I hear this crap a lot. “Oh, you’re so lucky. My son stopped napping when he was two.” Or, “Mine never napped.” “Isn’t she too old to be napping?”
Hell no, I’m 34 and I’m still napping once per week!
I’m a firm believer in following through and teaching your kids healthy sleep habits from the minute they get home from the hospital. You need a tight swaddle (enter my giveaway for an adorable swaddling blanket here), the right temperature (hats help!) and a CRIB! Get them into that crib as soon as you can! They don’t call it sleep training for nothing!
Napping is a lot like bedtime, not always easy, right? Is there a daily fight with my 3 year old at 1pm when I put him up for his nap? You betcha. But the minute I get him up those stairs, sidetrack him and get his Pull-Up on, he’s all ready for a story and some tickles in his big boy bed.
My kindergartner will still give me 1-2 naps/week, usually on the weekend.
My three-year old will take a 2 hour nap every day, sometimes longer.
My 15 month old will take two (2) hour naps (sometimes it’s one long 3-4 hour nap when we’re on the go)
Honestly folks, I think it’s harder to follow through and put the kid in for his nap some days. It would be easier for me to give in and let him stay up and watch some television. But he’s a growing boy, a boy who needs his rest, a boy whose brain needs sleep in order to develop properly.
Good Sleep = Smart Kids with great working memories and more ability to learn and concentrate.
Who doesn’t want that? So please, don’t skip out on the nap. I know we’re all busy moms, but our kids need their rest. Create structure and a nap routine early because it pays off, big time. Well rested kids are happy, intelligent kids. When they miss a nap or have a crazy busy weekend, the crankiness is quite obvious. And does napping hinder bedtime? NO! In fact, the more well-rested they are, the easierthe bedtime is in this house. Napping improves their night sleep. They still go to bed at a decent hour. (Usually between 8 and 8:30) Kids love routine and structure, especially around sleep. Give them what they need and put them in for their naps. Don’t just rely on cat naps and napping in the car. They need so much more than that. Please don’t drag them all over town and expect them to be chipper and well behaved.
One of my favorite sleep resources to turn to is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It’s definitely worth a read if you are looking for some sleep strategies for your kids. The book delves deep into preventing and fixing sleep problems that can occur in babies, toddlers, school aged children and even adolescents.
What’s your take? Do your kids take naps? Is it a learned behavior? Do you think they’re getting enough sleep? Or do you think that you may need to re-evaluate?