide opportunities and the right environment for them to sleep when they became tired.  Julianna would get irritable in the evenings on days when she didn't have that time and we could just tell that she really wasn't ready to drop her nap.  When she started having quiet time in her bed without falling asleep I knew that the time was coming when she wouldn't need a nap at all and I think we've reached that point.

When she was a baby she started sleeping until about 6 am when she was about six weeks old.  We started letting her fuss/cry herself to sleep when she turned four months old.  It took her about four days of fussing and crying before her morning nap before she learned how to fall asleep on her own.  After that we could consistently put her down for a nap at almost the same time every day and she would go right to sleep and sleep for more than an hour and a half.  Bedtime was easy as well since we gave her a bottle of formula before bed every night from the very beginning.

We got quite a bit of criticism for letting her cry for those few naps, but I don't regret it in the least.  She has always been a great sleeper (I believe in part because of the sleep training that we did) and I am so grateful for that. 

Josh on the other hand, has been a little more difficult to sleep train than she was.  I don't know if it's because he's a boy or because he's breastfed or what, but I think more than likely it's a combination of a lot of things.  Mostly I think he has been harder to get to stay asleep for naps longer than forty minutes and get on a schedule because he is the second child.  We haven't had the luxury of being home every time he needed to sleep and I haven't stayed with the same routine to put him down.  Also, I haven't always been the one to put him down for each nap like I was with Jules.  And I developed a bedtime routine with Jules a lot earlier than I did with him so I think consistency has been the key for getting Josh to sleep.

Fortunately, we seemed to have reached the point where Josh will reliably take his three naps per day in his crib without fussing.  He goes to bed much easier at night and my stress level has significantly decreased with the additional one-on-one time I have with Jules and certainly with the additional independent time I have.

Do you think that now maybe I can work on a nap schedule for mommy?

What about your kids?  Do they nap well?  Are they on any kind of schedule?  Do they nap at all?

1 comment:

Rhonda said...

Ivy is a terrible napper. After we ditched the crib last summer, she refused to nap in her big girl bed. Now she's in play-til-she-drops mode, so some days there are late afternoon naps, and other days, no naps at all....

Boy I wish I could get a regular snooze!!

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