Yes, its true. She has given up naps. Well, not just her doing, I partially made her. My oldest daughter, now nearly three and a half, is truly entering the world of kid status. I’m sure you are wondering why I on earth I would make her give up her naps, my glorious “free time” during the day! Well, luckily for me, I still get that time during a 1 and a half to two hour time period we like to call quiet time. I’ll explain.
A few weeks ago my husband and I started noticing a trend in the amount of time it was taking for her to fall asleep at night. Longer and longer, she was up late chatting to herself, singing, happy, staying in bed, but awake. We would be in bed around 8 pm and she wasn’t getting to sleep till 9:30 or even sometime later. At the same time, it was hard to get her to fall asleep at 1 pm and she tended to chat to herself till close to 2, then finally fall asleep till 4. Upon waking she was so cranky and unhappy that it was another half hour of whining and crying until she got out of her post-nap funk. I thought to myself that it just might be time to eliminate her naps.So over Labor Day weekend we had a trial run. Each day at nap-time, I would put my younger daughter down (who is also now on one nap instead of two, which makes for a nice long afternoon nap for her) and then had my oldest pick a few quiet activities, like books and puzzles, and in the playroom she went for quiet time. She was told we expected her to play by herself, without us, mainly staying on our playroom couch, until the timer went off, or her sister woke up from nap. We told her she could fall asleep if she wanted, but that most important was to stay quiet and in the playroom. Magically, it seemed to work. I think she liked the idea that she didn’t have to nap, and was given a new opportunity to have “big girl” quiet time. We are now one week in, and so far, so good. She konks out right at 8pm or before, and will sleep till somewhere between 6:45-7:30. Another reason I needed her to get on a better sleep schedule was due to my returning to work and preschool starting. On those days we need to by out of the house by 7am, which meant waking a cranky girl who hadn’t fallen asleep till late, would be no fun. When my husband and I decided to take the plunge and move from naps to quiet time, I took out my favorite book on sleep guidance, Dr. Karp’s Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep, and he had a chapter will some guidance about naps. I was surprised to read that only 80% of two year old’s still nap (I thought nearly ALL two year olds would, and by their third birthday, 57% of preschoolers nap. That is still a high percentage, but lower than I thought. By the time they are 4, only 26% of kids still nap. I was glad to know my little one wasn’t the 5% of kids not napping who were over age 3. I’m just hoping we continue to have success with our near two hours of quiet time, while my younger one still has a two hour afternoon snooze….what on earth will I do with myself with both children not needing my attention? 🙂