Bye, Bye Naps



Oh, nap time. Such a wonderful thing created for parents, especially when it goes according to plan.  I remember my first baby’s dropping her morning nap and my wondering what I was supposed to do with her!  I quickly learned that this was our new time to run errands, go to the park, participate in local moms groups and play together. If you’re a new mom, please look into a local moms group, such as MOPS or www.Meetup.com, or simply check out the activity calendar at www.KCParent.com. Activities such as Music with Mar, Pop ‘n Play at the Johnson County Museum, or playtime at Parkside Coffee House are all fun choices.

It was a different story with my second, as dropping his morning nap meant more convenience for the three us to go places in the morning. But I sure do look forward to and count on nap time in our house each day. Nap time is when I recharge and actually become productive without little monkeys clinging and swinging and making more of a mess of my house as I’m attempting to clean it.

Each and every child, parent and family routine is different, so it’s hard to gauge when is best for a child to dwindle down nap time. Cara Burgener, parent educator at Parents as Teachers and mom of two, says, “We tell parents at PAT [Parents as Teachers] that research says 18 months to 2 years is the typical age to move from two naps to one. If I remember correctly, my daughter did this at 18 months. Her one nap a day did get longer.”

But what happens when nap time no longer exists?!  Dawn B., Olathe mother of one, says that her daughter took naps until around age 5. “It wasn't all that long ago. However, once in a while when she has been very active during a day or we have had a late night coupled with an early morning, I insist on a short afternoon nap. She doesn't generally resist those naps.” 
There are days here and there that my sweet Layla wants to battle me during nap time. She’s currently 3, so I’m not caving quite yet. When asked when she stopped “fighting” for nap time, Dawn B. says, “I never really had serious problems getting Helen to nap, but a few months before age 5, I realized that she was fairly consistently staying up until past 10:00 on days she had had a nap. So I switched her going to bed time to an hour earlier and worked to drop the naps by not insisting on them. She thought having more playtime was pretty cool. She and I had an agreement that as long as she was not a "cranky pants," I would not make her take a nap.” 

Many families establish a quiet time in lieu of naps. Of a quiet time for her daughter, Burgener says it usually runs from 2:00 to 3:00. “I have been teaching her to look for the number 3 on her clock or setting her clock to tell her it is okay to come out. I put toys in her closet to pull out. I gave her a CD player to listen to music and to play books on CD. We also got her a Leapster for special occasions. I also have crafts (chalkboard, crayons and coloring books). I recently got window crayons for her to use on the windows,” she says. “It is helpful to pull out special things sometimes so she has something new and fun to play with.”

So far, we have not come to the dreaded “no more nap” phase, but I plan to instill a “quiet time” into our family routine for everyone to take a break from each other and recharge. My mom ran an in-home daycare during my childhood, and the little ones napped while the bigger kids had a quiet time watching a movie together. Everyone needs a little downtime or break in their day, in my humble opinion.

Even though sleep can be a challenging subject for most parents at some point or another, hang in there. Try to go with the flow while remaining consistent and, if you have any questions, consult your pediatrician for more advice.

Stephanie Loux is active in local moms groups and enjoys being outside with her little monkeys. Originally from Iowa, she now resides in Olathe with her husband, Mike, and children, Layla (3) and Mason (1).

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