My oldest son and I use to participate in play dates with a group of mothers in the area. Sometimes I still get emails from the group because I’m on their mailing list. I read some of the mothers play date days and times. What’s intriguing is when some mothers say, “we can have a play date after three because so and so takes a nap between noon and two.” And I’m like, “Hmmm.” When the boys and I go to the parks, sometimes I overhear mothers tell their children, “Ok, time to go so we can eat lunch and you can take your nap.” Or after an hour of play, the mother goes, “Oh, someone’s going to be tired and ready for their nap.” And I’m like “Hmmm.” Then I look at my oldest that is full of energy seemingly all the time and am like “Hmmm, how come you don’t take your naps like other kids your age?”
What I wouldn’t do for my oldest son to take naps everyday again? I envy the parents who can get their child to take a nap. My soon to be three year old son stops taking naps on and off when he was about a year and a half old. My oldest son was never a great napper from the start. As a baby, he would nap for twenty minutes twice maybe three times a day. Then when he reached about the three to four month mark he started to sleep for an hour, then an hour and a half, and then two hours when he was about a year old or so. I relish those nap times. I remember taking a nap too and would sometimes wake up before he did. There were times he would even sleep for three hours a day. When he napped for a very long time, I would have to check on him to see if he was alive.
I was thinking that my son finally got this nap thing down until one day my son didn’t take his nap at nap time. I figured, “ok it could be that he’s not sleepy. Maybe he’ll sleep tomorrow.” The next day, he wouldn’t sleep again for his nap. I’m thinking something must be wrong that he’s not taking his nap. Sometimes he would scream and cry to be let out of his crib because he didn’t want to take his nap. Then the next day, he would nap. This pattern of naplessness (yes, I made that word up) continued as he gotten older e.g. he wouldn’t nap for three days, then he would nap everyday for a week or two then the pattern starts again. The naplessness would be four days straight, then five days without a nap until he was about a little over two years old that he stopped napping completely. I was furious. I love my naps. I looked up articles online that said that toddlers should at least take one nap a day until they turn three. I was cheated out of a year of naps. How dare my son refuse to nap? This wasn’t a good time for him to stop napping since at the time I was pregnant with his baby brother.
To solve the napping issue, I started implementing quiet time. I use quiet time to replace his naps. Quiet time is in his room for about an hour to an hour and a half. He can play with his toys while I rest and if he naps during that time that’s great, if he doesn’t, then that’s fine too. To this day, he may have only napped maybe once every two months in his room. I just faced reality that my son will never nap daily again and go with the flow. To the mother’s who children still naps: enjoy it. Enjoy it. Relish in the nap. Don’t take naps for granted because once the naps are gone there gone; or comes once in a while anyway.