Thursday, July 24, 2014

No more day nap: The "Why" and The "How"

I am certain that parents around the world rejoice when their infants / toddlers go down for their day nap at home as it enables both children and adults to have their rest and ensures that the young children aren't tired and grumpy at dinner time!

As you may have derived from reading my blog that we raise our children on a rather strict routine from birth and like you, we love that they enjoy their day nap too!

However, there were signs a month prior to their 3rd birthdays that indicated to us that it may be time to get rid of the day nap. Those signs include:

- Taking a longer time to self-settle at nap time
- Taking a longer time to self-settle at bedtime

I started with cutting back on the amount of nap time. From 2.5 hours down to 2 hours and 2 hours down to 1.5 hours. That period of cutbacks were very tricky because one and sometimes both children would most certainly wake up extremely grumpy. Those were not fun, at all. We also wrote to their teachers at childcare to limit their nap in accordance to what we were doing that home. Consistency is key.

The first day they did not nap was on their 3rd birthday party. Naturally, I was concern that they would be tired and grumpy. Thankfully, those concerns were unfounded. They had a lovely afternoon at their party and associated the no nap to having fun. Win-Win.

Since then, they have stopped napping at home and for the first month, I ensured that they lay still on the couch for "quiet time" and watched a friendly movie after lunch for about 1.5 hours so that they can rest and have a little shut eye if need be...more crucially, for me to power nap so that I have enough energy to see me through the rest of the day with them!

After that transitional period, I no longer impose "quiet time" of movie watching for the children at home. In fact, we are more relaxed about how our daylight hours are spent. Yes, can you imagine me being relaxed and not all strict routine mummy mode?

We no longer rush home to put them down for a nap or employ various tricks in the car while driving to keep them awake. Now, we go out and have a brilliant day without rush and try to start driving home by 1:30pm so that if they need a nap, they can do so in the car without jeopardising their usual bedtime of 6:30pm. Sometimes, they won't nap all day when we are out and about and that is fine too.

As for Kindy, Charlotte only naps once or twice a week (sometimes, she goes without a nap for weeks) and Daniel still needs his one nap when he is there. Their teachers ensure that they only receive a maximum of 1 hour of nap time.

What's our plan on the 3 days that they are home with me?
Usually an outing to somewhere we haven't been before.
We run errands as a family.

Usually a social gathering with one of their friends.
Play in the park, feed ducks, etc.

Weekly swim class and quiet day at home with me.

I love that my kids are getting older because I can do so much more with them and I LOVE the conversations and especially their understanding of the world around them!

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