Monday, June 1, 2009

To Nap, or not To Nap

My two year old is just on the verge of giving up naps. Most days he could get through the day without a nap. Then he would go to sleep at around 7, and sleep all night. But the question is wether the rest of us could make it or not. My older boy is really attached to his two hours of quiet to build with lego and read books with mom. And I am really attached to having two hours to do a little housework without having to chase anyone off the counters or out of the front yard.

But then, if he does nap, he usually doesn't sleep until 8:30 or 9pm. This means I only have about an hour before I should go to bed. That means only enough time to clean the house and go to bed. No time to exercise or quilt or have tea with my husband or relax. Only time to get things in order for the next day, and then go to bed so I can wake up at 5:30 with my two year old again.

So many times, I find that parenting decisions are about balancing the needs of the entire family. In this case, I have to weigh my needs and the needs of my two boys. Is the peaceful time in the day worth my lack of restorative time at night, or can I find another way to give my older son some time alone while I amuse my younger son? Can I move nap time earlier on days when we really need it, and cut it out if we don't get home from an activity until after 1? Is the nap worth the disruption of spending up to 30 min. to get my son to sleep?

In cases like this, I tend to waffle for a little while. We do a few days with early naps, and see how that goes. Then a few days without naps, to see how tolerable it is. Then a few days where we discover my son is intolerable by 3:30, and he falls asleep and stays up late and we are all frustrated. In the end, I imagine we will find a new schedule that works for everyone, and life will move on.

I think this is part of mindful parenting. Rather than just letting the same frustrating event happen over and over, we need analyze the situation. As the kid manager, it is part of my job to set the schedule and tone for our day, and to find solutions when things stop working. So, what are some of your nap solutions?

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