Question From Shara:
I have always felt strongly about the importance of daytime napping. Fortunately my son (now 25 months) has generally seemed to agree with me on this subject. He has always been a good napper – going down willingly and easily and sleeping well for about an hour and a half. However, about a month ago, two things happened.
One was that I put him to sleep at my mom’s house and then left – so I wasn’t there when he awoke in the middle of the night. The second was a particularly disruptive (i.e. exhausting and sleep deprived) family weekend trip. And since then he has become reluctant to fall asleep.
When he does, he sleeps for the same amount of time, so I feel confident that he still needs the sleep. But I feel guilty about the time we spend trying to get him to sleep. Like I’m depriving him of valuable play time and new experiences. Also, his “natural” nap time has always been around 9am (he gets up at 6). And then he’s really ready for bed too early (like 4pm!) Have you ever heard of a toddler who takes a morning nap instead of an afternoon nap? (Ok, so this second question is more of a kid question than a parent question, but I thought perhaps you may have some perspective on it.) Thanks!
Noble Mother Responds:
Sleep questions are not a favorite of mine, but it is certainly a popular area of concern for most parents! All kids are different and certainly only you know your child best.
Naps are a tricky thing as our little ones get older. What I found helpful to know is that as they get older, they can stay up longer before their next nap. It sounds like you had a really consistent schedule with your little guy and that he has gotten a bit thrown off by a few recent events. Let’s look at this as a positive thing and see it as a way to help him transition into a better sleep schedule for his age.
Ideally, a 2 year old goes to bed at 7:30pm, wakes up at 6:30am, and takes his nap at 12:30pm until about 2:30pm. At 3 years old, he may be able to stay up until 1:30 and sleep until 3pm. Since your little one is feeling apprehensive about going down for his nap at his regular time, go ahead and experiment with him and let him stay up a little later, playing and exploring, and then try again to put him down and see if it isn’t easier.
You never know! It could be that these small life events that occurred allowed his body to readjust to a more typical nap schedule than what mama is used to! Let me know how implementing a new nap time works. In the beginning of the shift he may seem more tired and irritable as he adjusts to the new routine. Give it a good 7-10 days to work itself out and never go against your own intuition as a mama. Finding your own family rhythm is more important than following any ol’ schedule.