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Friday, September 23, 2011

My Kid Won't Nap

I hear this crap a lot.  "Oh, you're so lucky.  My son stopped napping when he was two."  Or, "Mine never napped."  "Isn't she too old to be napping?"

Hell no, I'm 34 and I'm still napping once per week!

I'm a firm believer in following through and teaching your kids healthy sleep habits from the minute they get home from the hospital.  You need a tight swaddle (enter my giveaway for an adorable swaddling blanket here), the right temperature (hats help!) and a CRIB!  Get them into that crib as soon as you can!  They don't call it sleep training for nothing!  

Napping is a lot like bedtime, not always easy, right?  Is there a daily fight with my 3 year old at 1pm when I put him up for his nap?  You betcha.  But the minute I get him up those stairs, sidetrack him and get his Pull-Up on, he's all ready for a story and some tickles in his big boy bed.

My kindergartner will still give me 1-2 naps/week, usually on the weekend.  
My three-year old will take a 2 hour nap every day, sometimes longer.
My 15 month old will take two (2) hour naps  (sometimes it's one long 3-4 hour nap when we're on the go)

Honestly folks, I think it's harder to follow through and put the kid in for his nap some days.  It would be easier for me to give in and let him stay up and watch some television.  But he's a growing boy, a boy who needs his rest, a boy whose brain needs sleep in order to develop properly.

Good Sleep = Smart Kids with great working memories and more ability to learn and concentrate.

Who doesn't want that?  So please, don't skip out on the nap.  I know we're all busy moms, but our kids need their rest.   Create structure and a nap routine early because it pays off, big time.  Well rested kids are happy, intelligent kids.   When they miss a nap or have a crazy busy weekend, the crankiness is quite obvious.  And does napping hinder bedtime?  NO!  In fact, the more well-rested they are, the easier the bedtime is in this house. Napping improves their night sleep.  They still go to bed at a decent hour.  (Usually between 8 and 8:30)  Kids love routine and structure, especially around sleep.  Give them what they need and put them in for their naps. Don't just rely on cat naps and napping in the car.  They need so much more than that.  Please don't drag them all over town and expect them to be chipper and well behaved.

One of my favorite sleep resources to turn to is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.   It's definitely worth a read if you are looking for some sleep strategies for your kids.  The book delves deep into preventing and fixing sleep problems that can occur in babies, toddlers, school aged children and even adolescents.

What's your take?  Do your kids take naps?  Is it a learned behavior?  Do you think they're getting enough sleep? Or do you think that you may need to re-evaluate?

Good night.



Blogger Katie Y said...

Love that book too!! It was the most helpful book I found when Angela was a newborn.
And I LOVE her naps! :) I know she needs them and heck - I need the break!!
To your questions: I think it's a mixture of nature and nurture. Some kids are naturally better sleepers than others, but parents definitely play a role in the outcome. Angela was NOT a good sleeper as an infant (and TRIED to give up her nap this summer). I just stuck it out and she's still sleeping 2+ hours a day. She happily goes down once I get her to the stairs. Not a bad battle for a two year old. :) I think *most* kids, given the right environment, will nap or at least rest until sometime around kindergarten. I HOPE HOPE HOPE Angela keeps up hers. She's such a happy (and smart ;-) :-)) girl when she's well rested!

10:32 PM  
Blogger Katie Y said...

Oh and one more thing. Much of what I posted was very much thanks to a good friend named Annie Stow. She should have a blog about raising babies.
Oh wait....

10:33 PM  
Anonymous ticked said...

you can step down off your high horse now. Not all kids can sleep alone nor should their be a blanket expectation that they do. Weisbluth and others like Ferber, Hogg, etc, their methods are being questioned by science, legit science from Notre Dame, Harvard, MIT. Crying over 10 minutes causing brain inflammation, higher risks of SIDS b/c of the unnatural deep sleep CIO causes. Not to mention the negative effect early STTN can have on nursing. Training = Get used to not being near mommy, which from a biological and anthropological perspective contradicts our wiring as a species. Some kids can do that, others can't, but spouting like their inability is a reflection of inconsistent parenting or not being tough enough is incorrect. Kids can get the AAP amount of sleep without a crib, in slings, with mommy and daddy, it doesn't really matter as long as they get that precious sleep, which I agree with you, is damn good for the brain. Every kid is different, their sleep needs different. I had a 3 hr napper until 6 weeks ago, and just as it has happened before, after every growth spurt, the sleep needs get rewired so it dropped an hour. This time, though, it seems like it rewired the nap out of the sleep equation, only to happen maybe once or twice a week if we are lucky, AND driving. If there's a nap, it doesn't affect the total daily hours, its 11, no matter what, and thats smack in the middle of the AAP recs for the age. Was my LO one to sleep alone? Nope and I didn't want it that way either. Was I an absolute NAZI about getting naps in and sticking to AAP guidelines for hours of sleep, you bet. The schedule was perfect, the patterns regular. Just remember, you are one mom, just like any of us moms out there. People only pay attention to you because you won a contest and have a free car. Count your blessings for that instead of starting mini mommy wars by insinutating those of us who don't follow the Annie Stowe school of sleep are doing our children any disservice.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Katie Y said...

This is just Annie's blog. It's meant to be her opinion, not the gospel. You don't have to agree, nor do you have to read it.
And for the record, from someone who has READ Weissbluth, he actually does not agree with Furber or the no cry solutions. His big thing is do what works for you, as long as you and the baby get sleep. He presents many methods and says there is no problem with them if they work for you. So it looks like you and Weissbluth are on the same page.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog post Annie. I agree with everything you wrote! We still do naps almost everyday. My 4 year olds need them and are much happier children when they have them!

Stacy Dietz

10:12 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Blake was not a good sleeper until about 10 months. It was not until I stopped nursing that I could get a good nap out of him. Then, once he was ready, he was done. I remember at about 11 months, I was rocking and rocking him and he was just pushing away and crying. After 30 minutes of rocking and both of us getting frustrated, I put him in his crib. He grabbed his blanket, turned over on his tummy, waved "bye=bye" and closed his eyes. That was the last time I had to rock him.

I do think consistency is the key to having a good sleeper! Blake just stopped napping (the week school started), and he's going to bed at 7:40 every night!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

That's fantastic Julie! Nothing like a kid who loves their bed. Thanks for the kind words, Katie and Stacy! Sorry you got so worked up, Ticked. I hope you win the swaddling blanket.

9:25 AM  
Blogger LiliumHigh said...

I am 30yrs old and still love naps! I think they are great for kids and need to be implemented. When I adopted my brother's 4 children they were used to sleeping whenever they chose. They were grouchy, tired, and just bleh! Now they get to bed at 8:30 and 9:00 on the weekends. Their attitude has improved and they are better all around. Wish they would take naps too though. xD

4:46 AM  
Blogger derek said...

The ability to take a nap is not a skill that everyone has. Luckily your kids have the napping gene GeoSto1 inherited from their great grandfather. Napping is a lifelong pursuit that can be enjoyed at any age.

9:54 PM  

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