Nurse Loves Farmer


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Tuesday, 10 December 2013 16:01

I'm Not Ready for This...

Last week, I began noticing a terrifying pattern...

This little goose egg began to stay awake at night for up to two hours. The first night we were confused. She cried when we put her to bed at the usual 8pm, but she was changed and fed, and we made sure she wasn't too cold or too hot. We typically try to encourage sleeptime for the girls by not indulging their excitement and letting them stay up 'just for fun', so we did everything we could to figure out her issue without picking her up.

Finally, we picked her up. Tears stopped instantly, and she happily pointed to the door. As in "Take me THAT way, now!"

After a few minutes of listening to her happily chatter, and double checking her to make sure nothing was wrong, we put her back into her crib - only to have her melt down again.

Still confused, since Audrey is not typically one to challenge bedtime, we gave up and let her stay up with us. We let her play in the room while we watched our evening TV show. She again seemed completely happy and just played until about 10pm when she started seeming sleepy again. When we finally wanted to go to bed ourselves, we brought her back into her room and this time she fell asleep almost instantly.

I think the next night was better, but the night after that we had the same situation on our hands. Then, after the third sleepless evening, we began to fear that this pattern was indicative of Audrey's naptime nearing an end. I am not ready for this...

After those few days last week, we have held onto our hope that Audrey still requires a nap, and she has napped - and fallen asleep for bedtime at 8pm - successfully all of this week. Maybe it was just a phase - maybe part of a growth spurt, since we have noticed that she has begun to eat triple what she ate before - and hopefully this won't happen again for a very - VERY - long time. 

I did a bit of research ('Yahoo Voices', Daily Mom) looking for a list of signs that your child may be done napping.  I used these websites, plus came up with a few ideas of my own, regarding what to look for when your child seems to be growing out of naps.  They include: 

  • Nap Resistance - when your child starts fighting naps, it may not be an indication that naptime is over because some kids are way too excited about life to want to slow down and sleep - but it could be, so look out!
  • Naptime = Playtime - when your child starts playing throughout their naptime instead of actually napping... again, this could be a phase or a sign that their bedroom/crib has too much stimulation, but it could also mean your child is ready to let go of naptime.
  • Early Mornings - when your child is napping, but the hours seem to be coming off their usual nighttime schedule, it may be time to rework the hours into their overnight schedule. 
  • Late nights - Same as having sudden early mornings, having sudden late nights could mean your child no longer needs the extra daytime sleep.  This is what we saw with Clara - she suddenly had trouble falling asleep until about 2 hours after bedtime, which was the typical duration of her afternoon nap. 
  • No More Cranky! - When your child is no longer cranky during the time they would usually be napping, they may no longer need one.  You may discover this on a busy day when you just don't have an opportunity to let your child take a nap at their usual time - or you may notice their nap getting later and later with no repurcussions. 
  • More Crankiness - I don't know what the medical reason for this might be, except to say that when your schedule is 'off', you might act 'off' too.  We saw this with Clara. She became increasingly lethargic and 'bored' seeming, and when we started skipping her naptime and just offering a 'quiet time' she became a much happier little girl. 

I think this is one of those things that each family will interpret differently - some families may prefer late nights to losing that afternoon quiet time for awhile, while some families will be happy to no longer need to work naps into their schedule.  The important thing to remember is that kids (and adults, actually) need a certain amount of sleep and although some people need less than others, the typical number for a 2-4 year old is about 12 hours at least.  If your child is ditching their nap - make sure they are still getting the amount of sleep that their body needs! 

With Clara, we didn't experience all of these signs. In fact, she initially started wanting her nap MORE than before, and we struggled to keep her awake sometimes because we knew that a nap in the afternoon would mean she wouldn't sleep at night until as late as 11pm or even midnight.  She would still wake up at about 8am, however, and then be grouchy and sullen all day long.  As a whole, she became a much happier child after we ditched her naps completely.

In their place, however, because she still needed a bit of time to wind down at what used to be her naptime, and because she now had a baby sister who was regularly napping at that time, we gave her a 'quiet time' where she is allowed to watch movies or play quietly. So, I get my quiet time to blog (not lately, of course, but it'll happen again...) or whatever, and she is less likely to wake up Audrey either.

Now that Audrey is back into napping regularly, I am momentarily relieved - I hope not to revisit this for many months - maybe even years!

How did you know when your child was ready to ditch their nap? 

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