Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Giving Up Naps


Like so many elements of parenting, when to drop that last nap will vary tremendously from family-to-family and even from child-to-child. I've met perfectly content 15-month olds who barely napped at all and six-year olds who still require a little shut-eye during the day. There is no "perfect" age.

In my family, we tend to try to drop those naps pretty early though. By about 2 1/2. Is anyone gasping? Anyone want to send me off to the looney bin? "But they need down time!" "You need some quiet time!" "Little kids NEED naps!!!" I can hear it all in my head. And that's OK. Those are good responses. This is what I think...

My kids do great without that nap. Rare is the day when we experience late afternoon/early evening crankiness. And, truth be told? My kids weren't angels every single supper even when there were napping. So it's highly likely the lack of nap is not to blame.

They absolutely do need quiet time. So do I. And we get it. We curl up on the sunny love-seat in the playroom and they look at books or work on lacing cards while I read or do handwork. I love that closeness and we can all recharge.

I love that our daily schedule is not dictated by naps. I needn't worry about running errands at specific times or planning meals within a narrow window. I don't fret if "she hasn't napped by three because now she'll sleep til 5:30 and bedtime will be a nightmare". It's a non-issue for us.

And, I won't lie, I love my evenings.

My kids go to bed at about 7 PM. Yep, that's right. And they sleep until between 6:30 and 7:00 AM (which is perfect because we have to be up for school and therapies then anyhow!). I have at least three hours of time alone with my husband. And that's a beautiful thing. I love my children, flat adore them actually. And maybe that's why I don't need a "break" from them during the day. But you better believe I also love having them tucked snug in their beds so that I have time to reconnect with their father and be grown-ups together.

I am the odd-ball at the preschool. The one the other moms look at a little strange when I say, "Oh, she doesn't nap anymore." But I don't mind. It works for me.

Check out more great tips and ideas at Works For Me Wednesday, hosted at Rocks in My Dryer!

9 comments:

FishMama said...

Sounds great! I wish mine were all abed by 7! or even 9!

Homesteader in Training said...

All my children gave up naps rather early. But we just adjust and they really didn't have afternoon crankiness either. I'm a bit of the oddball as well lol.
Blessings to you.
Kim

Nichole said...

My 3-year-old seems to be toying with the idea of not napping, but she's a crabapple by dinnertime on the days when she doesn't sleep.

Ryann said...

Addy is 17 months old, but because of her tube feedings and constant vomiting, we want her to sleep through the feedings. We've been lucky. She takes 3 1hour long naps a day, goes to bed at 10pm, and is up around 7am. If we didn't have these tube feeding problems, we would probably stick to one nap a day and a much earlier bedtime.

Becky said...

Great post! My first one stopped napping practically the day she turned two. My 27 month-old still likes to chill in his crib in the afternoon. I do think I'll miss those naps!

Jen M said...

Good for you - you do what works for your family and have confidence. Your afternoon quiet time sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your routine.

Wani said...

My husband gets home kind of late so our bedtime is usually around 9pm so that Dad can get some time w/ the boys before bedtime... so while my 3yr old is nearing the end of naps my 18mos old definitely still needs them. I'm trying to figure out how to implement a good quiet time for the 3yr old - because he's so high energy most of the time that I need some semblance of peace and quiet here and there!

Frugal Finds said...

I was reading some of your premie story. Incredible. They are little miracles aren't they! I have a miracle baby myself. He is 7 now.
My kids gave up naps early. I still like to nap.

ispeakbeanish said...

The Bean has been teetering on dropping her nap for a while, but has recently started taking them with a vengeance. Dare I say we may be in a growth spurt?!