Monday, February 4, 2013

Toddler Naps - Oh how I will miss thee!

You have been a trusted companion. Unfortunately, our time together is coming to an end. It seems that eventually all good things come to an end and you are no exception to the rule. Samantha has enjoyed the time you have given her to recharge her batteries while spending quality time with her many sleeping companions. Over the last month or so she has been using naptime as a time to talk, laugh, sing and play. I don't like to be the one to tell you this but you are beginning to be a nuisance to her. She is starting to move on to bigger and better things that does not include you . Good bye my old friend you will be missed beyond words!!!!

Most children under the age of 1 take two naps a day — usually one in the morning and another in the afternoon. By 18 months, most have given up the morning nap but still need an afternoon snooze to make it through dinner in good spirits. At age 4, more than 50 percent of children are still taking naps. And even though the majority of children (about 70 percent) stop napping at 5 years, 3 in 10 still need a nap at this age.

Every child is different. Samantha will be 3 in April. She is already weaning away from the afternoon nap. This is how it started! It was 20 minutes into her nap and a loud noise came from upstairs. I immediately ran up the stairs and was startled and surprised to see her standing at the top of the stairs bright eyed and bushy tailed "Sorry Mommy but I am not tired anymore" Next day, 5 minutes into her nap, I am in Madison's room feeding her her milk before her nap and I see a shadow under the door pass, I hear all the bedroom doors close and I hear a little voice. So hard not to laugh to be honest. I put Madison down for her nap make my way down the stairs to find Samantha sitting in her chair hands crossed and all bright eyed and bushy tailed " Sorry Mommy but I am not tired anymore."

Toddlers need approximately 12 to 14 hours of sleep in each 24-hour period. Toddlers are curious and are determined to discover things around them and they don't like the thought of missing out on anything, even if that means foregoing the nap that they enjoyed and needed.

But don't get me wrong, I haven't given up totally on the toddler nap. Here are a few tactics I have been trying the last few days - with success I may add: 
  • Continue to place Samantha down for her nap in the same place everyday, regardless if she looks sleepy or not. Since she already associates that spot with sleep she may doze off 
  • Direct her back to bed if she awakes from her nap if you know there is a possibility she really is tired
  • Tire her out by doing everything and anything physical before naptime.
If Samantha is completely resisting her nap, instead of arguing with her I decided to offer her some quiet time. I give her a few pillows, a big comfy blanket, dim the lights and leave the room. She actually enjoys the quiet time and it definitely does her some good allowing her to relax and rejuvenate.

Napping habits vary from one child to the next. Naptime should be a pleasant oasis in the middle of a day and not a time when you have to struggle with your child to get them to fall asleep.

Despite my love of the nap, Samantha is growing up and that means things will change. Learning to adapt to the change and embrace it as a part of life will make it easier on both her and me.

Let me know if you have any suggestions or advice on how to hold on to the toddler nap or if you have experienced the same situation.


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